To my surprise, he gave me a small reassuring smile, and had me get off the snowmobile and walk to get some blood flowing back to the area. I had only taken a few steps when he drove off, and he soon was a dot in the distance heading toward a far-off caribou herd.
By the time I reached him, I had stripped off my warm clothes and was sweaty from the workout. While I walked in deep snow for what seemed like hours, he had finished processing all of the caribou that he had shot. I was very angry with him and I asked why he left me. He asked if I was still cold and gave me a piece of the warm caribou meat.
Later, when I learned how to properly dress and be prepared for the cold, I could go hunting and travel on long trips regularly. Boat trips were always my favourite, as I could get up, move about the boat, and watch the water as it was forced out from underneath.
By the time I was seven, I was still primarily a passenger on our boat trips together. I wanted to help but was very limited in my ability to do so. On one memorable trip together, we had set out from Makkovik to Nain on one of our regular runs. Nearing the end of our journey, the winds picked up, and conditions drastically deteriorated. I distinctly remember the darkness—only a slight silhouette of the land visible in the distance. Every now and then the ol’ man would cut the engine and waves would break and spray over the windshield. Saltwater pounded us. Each spray felt like a dozen buckets filling our hip boots and our mouths.