On my Digging In – Digging Out post about heavy snowfalls, I got a comment from a fellow writer who used to truck produce from the ferry dock, to the other side of Newfoundland, a large island-province off Canada’s east coast. It is affectionately known to its residents as ‘The Rock.’
He told of a time when he and several other truckers were stranded for three days at a truck stop, when 125 inches (That’s 10+ feet!) of snow fell, accompanied by high winds. I admitted that Ontario’s weather problems were often puny, compared to Newfoundland’s.
My familiarity with all things “Newfie” has been gained both online, and by association with many ex-pats, now working up here, but he apparently felt it was from personal experience. The following is an explanatory email.
If, by your comment, “Ha, you’ve been, I see.” you mean to The Rock, the answer is no. My financial, and the wife’s medical, restrictions make that nearly impossible. However, there are almost as many Newfies up here, as there are left down there. I worked for four years in the Hespeler section of Cambridge, ON, where the population is about half Portuguese, and half Newfie. Drive down the street and yell, “Hey Joe (Joao), and all construction stops. Every second Newfie is named Sean or Shawn, and that includes the women.
At my auto-parts plant, there were 2 dozen Newfies for 200 employees, including four from Bell Island. Add my online friends…. and I’d like to add you as one. Would you wish to admit where you’re currently parked, so that I can overwork my map program?
At the risk of clogging your email, I have a snowing/driving story I wish to share. In my Location, Location, Location post, I wrote of Kitchener being just far enough from three Great Lakes to miss ‘a lot’ of snow. Also, it’s mildly hilly, cutting the wind and preventing a lot of drifting. Just to our west, it soon becomes flatter, and drifting can be serious. If the Ontario Provincial Police shut down Southern Ontario’s main artery, Highway 401, it’s almost always just past Kitchener.
A brother-in-law drove for years for Koch Transport. His run was from Kitchener, 70 Km to St Mary’s, and back each day. He (and wife) were taking two weeks holidays, and going to Hawaii, flying out on a Saturday morning. On the Friday, he made his run, and got back to Stratford, where he found police blocking the road to Kitchener. They waved him into a strip mall with two other big-rigs, and a half-dozen cars.
He left it running, and climbed down to talk to the others. One of the car drivers asked what he was going to do. He replied, “I’m going to wait until there’s an accident, and the cops leave, and then I’m going to move that barricade and make a run for it. I’ve got to get home. I have a flight out tomorrow.” The guy replied, “I’m going on a trip tomorrow too. Can we follow you guys?”
And so, they convoyed out, with the semis breaking trail, and the cars following. With the trucks leading, the driving really wasn’t all that bad, and they all soon got back home safely. The next morning, as he was boarding the plane to Hawaii, he ran into Mr. Sedan-Driver again, on the same flight.