An unhappy hooker’s trials and troubles

04/29/2010 12:00 AM |

I hooked my way across Canada two years ago. Having never hooked before, I thought I was too old, but according to an older, experienced hooker who was guiding me, age is hardly a factor when it comes to hooking.

I am, of course, referring to rug hooking.

It was in Nova Scotia that I purchased my rug-hooking kit, at a shop called Flora’s on Cape Breton Island, home of some of the best rug hookers in the world. Winters can be severe in that part of Canada along the Cabot Trail, where woman have for generations engaged in hooking to pass the cold, dark months. My kit, when finished — if I ever get the darn thing finished — should produce a scene of a lighthouse, seagulls, an azure sky and the deep blue sea on a six-by-six rugish-looking square.

For some reason, I thought hooking would be easy, that anyone could do it. It certainly looked easy when I watched a woman at Flora’s demonstrate how to hook. “There’s a right way and a wrong way to do it,” she explained.

Who knew!

It wasn’t necessary to buy a kit. I could have purchased a fully hooked six-by-six rug with a lighthouse, seagulls, azure sky and the deep blue sea for $18. The kit cost me $12, thereby saving me $6. (A whopping big deal in a place where gas costs more than $5 for however many liters equal a gallon.)

A good hooker could probably finish the tiny little rug kit in about 30 minutes. I’d estimate that I spent 10 hours and I just kept having to unravel my deep blue sea.

I learned two things from that experience. One is that if I were being paid by the hour, I sure couldn’t make money hooking. Also, like so many other things, it’s not as easy as the good hookers make it look. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

On Canadian television

The sitcom “Little Mosque on the Prairie” was notas funny as the title led me to believe, but Canadian Idol rocks! That season’s runner-up, Mitch, was from Nova Scotia so there were “Vote for Mitch” signs everywhere, so many that I felt like I knew him. All the locals were wild about Mitch. Since we’d spent two weeks in Nova Scotia I sort of considered myself to be a “local” and I was wild about Mitch, too. Whoever he is.

On Minding Your Manners

Face it, most of us mind our Ps and Qs on the North Fork because we don’t want to end up in the police blotter. But sometimes when people leave the area they assume it’s safe to act up because, hey, who’s ever gonna find out? Well, even though there are only a few thousand people who live on Shelter Island, they manage to spread themselves far and wide around the globe. We have bumped into Shelter Island neighbors in the lobby of a Tokyo hotel, at Disney World, in a Texas campground, in a shopping mall in Tucson and on the way into the Hog’s Breath Saloon in Key West.

So where’s this leading? Right to the crowded waterfront boardwalk in Halifax, where I was stopping at every food booth to eat because while I’m away, eating is what I do when I’m not hooking. Anyhow, while I was shoving a dessert crepe into my mouth I see the familiar faces of Islanders Joe and Anita. In that moment of excitement I couldn’t remember their names and I wasn’t about to shout “Hey you!” so I did the next best thing and shouted, loudly, “Shelter Island!” About 200 people turned in my direction, including Joe and Anita who were headed back to their cruise ship, which had docked at Halifax for the afternoon.

We talked about how weird it was to be so far from home and see familiar faces. I told them that I was going to write about our encounter in my column. Joe wondered what I was going to write and I said, “I’ll come up with something, even if I have to make it up!”

Joe looked worried. “Just don’t make up something like Anita was dancing on a table eating a lobster roll!” he said.

“Okay,” I told him, “I won’t.”

More on hooking

If given the choice between buying a rug-hooking kit or buying the finished rug, buy the rug. No matter how easy some people might make it look, not everyone is cut out to be a hooker.