A humble joy

3 06 2013

Once and awhile, I wonder what drove me to abandon all I knew and flee eastwards, where family is distant and old friends are further still. Here I perch on the edge of Canada, blasted by the Atlantic, covered by fog, quite quite alone a lot of the time (I am fortunate to have wonderful friends nearby, thank heavens).
It seems a crazy thing, and yet I knew it was the right thing three years ago and the longer I stay, the more right it feels.
Part of the rightness comes from simple pleasures, like tonight’s meeting of the Halifax Ukulele Gang (called so because, as our fearless leader Mike says, it sounds much fiercer than “group”). It’s a mad mad crowd of people who get together once a month to strum or air strum, depending on skill, and sing tunes of all sorts. Bless their furry little hearts – they haven’t tossed me out for my enthusiastically played missed chords or my not quite in tune voice – everyone just has a good time.
Tonight one woman played percussion on the table for “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”. Another sang falsetto for an AC/DC tune. We struggled through more songs about death and hangings than we should have for a fun group, but leader Jonathan was ready to lead us in a cheery version of “long black veil” and we ran along beside strumming madly all the way.
We even ended all together once or twice and the whole room erupted in cheers.
I don’t really know any of these people. Most of the time I attend alone, leave alone.
But not alone.
Tonight after we were done, you could see people carrying ukuleles dispersing everywhere through the mist, visible only by their smiles. We’ll meet again, next month, and greet each other like old friends.
And that’s why I’m so glad I moved here, after all.
Because as we Nova Scotians, old timers and come from always like myself, peer out into the sea bound fog together, we don’t hesitate to bring along whoever is standing beside us.
Twice in my life now, Nova Scotia has saved me. Once, 14 or more years ago, when I found myself somewhere in the Annapolis Valley. Now, here in the HRM, as they call it, where I hang out on the “dark side” with my fellow Dartmouthians.
This place is in my bones and flesh and heart and soul.
And in my ukulele.

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One response

5 06 2013
Ken Campbell

I very much enjoyed your heartfelt “Tale from the Dark Side”. You will always have friends here. Love to you.
Ken

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