Clarenville Day

Its been too damn hot to sit in front of the computer and write anything lately.  Thankfully its cooled down a bit the last couple days.  I saw a note on The Packet twitter feed about Clarenville Days, and of course it reminded me about the old Clarenville Day from years back.

I really recall less than I should, but I do believe, like Regatta Day, it was held on a Wednesday rather than making a long weekend of it.  I’m not sure I ever understood that logic, but hey!  Of course, I may be mis-remembering….

I was never a big participator, nor had a lot of interest, I think my dislike of crowds started early, but there are some good memories for sure.  Memories of fries in the grey cardboard box from the old stadium canteen.  Custard cones at Nikki’s Nook, Fish and Brewis from somewhere! And of course moose burgers!  I could eat about a million of those.

The big attraction of course for many were the dory races.  I remember being down by Jack Duffett’s bar  (does Jacks still exist?), or up on his patio watching them.  I don’t have any recollection of knowing who rowed in any of these races, but I can clearly remember the dories, painted bright colors, with the old names on them like Handy Andy and Chain Store.

While I never got overly involved, I think the biggest fun for me was to spend a day with Dad, a non working day for him while I was a boy home from school for the summer.

They’d be Savage!

Its pissing down here now, has been all day, but earlier in the week, Keith mowed the lawn and got it in nice shape again, a never ending job.  But whenever I see the neat and well kept lawns nowadays, and even more so back home, I can’t help but hear Uncle Luther grumbling with me and all kids to keep out of the grass.  Not because it was neat and well tended, but because he didn’t want it trampled, and wanted it to grow to make hay for the horses.

I wasn’t all that old when he passed away, nor did people tend to keep horses much beyond my early teens as ski-doos and atv’s became more practical, but back then it was a summer chore of mine to turn the hay, and rake it in the evenings. Many days of back breaking labor were involved in cutting it down with a scythe.  Those things were a chore in and of themselves as dad always had to keep a stone in his back pocket to keep it sharp.  Dad may have been a bit of a perfectionist with it anyway, as he kept his sharp enough to shave the hair on his arm.  Was always a worry when in the barn to not accidentally touch it.

Old Hay Prong (Eric Cooper Picture)

Joe Baker with an old Hay Prong (Eric Cooper Picture)

On sunny days we’d spread the hay on the field to dry, and then turn it with the old prong  (still seems funny to me how something with two large tines so far spread was used on something so slight as hay)about half way through the afternoon.  Then rake it again into a stack in the evening and cover it with a bren (essentially bren bags taken apart and sewed into a larger tarp) weighted at the corners by rocks.  Once it was dry, I can see dad in my minds eye now loading up a huge bren with hay and walking across the garden, and up the ramp to the loft over the stable.  I can’t even begin to tell you how big it was, but it dwarfed him.  I know hay didn’t weigh a lot, but holy god so much had to.

The hay was used to feed the horses in the winter of course, and I can still remember the smell of hay all over me as we played in the stable loft, heedless of the millions of sneezes that it caused to erupt from me.

With all the need we had for hay back in those days, I can hear them grumbling about lawn mowing now… they’d be savage!

The Tournament

In the summer of 95 I believe it was, there was a softball tournament at the Lion’s Park at Elliott’s Cove Pond. And a good time was had by all.  The end.

Well that’s a kinda lame story, so will add a couple events.  Hopefully I can be forgiven if I’ve mixed multiple events into one.

For some reason I was umpiring that tournament or a lot of it anyway, not because I was necessarily any good, but more because no one else wanted to do it.  Umpires of our softball games generally have to make all the calls for all the bases, and outfield as well, so sometimes the point of view can be difficult.  That said, I really from that day to this cannot be sure I made the right call, just that I made a call.  I can’t even remember specifics now, but for some reason I had called Craig Baker out at first, whether for being thrown out, or for being off the bag or whatever, I don’t recall.  What I do recall though was something was said or done, and I threw Craig out of the game.  I probably wasn’t amused at the time, but I know everyone else was laughing and I can only laugh now too as Craig took the bag and walked up the road and threw it out in the woods!

The second incident, may or may not have been during the tournament, and since I don’t know the people involved well anymore, will not mention their names, but I’m sure most will remember.  Somehow an argument happened between two people around 2nd base.  All I can remember, and to this day laugh my ass off was the exchange “Ah, go f$%k a caribou!” and the response “Well you go screw a moose!”

That tournament was also unfortunately the site of an injury when Lisa Critch got her leg broken at 2nd base.  Scary play, and so happy she recovered well.

Summer days, where would the be without softball?