An outhouse isn’t mandatory to enjoy Grandpa’s Outhouse Reader. Anyplace you’ve time to read short articles written by an interesting fellow will suffice.
Laurie Blackwood Pike isn’t a grandpa (he was mistaken as one by a youngster and the name stuck).
Born in Stanhope, Newfoundland, Blackwood Pike’s family moved to Yarmouth when he was about 14, where his father operated the Yarmouth Town Mission in the south end. It was a place his teenaged son loved.
“The mixture of people--French, English, black, Lebanese and others (and every combination thereof) gave it a cosmopolitan feeling--compared to the places I'd been,” Blackwood Pike said.
The Lebanese, in particular, really impressed him. He loved the grocery stores of the Emins, the Allens and the Bisharas and refers to them as “really kind, generous people” who went out of their way to help the disadvantaged and those 'between jobs.'
The mission had a full-size gymnasium upstairs, where young people could hang out at night--shooting baskets or playing badminton, or other activities. On Saturdays there was a soup kitchen and there was always used clothing to give to those in need.
Blackwood Pike later had a career in sales and business development, travelling the Atlantic provinces for years.
He met his wife Katie, a Newfoundlander, on one of those trips to NL. The couple lived in the Moncton area, in Carleton, Yarmouth County, and in Arcadia before moving to Placentia, NL.
Blackwood Pike says he’s always written and has kept a journal for a number of years. “I decided there might be a market for a book with 'short reads'--stories about everyday life, ordinary people who did exceptional things--humorous pieces, mixed with inspirational, and some thought-provoking opinions. I got lucky,” he said.
The first publisher he sent it to, Flanker Press in NL, agreed with him.
He says the book is selling well so far. He’s setting out this month on a book-signing spree with stops in the Atlantic provinces.
Blackwood Pike has used his nickname “Grandpa Pike” for charity work.
In 2007, he partnered with the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, Newfoundland & Labrador Chapter, to release a music CD.
The Will to Live contains country, Irish, folk and gospel tunes. In 2009, he again partnered with the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada to produce a gospel Christmas CD.
To purchase Grandpa Pike's Outhouse Reader
Visit Coles in Yarmouth
Ohio Esso in South Ohio