Laughter is the best antidote. To foul weather, break-in artists, failing infrastructure -- take your pick. Big Bras d’Or in the summer of ’08 manages to make even Scotland’s weather look good. Last year during our September ride through the Scottish islands and highlands we were spared rain on only four of 28 days. No wonder, I asserted at the time, my ancestors fled that gloomy sunless land. Hah! Over the past 25 days our part of ‘New Scotland’ has delivered only two rain-free days. Mea culpa, Caledonia, I take it all back.
So what to do in the face of bad weather? You laugh. And one of the most efficient routes to a laughter-fest is to invite The Darlings, Lynn and Louise, out for supper. My tiny perfect cousins have only one rival as geysers of relentless good cheer and that would be irrepressible Mary Ellen Sanseverino, but no one, not even Mary, matches them as merrymakers. On the weekend we called on the darlings to share a scallop feast with us at Bob’s -- and lift the clouds for a spell while they were at it. Lift they did. So what if some of us stayed up way past our normal bedtime. Who cares if a few woke up the next morning feeling slightly tattered after one too many glasses of wine. Good Presbyterian girls they are, marooned in a nest of atheists, wonderful singers who somehow manage to turn a dusty hymn into something as cheerful as a rollicking Irish pub song. Arrange some time late in a convivial evening to get them singing ‘Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling’.
Pity the poor unfortunates who never get to wake in the Maritimes to CBC Radio’s ‘Weekend Mornings’. A phone-in musical request show that delivers a sense of our part of Canada, this one-of-a-kind program features a studio stallion and frequent spins of Wilf Carter, Hank Snow and Stompin’ Tom but also regularly introduces us to bright young songwriting lights. Some of us arranged to have light-of-heart, light-in-the-loafers Randy Campbell call in a special request for our beloved Bob. Not the parvenu David Lee Roth version, but the gold-standard Bing Crosby arrangement of ‘Just a Gigolo’. Those of us tuned in Sunday morning fell off our chairs from all the laughing.