The Ode to Newfoundland
The scene at the fish plant wharf resembled a full-out carnival. The media had arrived and were setting up as close as they could to the water. Two giant speakers had been set up in the back of one of the pick-ups. It seemed like most of the town was already there, so Evanchuk had her hands full. She had given up trying to keep people from parking on the side of the road and was focused on keeping the drive-by gawkers moving along. She looked very relieved to see Windflower and Tizzard, the latter of whom came to help her direct traffic, while Windflower walked closer to the scene of the action.
He greeted two men setting up a microphone near the speakers and waved to the people from the media. Since everyone was fully engaged in their tasks they basically ignored him, so he wandered around looking for a friendly face. He found Herb Stoodley in a gaggle of people and motioned him aside.
“Morning, Herb. What’s going on?”
“They’re closing up the protest. With the wind picking up it’s not safe out there for most of the smaller boats. They’re going to come into the harbour to get out of the storm. This is their welcoming party,” he said, pointing to the crowd on the wharf.
Windflower walked back up to the road to check in with Tizzard and Evanchuk.
“They’re stopping the protest and I guess there will be some form of ceremony to officially end it,” said Windflower.
“That makes sense,” said Tizzard. “The forecast is calling for high winds growing throughout the day and some snow as well. Not enough to cause big problems, but enough with the wind to make it pretty dangerous on the water.”
“Let’s just keep traffic moving and wait for whatever happens next,” said Windflower.
They didn’t have to wait long for that next development.
One by one the boats that were lined up across the harbour started breaking away and headed for shore. Each of them was flying a Newfoundland flag and blowing their horns, which was responded to by the cars and trucks lining the waterfront. The sounds echoed back and forth in the shelter of the harbour. Windflower and his fellow officers stopped to watch in amazement.
When all of the boats were within the confines of the Grand Bank Harbour, someone played a taped version of ‘The Ode to Newfoundland’ and every person on land and shore joined in the singing. There were speeches by politicians, including the federal MP who blamed the provincial government, and one by the local provincial MHA who blamed the federal government. The final speech was by a local fisherman who Windflower recognized as Fonse Tessier from Grand Bank.
Tessier didn’t speak long but he spoke of the history surrounding the fishery in this part of the world and how many times they had been told it was a thing of the past, only to see it reclaim its place as part of the town’s on-going economy. “Ya can knock us down, b’ys, but ya can’t keep us down.” With Tessier’s speech the protest was over, and while the smaller boats found a place to tie up along the wharfside, the long liners and larger vessels left port to return home. Windflower thought it was a sad moment, but at the same time he felt the pride the people of Grand Bank had in their little community.
Coming soon : A Twist of Fortune, A Sgt. Windflower Mystery.
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