I’m taking a weekend off to catch up on some reading on the Sunshine Coast, and I was thinking about how different it is to be in a rural setting where I am a local. However, thinking back on our travels on the East Coast, sometimes being an outsider makes the mundane visible and novel. In particular I am reminded of the barn stars one finds on houses all along the Labrador coast, in parts of Newfoundland, and all through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Coming from the West, I initially wondered if somehow the region was filled with pagans.
Finding out why the barn stars were there took a little detective work. The trusty ol’ internet was less than helpful, claiming that the stars were either meaningless or indicated a house with a son or daughter in military service. This might be the case in the United States, but finally, after asking around in several towns, I started to get a consistent answer; the barn stars indicate Acadian households, as the star is also on the Acadian flag. This seemed to hold true no matter where I asked.
I suspect I only noticed the barn stars because we don’t have them in the west. Several people I asked stopped and stared at the giant tin star on their restaurant or store, as if they had never even seen it before. I wonder what an Easterner might notice in the West that is invisible to me by dint of being present every day?