About a month ago I left Gaspé and headed back to St. John’s, Newfoundland where I’m finishing my PhD at Memorial. As much as I’m enjoying the special holiday atmosphere here, with plenty of local traditions, visits, potlucks, and music, I can’t help but miss Gaspé and the people with whom I developed close friendships during my research in 2015 and 2016.
I remember the special excitement as community and family seemed to pull a little tighter together with gatherings at the schools, churches, and in friends’ homes. About town in Place Jacques-Cartier or at the Legion, I remember seeing the small influx you of young and middle-aged adults—now living outside the region—who had just travelled hundreds or thousands of miles to visit family in Gaspé over the holidays. I also recall my own 17-hour return to Gaspé following a week-long trip to Montreal last December with Fortin’s Taxi, where we were hit with a huge snow storm before Quebec City that lasted until Grande-Vallée, our van packed with people, luggage, and gifts, all slowly winding our way over the dark, hilly roads back to Gaspé.
I recently came across an original song of Keith Chicoyne’s during my archival work that seems to express the feeling of these annual Christmas return journeys from the city back home to Gaspé. This song, appropriately titled “Snow Flurries,” comes from a home recording Keith made of the same name. This tape was given to me by Keith’s cousin, Glenn Maloney. I’m sure many of our readers will be able to relate to Keith’s song.
Enjoy and Merry Christmas to all the readers and your families.
fonds: Glenn Maloney