On the Fly


‘On the Fly’

We recently discovered that my mother’s people have a strain of aboriginal blood coursing through their veins – just as I suspect many Newfoundlanders can also claim. It seems that our great, great, great Grandfather on the Murphy side of the family (Catalina / Gambo ) married a girl by the name of Alice MacDonald who was a Mic Mac Indian from Conne River. Makes perfect sense since the Town of Gambo sits at the foot of the aboriginal’s summer migration to the coast.

This has become a great topic of conversation in my house over the past year, providing an interesting perspective on aboriginal heritage and most importantly, a fascinating subject for my children to explore. They are more than intrigued by this new chapter in our history, so my wife (Super Mom) took the children to their first ‘Pow Wow’  in the Conne this summer.



“… their first ‘Pow Wow’…”

They were embraced by the community and provided with traditional clothing, taught aboriginal drumming and dance, gorged on local fare, learned a little about the language and reveled in their culture.

Unfortunately, and as is often the case during the busy summer tour season, I was unable to join their adventure and am therefore relying on photos and stories to share what was obviously a great experience and a most memorable vacation.



“… reveled in their culture.”


So much fun that they forgot to tell me about an especially hilarious incident on the drive home.

A couple of days after they returned and we were all situated back at the house, my little man came bursting into the bathroom where I was brushing my teeth, gave me a quick wave and rushed an apology as he whipped behind me, dropping his pants just in time to make his water. He let out a huge sigh as he relieved himself, got his aim straightened, (in that order) and stole me a grin, explaining that his ‘spotted dick’ was making him laugh.

Looking down I noticed that his poor little lad was covered in red blotches. I said

“Lord suffering my boy, what have you done to your bird?”

“That’s nothing”, he says with a chuckle, “just look what they did to my butt!”

And with that he hoisted the tail of his shirt to reveal a backside that was dimpled up like a leather basketball.

“My Goodness child, what on earth happened to you?”

Hearing the pitch in my voice my wife quickly intervened and between fits of laughter explained the situation.

“Oh my God, I can’t believe we forgot to tell you. What a doing in he got on the drive back down the Bay D’Espoir Highway. We were about half way to Bishop Falls when he got short taken and insisted that we stop. Now I reminded him to use the toilet before we left but you know what boys are like, so when I pulled over his bladder was that full his eyes were floating. He ran a short way back from the car and found a small tree which afforded him enough privacy to drop everything to the ground. Well, he was no sooner working up a full stream when I start to hear a few “oohs”, and “ahhs” and then he starts dancing around and squealing; “Mom, oh Mom, they’re biting me!”

Well, when I spied him in the rear-view mirror he looked like something out of a Loony Tunes cartoon, almost completely blocked from sight by the swarm of black flies that converged on him. I yelled for him to get back in the car before Elizabeth and I rolled up our windows, for now the flies had discovered us as well. Shocking I know but we couldn’t stop laughing – he was making every effort to swat the flies and stutter step in his fallen pants, lamenting that he couldn’t stop peeing and couldn’t get his pants up. He was out there less than a minute but you should have seen the state of him when he finally got back in, poor little fellow was nearly after drowning himself with his pee and you can see the state of his privates. And all we could do was laugh. Sin.”

We shared a fine chuckle while I took a closer look at the damage inflicted on the poor boy. He was fair eat to death but seemed no worse for the wear and I was thankful to see, enjoying the laugh every bit as much as his Mother and Sister. Laughter really is a wonderful medicine

What you must understand about this story is that my wife is from Cape Bonavista where the wind blows incessantly and the only thing they know about flies are the feathery hooks they attach to their jigging lines when they’re fishing for cod. There’s so much wind down there that a helicopter has a hard time pitching, let alone a mosquito, so she had no idea what they were facing when they stepped into the wilds of central Newfoundland. Our aboriginal ancestors migrated to the summer coast line for many reasons, not the least of which was a desire to get clear of the black flies and mosquitos.

Good for us and especially enjoyable for tourists who’ll appreciate the coastal route used by McCarthy’s Party Tours.

Not to mention the opportunity to “sit on a fly bridge, swap a few yarns like this, and enjoy a nip with no nippers.”

I’ll explain when I see you



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