Laurie Blackwood Pike, a.k.a. Grandpa Pike, is the author of Grandpa Pike’s Outhouse Reader (2017, Flanker Press). Grandpa Pike grew up out in the country in Newfoundland, and later in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, when outhouses were common and reading material took the form of old Eaton’s catalogues or the Family Herald. While these printed materials have long since faded into history, many people still read in the washroom, and Grandpa Pike now adds his own contribution to modern bathroom literature. Grandpa Pike’s Outhouse Reader is a collection of short stories and reminiscences – some humorous, some nostalgic, but all entertaining!
Here’s an excerpt:
Free Delivery? It Never Hurts to Ask.
In 1997, I was living in Albert County, New Brunswick, but we had a summer place, a house way down at the bottom of the cove in Petit Forte on the Burin Peninsula in Newfoundland.
Come vacation time, we would drive six hours from Moncton to North Sydney, then take the overnight ferry to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, then drive eight or nine hours to the Big Stop Irving in Goobies, turn south there, and drive another hour or so to the cutoff for Petit Forte.
Before turning to drive over the gravel road, the last run into Petit Forte, we’d always stop at Midway Esso on the highway to get gas and pick up last-minute essentials. When we’d get to Petit Forte, the best way to get to our place was to go to someone’s stage and get a ride, down to the house with all our vacation supplies, in a speedboat. Otherwise we would have to walk a woods trail, frequented by bears, and make several trips.
So . . . in the spring of 1997, I decided we needed a boat to keep in Petit Forte. Driving past an RV dealer in Sussex, New Brunswick, I noticed a few boats in the yard. I found a small, twelve-foot aluminum one that looked like the proper thing. Now, to get it home to Albert County, I had to find someone with a truck or trailer. To get it on to Petit Forte, Newfoundland, I figured I’d buy a trailer and tow it come vacation time.
These were really nice, friendly people, so after agreeing on a price, I jokingly asked if that included delivery. Buddy said, “Sure, why not. Where to?”
Preparing for a big laugh, I said with a straight look on my face, “Well, first you have to drive about eight hours to North Sydney, then cross the ferry to Newfoundland, and drive another ten hours or so almost down to the foot of the Burin Peninsula, turn left out to the coast, and leave it at Petit Forte.”
As God is my witness, the man said, “Could you get someone to meet me at Midway Esso?”
Turns out he was from the Burin Peninsula. He had his main dealership there in St. Lawrence and this smaller, second location in Sussex. He was taking some boats over there the following week.
“It’s no problem,” he said. “We can just nest it inside a bigger one so’s it take up no space.”
To top it all off, his last name was Pike, like me, and my grandparents originally came from Lanceo (L’Anse L’eau), on the Burin Peninsula—so we are likely distantly related. Anyone who knows the geography in Atlantic Canada knows how unlikely this story is.
However, as I found out that day, it never hurts to ask—even if you are only joking.
Grandpa Pike was born in Stanhope, Newfoundland and Labrador. A businessman and commercial traveller by occupation, he currently works as a business development manager with a national chain of hardware and building supply stores. Grandpa Pike is not a grandfather but got the nickname when his hair went grey when he was in his twenties. In 1986, he bought a rural general store, developed a logo, and branded the business “Grandpa Pike’s.” In recent years, Grandpa Pike has used his nickname for charity work. Twice, he has partnered with the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, Newfoundland & Labrador Chapter, to release music CDs. The first was a collection of country, Irish, folk, and gospel tunes, and the second a gospel Christmas CD.
Grandpa Pike’s signing schedule in New Brunswick is as follows:
Thursday, September 14
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm at Albert County Museum, 3940 Route 114, Hopewell Cape, NB
Friday, September 15
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm at Chapters Moncton, Crystal Palace, 499 Paul Street, Dieppe, NB
(Thanks to Laura Cameron of Flanker Press for providing the text and the excerpt for this post.)