Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Return to CanadAmerica, Part I: Happy Days

Thursday July 3, 2008
11:00 a.m., Atlantic Time

“You gonna eat that donut?” I ask the AMHL Photographer as we wait to board the boat that will ferry us from Grand Manan to mainland New Brunswick.

The donut has accompanies us for about two of our three happy days in the heart of CanadAmerica. Without a Dunkin’ Donuts or a Tim Hortons, it was surprisingly easy to find a donut. North Head Bakery was a snap to locate—way easier than finding any harbinger of hockey.

Grand Manan is all about basketball. Hoops hang above many a garage door, and the b-ball court stands out in the village centre. Hockey doesn’t even place second here. A source at a local eatery told me that a vote was taken to determine if the local arena should accommodate curlers or skaters. Curlers won the big prize, but an outdoor rink was constructed for when weather permits, which is not as often as you might think, islanders to play hockey.

Hockey has been unheralded here, but that may change because ground has been broken for a multi-purpose complex that will house the Boys and Girls Club and an upgraded ice rink. Another source told me that some islanders are skeptical about the need for an indoor ice surface, however. This doubt sounds similar to what yet another source said about the fishing industry vis-à-vis tourism: Those who land lobsters and haul in herring tolerate the tourists.

Best to keep a low profile, which as a field agent is now second nature. (I don’t stand on street corners pretending to read newspapers) Laying low for my meals at the safe house, I enjoyed the victuals and ambiance.

“Put Your Head on My Shoulders”, the Paul Anka song Warren “Potsie” Weber made famous, prompted me to ask my wife, “I wonder what Anson Carter—I mean Anson Williams—is doing?

I don’t know where the ex-Bruin or the former TV star are these days, but I enjoyed the wordless version of the hit from Happy Days as much as I’ll relish that donut to which I haven’t yet formally introduced you.

Meet the chocolate sugared donut: chocolate cake, no glaze, just granular sugar sprinkled on top and a nutty aftertaste going down. I know this because, a few days ago. I devoured a donut from the same batch as the one now in the brown paper bag.

My wife doesn’t want any part of this two-day-old beauty and grants me the rights to the free agent confection.

“You’re like a five year old,” she says. “You’ll eat anything that isn’t nailed down!”

So be it. But besides the obvious faux pas of dissing a donut, tossing it toward the trashcan—as if the donut were a basketball flying toward a hoop—would be too risky.

Unlike basketball on Grand Manan, I want to keep a low profile, especially when escape to the mainland is imminent.

To be continued...
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