Middle of the summer, I’m eighteen. Freshly graduated from high school and still living in my parents house. My room in the basement affords me the luxury of being separate from everyone else. I was out the night before, at the only bar in town that accepts my fake ID. Ripe with a hangover from too many drinks, it starts. My dad has a ritual. Every Saturday morning the smell of bacon (which, at the time, I despised) wafts into my bedroom as Great Big Sea blares from upstairs. I roll over in bed and stuff a pillow over my ears. Anything but this music, anything!
When I lived with my parents, my father’s Saturday ritual was something I truly despised. Hearing Great Big Sea pounding through the house as he “sang” along always drove me crazy. I had tunnel vision and anything outside my current phase of punk, electronic or industrial made me cringe. I couldn’t see the artistic value in a boisterous band from Newfoundland spinning yarns about ‘Paddy Murphy’ and the Atlantic Ocean.
Those Saturdays are a distant memory now. I’m older, live several hundred kilometres from my parents, and for the record, I love bacon. Lots has changed and as you’ve probably guessed, I have come to enjoy Great Big Sea just as much as my dad. Not only are they an important piece of Eastern Canadian culture, but they were part of my youth, my childhood.
Now, when I listen to their free-spirited sea shanties, I feel a certain happiness. I am reminded of my parents. I am reminded of how much fun inhabited the home I grew up in. I am reminded that my dad is completely tone deaf.
The most endearing reminder, though, is some of the smallest details end up being your favourite memories.
So give a sailor not your heart
lest sorrow you do seek;
let true love not be torn apart
by favours from the sea.
~Great Big Sea