The Patey Clan, Icebergs, and Garbage Bins

St. Anthony, NF
The reason you know this is a small town is that most everyone is named Patey, including Lynn, the 77-year old energy ball we stayed with for 3 days. The cemetery is full of Patey graves and there are Patey streets and brooks in town. It’s one big clan and has apparently been around St. Anthony for 300 years.

Houses and plantings here are simple, uniform, and tidy. One communal norm we especially admire is their garbage Bins. No plastic dumpsters here…Everyone has one of these personalized gems out front. And don’t get me started on the tidy wash lines.

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While I am sad that Lynn Patey did not want her picture taken, Clyde Patey, whom she claims she does not know, was happy to pose. At 84 he loves nothing more than cycling around this hamlet and chatting. Lynn and Clyde – in fact everyone we met – are hail, hardy, smiling folks. Surviving the brutal 8-month winter is not for wimps and people are pragmatic and calm. They laugh easily.

For example, Lynn thought it was hilarious that Randy wanted ice in a glass of water. She kept no ice cubes but insisted on something better: a piece of iceberg she kept in her freezer, 13,000 years old. This sounds preposterous, but it’s fact: St. Anthony is on Iceberg Alley, an area of the North Atlantic strewn with icebergs that chip off the glaciers in Greenland and float south. So Randy got a taste of ancient glacier and, when Lynn suggested he pour some “liquor” on it, he happily obliged with gin. She herself preferred Baileys.

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When I asked Lynn what people in Kansas City should know about Newfoundland she said: “Tell them winter is long but life is slow and people trust each other. That’s it.” The dozens of carefully stacked woodpiles and lobster traps by the road on the outskirts of town (with no “keep out” warnings) is fine evidence.

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