|Notice the shotgun shells?|
Excuse me while my mind is blown just a little bit. There are more than a few things I thought would be different before now. For one, I have just opened fire on apparently nothing.
I'm used to the French side of my heritage. I love it and it's part of who I am. I grew up largely in Quebec, have spent the last 21 years in Nova Scotia, and am just now slowly starting to reaquaint myself with the Newfoundland side of my personality.
So far I like it. I like it a lot.
But Tyg, you say, the GUNS!
Yes, it's true there's more guns in Newfoundland. Here they still hunt meat for food. Forget the grocery stores, there's moose to be had. You don't buy moose in the grocery stores. Here you go out and shoot it. It's delicious. It's healthy. And it's part of my heritage. I've always taken the moose meat for granted. I never bothered to think too much about where it comes from.
Now I do. Also, I don't mind really - as long as I'm not the one doing the shooting. Feel free to hate.
Think of it this way. In Newfoundland, the moose (an imported species - only caribou are native), have no other predator. There are no bears here. There are no wolves. What there are - an awful lot of traffic accidents caused by an animal that has no natural predators. They need culling. We enjoy (need due to conditions and heritage etc) the meat. It's a win - win.
I'm not going to apologize for this.
Don't expect me to and piss off with the commentary denegrating me for it. I don't shoot the moose, but only because I haven't and will likely never learn how to do so, not because I don't believe it's wrong. Hey, it's MY blog and while I appreciate the whole natural tree hugging thing, mankind is an apex predator and that includes moi.
Tonight I called up my cousin (yet another one in an endless line of cousins God love 'em) whom I have monikered after one of my fave Habs players - Gio. "Are you coming down for New Year's? Where are you?"
"I'm doing laundry" was the answer.
"Who the hell does laundry on New Year's?" I wanted to know. "Are you coming down or what? Bring your gun."
You can tell it's New Year's in Newfoundland when I'm calling up cousins and asking for guns.
It used to be a thing. Just before midnight they'd shoot their guns to ring in the New Year. But like everything else this tradition has died a quiet, ignominous death. The more things change, the worse they get sometimes.
"Jesus Christ," said my mother, and started drinking heavily. "Please don't give my daughter a gun!"
They gave me a gun, and they gave me lessons on how to shoot it. I expect to have a bruise in the morning. It was a 12 gauge shotgun (usually they use rifles to hunt moose tho) and they used the biggest shell possible. I shot it twice. Video will be uploaded if I can figure out how to do it (see below - fingers crossed - I'm the idiot on the left in black and Gio is on the right trying to help me).
"You have to plant your feet and lean forward a bit," Morgie told me, and I did that. I also did what Gio told me about the aiming and the squeezing and I practiced a bit too. I suppose it helped but I'd killed a bottle of wine and the shotgun was surprisingly heavy despite the fact that I was told it was a "light gun".
Just before midnight we all headed outside onto the "bridge", or what non-Newfoundlanders would call a small deck.
Apparently my father once shot a hole through Auntie Flo's porch roof. Now she doesn't have a roof on her deck, but she does have an awful lot of telephone and electrical wires around. "Don't shoot my wires!" she insisted, apparently unconcerned for the welfare of any unsuspecting passerby.
Gio went first, and there was a passerby who apparently left his skin on the sidewalk after he jumped out of it and bolted up the hill. I jumped too, although I had been expecting it. Finally it was my turn.
"Put it snug against your shoulder," Gio told me. "Hold it tight, place your left hand along the stalk and your right finger should gently squeeze the trigger."
I gently squeezed the trigger and just barely managed to keep my footing. If you've never fired a 12 gauge let me tell you this - it kicks like a mule, it's loud, and damn it - it's fun. I took out Venus with the first shot and missed all 200 wires stringing around Auntie Flo's house.
Gio shot off a few more and then I had another go, and by God if Venus isn't wishing I'd never been handed a 12 gauge. That planet has been nothing but trouble anyway if you ask me.
Then Morgie had a turn and by then my mother (who shot the pitiful video on my iPhone) was tired of laughing, being horrified and freezing her ass off at the same time. We came in, drank too much champagne, and had a terribly heated debate about absolutely nothing important as only those who have had too much adult beverage to drink can truly do.
Finally Mom and I headed home.
"I've had a good night," I said, totally surprised. I hate New Year's. I've never had a good New Year's and I have tendency to avoid them, retreating to bed well before 10 pm. This time I stayed up late, kissed (not THAT way) a couple of tolerant cousins, and got in touch with my Newfie side.
Is it really 2013? I suppose the upside is that it can't possibly suck worse than 2012 has done for me - which was a helluva lot. Can it? I hope not. I hope to hell not.
I know I've not blogged so much this year. Life beckons and I've not felt the creative juices flowing as much. But I thank you for sticking with it and reading this nonsense anyway.
I wish you all health and peace and prosperity in the New Year. And if not, as @habbykins did tweet: Here's to you and here's to me and if perchance we disagree then to hell with you and here's to me!