Disclaimer: This book is not about outhouses and does not contain bathroom humour. Instead the 70 short (very short) stories are filled with wry observations, self-deprecating humour and homely wisdom told by a natural-born, down-East storyteller.
And Grandpa Pike is not a grandfather (at least not at time of writing) but got the nickname when his hair turned grey in his twenties and which he accepted as a preferable alternative to Fish Face, his childhood moniker.
Not only did he accept it, he took it and ran with it, once branding the rural store he bought in Albert County, New Brunswick as Grandpa Pike’s. He’s continued to use it for his charity work with the Newfoundland & Labrador chapter of the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada and as his stage name as he’s also a performer and recording artist.
All of which provides material for his stories, along with his tales growing up in a dysfunctional family in Nova Scotia. He quit school at age 16 and made his way to Ontario where he worked at a series of retail jobs and where, while living in a boarding house, finally experienced a happy family life.
The stories are amusing as he explains why cats are better than dogs, why he’s hopeless and even dangerous in the kitchen and what’s wrong with golf: “Not much I s’pose. If you’re single and have a high-income job.”
They’re also reflective and poignant. When he made the choice to move back to Atlantic Canada he had to find a new home for his beloved rescue cat, who he’d named Dawn in recognition of her pale gray fur. Recalling his first lonely night without her sleeping under his beard, he writes, “A quiet night has a way to focus your mind on seemingly little things that are important to you. It is indeed a long night that has no dawn.”
Grandpa Pike’s Outhouse Reader
By Laurie Blackwood Pike