So, last week, I had the good fortune of staying at a quaint cottage on the northern shore of Nova Scotia. The tattered white paint, the ageing shingles and the well-worn blue deck really gave it a familiar feel, even though I’ve never been to it before. The furniture inside was an assortment of old floral-print couches, brown chairs and rustic wooden tables. The walls were lined with beer cans; over 100 at least. Each label represented a special brew. I’d indulged in some of them before, but there were certain cans I’d never even heard of. Despite the size of the cottage, it had several rooms, easily capable of housing 10 or more people. The Northumberland Strait is easily visible from the back deck and a walk down to the sandy beach is no more than two minutes. Also, that depends if you have footwear or not because the road down is broken gravel.
My parents rented the bungalow for two weeks. Ruth and I were able to come up twice, the first time being bittersweet since we stayed for a night. My brother Matt and his girlfriend Amy went also, along with my Uncle Tom and Nanny (grandmother). My other brother Ryan and sister Lindsay drove the two hours with us. Ryan was restlessly keyed up to get there swiftly because it was where he was to meet his exquisite and charming lady, Beth (she’s from Fredericton!). The family arrived around noontime and we wasted no time in running down to the beach, even though it was beginning to rain heavily. We threw a Frisbee around, picked up jellyfish (got stung by jellyfish), and swam. The ocean water was lukewarm. We explored the very long beach, west of the cottage. Beside the broken clam shells, hermit crabs and dried-up jellyfish, there was an overabundance of starfish. It was really fascinating to see so many in a small contained area. Maybe it was there breeding ground or something. Shortly after, while the tide was still high, we went to a local bridge and jumped off it. It was scary to jump, but very fun nonetheless. Anyway, that was how the Saturday afternoon was spent.
Approaching the evening, mostly everyone stayed inside the cottage, playing card games, making strange horror movies and munching on snacks. It was truly a blessing to have all of the family together under one roof (girlfriends included!). As many of you know, the McMullen family can get a tad silly. Well, maybe “a tad” is an understatement. As a tribute to the late Michael Jackson, Matt danced wildly to many of his signature songs. In time, I joined in, flailing my arms and kicking the ol’ caboose into high gear. Dad thought it would be funny to put two balloons into the back of Matt’s shorts. It was. It was probably the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time. The whole family, Tom included, was in stitches! We have the video to prove it. It was an event to remember.
Later that night, the younger folk went down to the beach to, well, hang out I guess. Matt and I took conducted some night photography with success and the rest of the group talked, sharing stories and jokes. The mosquitoes, however, turned out to be a bona fide nuisance, so we went back to the low-lit, quiet cottage (all the older folk had turned in).
The next morning, after breakfast, Beth left to go back to camp. It was sad, but we’ll see her again soon. To take Ryan’s mind off his absent girl, we kayaked, swam, and went on another beach walk. Matt and Amy rode some bicycles, Lindsay tanned with Ruth and Dad read, I believe. It is difficult to recall some of what happened. I’m sure those who were there will enlighten me.
Leaving Sunday evening was hard, especially when you didn’t get a real chance to breathe or relax. But, maybe that’s what vacations are for: to have fun always. Still, it was comforting to know I’d be coming back in a few days and for a longer stay. In my next blog, I’ll tell you part two of my adventure in Pugwash. Here’s a teaser.
“After Ryan fell out of his kayak, I was panicking silently as I was racking my brain to figure out how to get him back in. Miles from shore or help, panicking was simply not an option. Time was running out.”
See you next time!