originally published October 2008

Newfoundlanders love showing off their home. Tourism in this province welcomes half a million people every year and locals become known and complimented as friendly and hospitable time and again. I love inviting friends from my travels to come visit me in the future. In August one from Toronto, relocated to London, UK came for a few days and thought there was something wrong with everyone here they were so nice. He had an incredibly memorable first visit. This month a friend of 5 years, also from Toronto, came back only 9 moths after his first visit. With major highlights covered, we planned to get the one we’d missed – a Screech In – covered during a boat tour but North East winds kept the boat in.

We went to Trapper John’s to end his trip with at least part of our plans for his last night. As we entered I joked they were the McDonald’s of the ceremony, comparing the “52,000 Screeched In” on the sign. Knowing Trapper’s had a frequency from bringing people there in the past, we went first thing to check if it was on the hour. It was about 5:30pm and a Cruise ship had arrived just a few hours earlier so we figured there’d be no trouble. The bartender said she finished at 6pm and the person starting then did the ceremony if we wanted to wait and ask her, she saw no reason why it couldn’t happen then or shortly after. So, we hung around and bought a couple of drinks. At 6pm a guy took over, letting us know she’d called in late and wouldn’t arrive until 7:30pm. He said he was new and not ready to do it himself so I left my cell number and said we could busy ourselves asking him to please call after talking to her.

By 7:35pm we’d still heard nothing and with everything done we went back. Sure enough she was there and just sitting on a stool. I approached and asked if she was the woman we’d been waiting for making a light joke. She nodded obviously indicating she knew some information, though we were never called. I continued, asking if we could get started after having waited a few hours and been told to come back at so many different times. She pointed to a dry erase board with “8pm” on it and said we’d have to wait until then. At that point I was completely done with waiting and frustrated. We left and tried Christian’s as plan B only to find out they do one Screech In daily – at 11:15pm. He told us it was $15 instead of $5 but the best, “by the guy that invented it!” I appreciated his enthusiasm and the fact that he’d been upfront from the start.

We continued to discuss our disappointment while picking up my friends last gifts at the Tickle Trunk. The clerk working overheard and kindly offered that the downtown Liquor Store across from Mile One also performs them, so we walked up there as a last stitch effort but they’d closed at 5:30pm, which was expected but we wanted to try at least. He appreciated all the effort and plans to return for a third trip, this time to leave the city and take a cross-island camping trip. I’m looking forward to it and finally making him an honorary Newfoundlander, as they say – third time’s a charm (most of the time)!

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