Saturday, August 14, 2004

The LeBlanc Reunion

The Acadian Cross tour was a highlight of yesterday. A tractor pulled us on a long wagon with lots of bus-like seats; the driver narrated in French and English. The Deportation Cross is on the farm of the Fuller family which has been in possession of the land since 1760. This year, for the Congres, they've provided for access to the site. They were charging $15CDN, but it was worth it. The tour stops first at the Deportation Cross, marking the site at which the Acadians of Grand-Pre were placed onto boats, then to the dyke at the water's edge, and to the ruins of the dock used by the New England planters. A CBC reporter accompanied us with a camera; he was covering the Congres but had the day off, and was doing this on his own. He knew more than the guide, and filled in a lot of information. He interviewed several of us afterwards, including me.

Nothing much was happening at Belliveau Cove except for pre-registration. It was getting cold and was starting to rain, but I was able to get my registration out of the way and get my wristband, nametag, and program.

I stopped at one restaurant that had been recommended to me, but it was closed, and ended up stopping at L'Auberge au Havre du Capitaine in Meteghan. It was crowded, but they promised they'd try to seat me within fifteen or twenty minutes. In the meantime, I joined the others waiting listening to a musical duet: a ten year old girl on fiddle and her 14 year old brother on electric base, playing traditional Acadian and Celtic tunes. Wonderful! I started up a conversation with a couple sitting by me on a couch from Moncton, and the wife was a descendant of Firmin, as I am. When it came time to be seated, they invited me to join them, and we had a delightful evening together. Then on to Yarmouth.

My hosts left today for a Cuban vacation(Canadians get to have those), so I said good-bye to them (though I'm staying another night in their home, and headed to Church Point for the reunion.

I'll describe more when I get home and post my pictures. A summary: mass, opening greetings, lots of music, meeting of lots of Firmin descendants (a couple even descended from Jean dit Bis à Firmin!), more Rappie Pie, getting reacquainted with folks I met five years ago, etc. Another talk by Lucie and one by Stephen White (telling the tale of one Acadian woman who was deported FIVE TIMES by the British!!). Lucie was leaving early, and so gave me her ticket to the "Evangeline" musical at the University. It was exceptionally well done. At the intermission, I was speaking with the fellow behind me, and at the end of the play he introduced me to the rest of the party and when I said my name I heard "Bill Cork!!"--and it was Nicole, from the comments box below. We all left together for dinner; restaurant they were going to go to, that said they should come at 8, said when we got there that they were closed. So Nicole suggested we go to the Social Club of Clare which was having an outdoor concert and food. I already had a ticket. It seems most of the food vendors they were expecting were at the reunion and ran out of food--our only options were hotdogs and sausages. Well, it was still a nice couple of hours. No traditional music, but a little Cajun and a lot of rock. Around 10:15 we said our farewells for the evening.

Tomorrow, mass at Grand-Pre and closing concert in Halifax. We're going to try to look for each other.

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