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New Years at the cabin, a Labrador tradition

New Years at the cabin is a Labrador tradition.
New Years at the cabin is a Labrador tradition. - Gary Shaw


In the big picture, there is little doubt that many of us folks from Labrador have a lifestyle and culture that is unique to us when we are compared to many Canadians scattered across our country.

The visions that we have, that represents who we are and what we do, spreads across many of the day-to-day actions and decisions we make and what we do with our time. Activities that we plan and the things that we do, that seems to be a normal and eagerly anticipated venue by us, would be rarely, if ever, entering the minds of a lot of folks from a lot of other places.

As we grow older and with the passage of time, we often discover that many things in the run of our lives rarely remain the same. Remember when the calendar made its way to the arrival of the New Year and the celebrations that occurred. There were “ big parties”. The largest of the venues that were available would have their own events planned to usher in the arrival of another New Year. The hall would be decorated, top to bottom, rows of tables set up with no end to the food and drink provided, and the speakers all set up to blast the music from live bands as everyone ate, drank and danced the night away. The bigger the crowd and the louder the music, the better it seemed to be.

Things have changed with the passage of time. Life seems to be moving faster, louder and busier. Many among us find ourselves getting older and are looking for a window of time that provides us with more of less. We find ourselves seeking out a venue to celebrate the things that matter, in a place that matters, with the folks that matter.

The arrival of a New Year is an opportunity for us to review the passing of yet another year. It’s our opportunity to celebrate the renewal of yet another year to vow that this will be the year that the list of New Year’s resolutions will not be broken before we get the Christmas tree taken down and put away.

You know the ones. Seek out the latest and fool proof diet, lose some weight, get more exercise, call our family and friends that are outside more often, hug our kids and tell them that we love them at every opportunity, and take the dog for a walk more often. These and all the other ones that fit into our individual lives certainly seem to be a priority at least early on, often, not so much with the passage of a bit of time, but our intentions will at least be in the right place.

Many among us seem to have discovered that the right place to usher in the New Year is right under our noses. It’s at the cabin.

We make our plans on the calendar. We pick up a never-ending supply of culinary delights with everyone bringing some grub that fits their expertise in preparation and our tastes. Plenty of fuel for the generator and the snowmobiles in one sleigh, and all the grub in another are packed with care for the trip.

The trip to the cabin in and of itself only fuels the anticipation of the time that will be spent there. As the step is shovelled off the generator springs to life, and as the fire in the old wood stove crackles away, bringing more warmth by the minute, things are good.

The folks that matter the most are there with us. The young kids are rolling around in the snow seeming oblivious to the cold; the dog is eagerly rolling around in the snow with them. The older kids are home from college and university, back home and enjoying what they took for granted until they found themselves away for the first time.

The food is a constant renewal of one treat on to the next. The bacon on the stove seems to smell somehow better than it does at home. A big roast of moose and all that goes with it often finds its way to the table at exactly the right time. A cup of tea or anything else that would be good with the keys on the shelf somehow seems to taste better.

Many of the old stories are all shared, many for the tenth time, each time told, just a bit better than the last. It is a special time-shared with those who mean the most to us.

We find ourselves coming home after our New Year’s at the cabin, renewed in the spirit of the passing of yet another year. We find ourselves reenergized, and lucky enough, to face the opportunity to share another run at another New Year.

For those among us who spend our New Year’s at the cabin, there is little doubt that there couldn’t be a better place to be for this annual celebration. Happy New Year, everyone.

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