by Kellie Underhill
To read Part 1 click here.
Unearthing a History
Sammy discovered many interesting books and artefacts at the Tabusintac Library and Museum. He wondered if he was part of the Mi’kmaq First Nation. Many stories told about how the war between the Mi’kmaq and Mohawk ended in Tabusintac in the early 1700’s when two chiefs fought in hand-to-hand combat and the Mi’kmaq chief won.
Sammy would have liked to have been related to the powerful chief who had been a great warrior and a strong shaman. The librarian suggested he visit any or all of the Mi’kmaq villages in the region to investigate.
“You can start in Burnt Church,” she said. “I’m sure I can find someone heading that way.” As the librarian went to make phone calls, Sammy’s spirits lifted.
A half hour later he was squished into the cab of a candy apple red Chevy pick-up truck with three young friends of the librarian’s son. They were heading to a party in Neguac and said they’d take Sammy to Burnt Church. As they bumped along the road the boys asked him what he remembered about where he came from. There wasn’t anything to tell. They drove in silence until the youngest boy, Pete, snapped his fingers, “Hey! Maybe you’re a Savoie!”
“Yeah dude! A Savoie! That would be cool,” said Doug by the passenger door.
“Very cool,” said Bobby, the driver.
“Neguac is the Savoie Capital,” Pete continued. “Pretty much anyone with that name can trace their roots back to Neguac, so if you’re a Savoie somebody’s bound to recognize you.”
Sammy felt hopeful, the name didn’t seem familiar, but nothing did, so maybe the boys were right. As they drove into the village, traffic slowed. Sammy hadn’t expected so many people.
“What’s going on?” he asked.
“It’s the party, dude!” Doug said.
“It’s the 250 anniversary of the Acadians and the village’s 40th birthday,” Pete explained.
“Yeah, they’ve got everything going on here,” Bobby said. “Breakfasts, suppers, lots of bands and more. People are here from all over the world.”
“Lottsa pretty girls too, dude!” Doug grinned.
A Celebration in Neguac
Sammy marvelled at how many people had turned out for this celebration. He caught bits and pieces of conversation as he followed the boys through the crowd, but he couldn’t comprehend. Every now and then the boys greeted someone with, “Bonjour!” Sammy thought it was interesting that communities could be so close together and yet be so unique. The fun was contagious. He embraced the adventure and joined the singing and dancing. They met many friendly people, but nobody recognized him. The boys invited some pretty girls to supper.
Soon Sammy was squished between Bobby and a girl named Rachel in a booth at the Brookside Restaurant slurping back slices of a delicious pizza. He couldn’t remember ever having pizza, but he couldn’t imagine finding any finer.
“Good stuff?” Rachel laughed. Sammy smiled. There was something familiar about this girl with the black hair that cascaded down her back to her waist. Her eyes bulged from their sockets, and as she leaned in closer, Sammy saw silver sparkles painted around her eyes and the bridge of her nose.
“Would you go out with me?” Sammy blurted, and stuffed another piece of pizza into his mouth. Rachel giggled. “Yes, of course.”
While the others returned to singing and dancing, Bobby loaned Sammy his truck so he and Rachel could drive out to Ile-aux-foins Park. Sammy suggested Rachel drive, which pleased the young girl to no end and avoided the awkward situation of finding out whether he could reach the pedals or not. Not to mention the fact that he had no recollection of ever having driven before and likely didn’t even know how.
They meandered around the boardwalks stopping to read interpretation panels describing the park’s animal and plant life. There were so few walkers it felt like he and Rachel were alone on the island. Sammy liked the way the sea breeze tousled her hair and how her eyes smouldered in the setting sun. They climbed an observation tower and watched the water change colours from deep purple to midnight blue.
“It’s too bad we didn’t have leftovers for a picnic,” he said.
“Boy, you really can put it away,” Rachel laughed. “I know it’s good, but you’d think you never had pizza before.”
“I’m not sure I have,” Sammy murmured.
“What?” They sat on the floor of the observation tower. Rachel kicked off her sandals, and sat cross-legged facing him as she questioned him. She learned his story beginning from when Sammy woke up in Tabusintac until they met. Rachel was slack-jawed. “Wow, that’s quite a story.” Sammy nodded.
“Do you think you have family in Neguac?” she asked.
Sammy shrugged. “I met a lot of Savoie people today, but none of them knew me. I guess the chances are slim. Now it’s back to the original plan—Burnt Church tomorrow.”
“Why wait?” Rachel said. “I know somebody there who might be able to help. It’s a little late but I’m sure he’ll be up.” She leaped to her feet and reached down for his hand. “C’mon! This is important. You’re homeless!”
To be continued …