March Break memories

TINA COMEAU @TinaComeauNews



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I never need to look at a calendar to be reminded that it's March Break. I need only look at my memories that pop up on my Facebook. The posts are filled with hockey memories, most notably, the years we'd head to the city to play in the Joe Lamontagne Memorial Tournament at Cole Harbour Place. Or, as we all called it – The Joe. According to the memories, while The Joe created good times and good hockey memories, it also caused stress and confusion. One year, parked in a mall parking lot, my sons Jacob and Justin had to listen to me screaming at the GPS (back when GPS was a thing and Google maps was not) because it wouldn't lead us to our hotel. We were staying at a new hotel in Dartmouth. The GPS lady was trying to send us to Bangor, Maine. “Bangor? Really? That's the best you can do?” I asked it. We eventually found the hotel, but not thanks to the GPS. After the first morning, as the tournament went on, all of the hockey families on Jacob's team made a pact to follow one another to and from the hotel and the arena. That way we wouldn't get lost. But on the day the tournament began I thought to myself, I can do this. I can find the rink. Besides, we were the only ones at the hotel since the others would only be checking in after our first game. There was no one else to follow, so off to the rink me and the kids went. We leave the hotel, make a right, another right and then veer left on a ramp. Then I panic because I didn't know which lane to go in. I end up at another set of lights. I make a left and we see an exit ramp that reads: Cole Harbour. “Take that!” Jacob shouts. Next thing I know we're on the most isolated stretch of highway I've ever seen. I'm freaking out because we're lost. “Type in Mic Mac Mall on the GPS!” I shout. Jacob tries but it won't “acquire satellites.” “Keep trying,” I say, worrying that we're going to end up in Musquodoboit Harbour. “I am,” he says frantically. “It won't work.” We drive, and drive, and drive. I mutter a few choice words in my fit of GPS rage. After about seven minutes of driving through what feels like the middle of nowhere, the road comes to an end, and directly across the intersection from us is Forest Hills Drive – the road the rink is on. I couldn't believe it. I accidentally got us lost on the most direct route to the rink. Jacob and I exchange high fives. Fast forward a few years later and it was Justin's turn to play at The Joe. My parents also made the trip since they went here, there and everywhere to watch their grandkids play hockey. We were all milling about Cole Harbour Place one day, waiting for Justin's game to begin when my dad asked why the tournament was on a weekday since Justin and his friends should be in school. “It's March Break,” we told him. Then my nieces came to watch another game. My dad asked, “Why aren't Kailynn and Courtney in school?” “It's March Break,” we reminded him again. He kept asking. We kept reminding him. The tournament eventually ended and we were back in Yarmouth. A day later I needed someone to pick up Justin to take him to the rink. My husband was fishing and I was busy with work so I asked my dad. No problem, he said. Until there was a problem. “Justin's not here,” he said when he called me later. “What do you mean?” I said. “Did you go inside?” “I can't,” he said. “It's locked.” “Well, knock on the door,” I told him. “Justin will let you in.” He said he hadn't thought of that. As we were talking, a thought occurred to me. I got the feeling my dad wasn't at my house. “Where are you?” I asked. “At Maple Grove,” he said. “To pick up Justin.” “Ummm, it's still March Break,” I told him. I'll hand to my dad, at least he was persistent that the kids should be in school.