Friday, September 28, 2012

Neither Dis One Or Dat One

If you ever get the chance to go to Newfoundland, take it. It’s not a glitzy place, and my trips there have been hunting trips – woodland caribou and moose. But it’s home to the best people on earth, with the best sense of humor to match.

There’s two major airports on the island. One is in St. John, the only metropolitan area in the province. The other is Gander, which more towards the center of the province. While at most airports you fumble around trying to find the right gate, you won’t have that problem in Gander, because there are only two – which the airport workers refer to, in their Newfoundland dialect, as "Dis One" and "Dat One."

Incidentally (I’m getting a little off topic with this, but it’s a great story that should be remembered), on September 11, 2001, Gander is the airport to which all of the large international planes that were in the air were diverted and grounded, because while it lacks a lot of amenities it has several large runways that could handle them. That tiny airport in that small town suddenly had dozens of planes on its runway and thousands of terrified and uncertain people with only two small hotels to house them.

So how did so many of us get through that darkest day in modern times? Through an amazing display of kindness and love in a place none of them ever expected to visit. Hundreds of Newfoundlanders from the surrounding area showed up in their cars at the airport that day. They each picked up as many complete strangers as they had room for, and they took them back to their own homes. They fed them, housed them and let them call their loved ones so they would know they were safe. Gradually, things calmed down and they brought them back to Gander airport, to see their new friends off, waving best wishes as they left from either dis gate or dat one.

That’s what Newfoundlanders are like, and I still get choked up when I tell that story. So if you ever feel the need to make fun of Canada – and Newfoundland in particular – don’t. Particularly in front of me. They are my friends and they should be yours too.

OK, end of sermon and back to the story at hand. The reason all this came to mind was as I was thinking about the Gold Bond pencils (Montgomery Ward’s store brand), I was thinking about the two types I’ve seen. There’s dis one, the kind made by National Pen Products under the Rex Patents:

And dat one, made by Wahl Eversharp:

But now, here’s "dat udder one":

This one is stamped on the side of the upper barrel:

The clip on this is really unusual:

Who made this? Well, it does have the same three narrow bands seen on some of the Wahl-made examples, but the color isn’t a Wahl color and the clip doesn’t resemble anything the company made, either. I’ve heard that some Gold Bonds were made by Parker, and the plastic does look a lot like a darker version of the Parkette Zephyr grey.

So, my little Gold Bond collection now has three arrival gates – and no departures!

1 comment:

Joe Nemecek said...

I'm a huge fan of the knurled cap Gold Bond pencils but the story here is about the Newfoundlers. Thanks Jon!