ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

from A Squandered Life / Portugal Cove Road '70

Updated on April 3, 2017
vrdm profile image

Born without a clue. A lifetime later, situation largely unchanged. Nevertheless, one perseveres.....

....with the sky so close upon me and the light so splattered about me that I knew I would only have to reach up to pull myself out of the earthly atmosphere.

In the course of wandering around I bumped into my old second year Doyle roomie, Cal, his booming voice and character intact and unchanged. He was in the company of Anne, his loyal companion through blunder and buss, who years later became his wife. They actually had transport, a rusting Ford van, and were looking for accommodation so we decided to team up. We eventually found a ground floor flat in a two story house out on the Portugal Cove Road, five or six miles out of town. It was all we could afford but as we had the van and my motorcycle was due in from England at any moment we decided to go for it.

It was completely unfurnished but for the ubiquitous formica table and chrome chairs in the kitchen. It was technically a 1.5 bedroom flat but Cal and Anne took the large living room and I took the small bedroom at the back, leaving the .5 bedroom empty and unloved. We scrounged mattresses from somewhere and threw them on the floor, piled up some books and clothes, plugged in a stereo and that was that. Home.

Above us lived a charming couple called Fred and Mary and their kids. Fred drove a school bus first thing in the morning and last thing in the afternoon. Between times he drove a small oil tanker, delivering heating oil to households throughout the area. I spent a couple of days with him on his route as an exercise in participant anthropology for my course at the university. Best piece of work I ever did. Fred was a relatively small man but with plenty of presence. If anybody got rowdy on the school bus, he would just stop the bus, turn around and look at the lead protagonist. No words, and then we would resume more quietly. He used to get the oil truck up and into impossible places on unpaved and slippery tracks and between small wooden houses clustered together without a thought for vehicular access. He was also a singer and kept a tune going most of his working day.

In those days I lived on baloney and relish sandwiches and even developed a taste for tinned milk (no fresh milk out there). The local “shop” was really just somebody's front room in a small cluster of houses about a mile away down one of the gravel side roads. Sometimes I would head out to that shop at night. There were no street lights in that part of the world. If it was a cloudy night I would have to rely on memory and touch to find my way. I would start off boldly enough but as I reached the limits of the light cast from Fred and Mary's upstairs I would slow down and step into a black so pitch, so claustrophobic that I could almost feel it wrap itself around my face, like a blind man's scarf. I could feel the surface of the road and snow piled up to the side, but that was it. Nor a sound. It was like being entombed but with fresh air so bracing you couldn't panic. I'd feel my way along the main road until the edging snow gave way to the right hander going up the hill to the baloney shop. I would ascend through complete blind darkness until the light of the shop would begin to glimmer in the distance.

Inside the sparse front room was a small display counter and a few shelves with no fresh produce of any kind. Only the bare tinned essentials were available here. Into the bright artificial light the plump woman would step from her television room behind and say “Hello my duck.” The only piece of modern technology in the shop was a large slanting electric slicing machine. She would slap the baloney unceremoniously on to the tray and slide the cutting wheel back and forth until my meagre rations lay flaccid and helpless on the wax paper below.

The return journey would be the same, like insensate, sombre space travel between two small planets of light. When it wasn't cloudy, it was a whole different story. The stars would cover the sky like a multitude of intimate friends vying for my attention and illuminating my path. And if the moon was out it was even more like a dream of heaven, with the sky so close upon me and the light so splattered about me that I knew I would only have to reach up to pull myself out of the earthly atmosphere and launch myself into the great emptiness of space in whatever direction I might wish.

© 2013 Deacon Martin

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Vanessa Madden 

      5 years ago

      it was a completely different world back then. no one was talking organic let alone fresh food in Newfoundland. The images of walking in the dark were hypnotizing.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)