Stoney looks a bit like Friar Tuck from Kevin Costner’s movie version of Robin Hood. Taller and thinner, but with the same rosy cheeks and cherubic smile. He is the cook at a lodge near Gander, Newfoundland, where guests come to hunt the wild terrain for woodland caribou and moose.
A non-hunting spouse, I was an anomaly at the lodge. A fancy woman. Citified. Brought a laptop, a bunch of books and my own supply of fresh fruits and vegetables. Scary. Took them awhile to realize I was just a normal person and wasn’t going to be a prima donna and cause trouble in the camp.
Stoney is a bow hunter extraordinaire and a published sports writer. His quiet kindnesses to me are emblematic of Newfie hospitality. Stoney even created a fresh fruit, veggie and flower centerpiece for me in this somewhat rustic lodge that was so spectacular I took a picture of it when no one was around.
When all the guys got back in and started making smart remarks about Stoney’s Martha Stewart moment, he told them all with a straight face that I had done it. Stoney’s expression and the meat cleaver in his hand dared them to challenge his story.
The folks of Gander were heroes to a lot of people from around the world on September 11, 2001 and the days following when thirty-eight jet planes in-bound to the United States needed a place to land — fast. Jim Defeede wrote a terrific book about how the whole town turned out to participate in the rescue, care and feeding of thousands of strangers.
It’s called The Day the World Came to Town and I highly recommend it — on Goodreads, in fact!
And did I mention it’s a beautiful part of the world, too?