Thursday, June 18, 2009

The serotonin South Shore.

When I moved here in 1989 to attend the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, I had an old Toyota cargo van and a clean slate.

I had never stepped foot east of Quebec before, so everything was new. And exciting. My heart was freshly broken and by moving East, I managed to leave alot of emotional baggage back on the curb in Ontario. That was what I kept telling myself anyway.

When I wasn't at school, or slinging beer at the Granite Brewery, I would toss a duvet and a few pillows in the van and head out. I had no clue where I was going. Ever. But I didn't care. Sometimes I ended up in Cape Breton. Outside of Tatamagouche at a Jost tent event. In Annapolis Royal. In a bar that used to be an oil drum somewhere on the foggy Eastern Shore. Maybe I dreamt that one. In Petite Riviere. At a Gaelic College. I was like a baby discovering toes.

What really struck me as odd was how many Haligonians stuck around the city most of the time. Oh sure, some went here and there to cottages, or "down" to Cape Breton to see family, but I was accustomed to the mass evacuation North that happened every Friday in Toronto, all year round. Why stay in any city, unless it's Venice or Paris, when you don't have to.

Which is how I felt yesterday as we wheeled out of town toward White Point and this sunny porch I am now sitting on.

The boys, of course, were hungry the minute the car started to move and they were leaning toward a Not-So-Happy-Meal at McD's. But I had other plans. The truck normally heads to Juliens, or the Rope Loft in Chester but again, my mind was already racing toward Mahone Bay.

It's a fact: nothing cures a broken heart like a warm blueberry scone. Or mushroom paté. Or a butter tart. Or a cinnamon bun. Or those peas you can shell while driving, tossing the pods and your bitterness out the window.

I was heading to JoAnn's Market in the heart of Mahone Bay.

Having owned Wholly Mackerel for several years, I knew I would find peace amongst the familiar flowers and raspberries and coconut cream pies. At the market, I also found my old neighbour Racheal Whynot, all grown up and gorgeous, home from her first year at StFX. Time flies. The last time I looked, she was eight.

With one glance, the boys quickly got over their Big Mac attack, ordering custom sandwiches, cupcakes and sucking back Propeller root beer like college freshmen. I couldn't decide whether to go healthy or head straight to the bake case, but in the end I opted for spanikopita and some mushroom paté. I drove down the coast dipping my Julien's toasts into the creamy paté, happy as a pig in shit. As a bonus, Jack hates icing, so I got to eat the top of his cupcake, proving once again, he is indeed the love of my life.

We arrived here at White Point slightly before tee time. The lads made it very clear, very nicely, that I was not necessarily needed on the golf course.

I got dumped. Kicked to the curb. Not even an "I'll call ya".

Having been dumped before, I knew solace was easily found on the South Shore.

I found Doug and Danny up at the Lodge and quickly tucked in to some lively banter and a little Jost Muscat. A business meeting. Doug and Danny and I have been in a three-way work relationship, getting on one another's nerves, going on 14 years now. The longest relationship I have had with anyone.

The Resort is doing well these days despite record numbers of Americans staying at home staring at their own financial statements. It seems locals are sticking close to home as well, opting for a trip to the South Shore of Nova Scotia, instead of the south of France. Looking out at the beach and the clear blue sky I think, why would anyone want to be anywhere else.

As I sit here nursing my 4th coffee, I think the weather man is a drunk, as it may already be too hot to golf. I hope the boys try and dump me again. This day has "take your big fat ass to beach" written all over it.

The sadness and bitterness about canceling my own trip home to my beloved Georgian Bay is fading away. Besides, I might have bumped into the asshole who dumped me and what fun would that be.

Rumour has it, he still loves me. Or maybe I dreamt that.

JoAnn's Market in downtown Mahone Bay is well worth the drive, just for a coffee and a blueberry scone.
White Point is a 90-minute drive from downtown, or 100 minutes if you pull off the highway to mend a broken heart with a slab of asshole pie.