The Dryden Observer

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A Ham Sandwich and a Christmas Miracle

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.

It was a Christmas miracle, I tell ya.

For days after, the sickening sound of a many thousand dollar camera hitting the frozen concrete would cruelly re-inhabit my sensorium at strange moments. I can still recall the tinkling of the front lens element as it left the body of the lens and skittered across the ground along with other shards of its housing.

The sounds were sharpened by my inability to see what had happened, but knowing nonetheless that a bloody catastrophe was unfolding outside of the stuffy, frozen Sasquatch mask I’d been so eager to be free of. So eager in fact that I’d forgotten the camera around my neck and had no one to blame but myself.

So I gathered up what pieces I could and tried not to let it ruin my night as I skinned the ‘squatch, changed and headed out to the Open Mic’.

It had been a fantastic night too, encased in warm fur as my Sasquatch alter ego ‘Ham Sandwich’ and walking the Santa Claus Parade route as both participant and media observer. After so many years, you just get sick of standing on the corner and watching these things pass you by.

It was an especially interesting exercise to act as a photographer while dressed as an ape-like cryptid.

I found that people, babies and dogs react very differently to a hairy mythical beast with a camera than they do to a strangely-dressed, balding 37 year-old man, in some ways treating the Sasquatch with far less suspicion. There’s that moment of uncertainty and incredulity on people’s faces that is wonderful to photograph.

It wasn’t far into the parade route that I discovered how dancing a bit like an idiot could intensify the effect. I enjoyed the downtown leg of the parade in close proximity to the Newfoundland and Labrador Club Float where ’ol Billy MacIsaac and I could be seen steppin’ lively to some old sea shanties. Yarr.

Held in conjunction with the Dryden Shrine Club’s annual parade night open lodge, Friday’s Open Mic was another in a series of great events that have earned rave reviews and a growing following since returning to Dryden’s downtown on the first Friday of every month.

Not long after no less than a stageful of nine local musicians helped singer Shannyn Peters bring home the final bars of 4 Non Blondes’ famous tune ‘What’s Up’ in a magical ending to the evening, I returned home to the pile of broken electronics on my kitchen table.

After a careful assessment and cleaning, piece after piece seem to pop back into place. Three carefully glued pieces later, I was left with a completely functional, albeit slightly uglier lens. How about that?

Don’t sweat the small stuff, I guess.


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