Covers (Co-vahs)

This post is for my sweet friend Billy— the man from the party, a faithful reader and a true “Co-vah”, born and raised.

The first time I heard the term “Cover” was at a party shortly after we had moved to Rockport.  One of my son’s new friend’s mothers invited us to a gathering in her home on Drumlin Road.  We arrived, bottle of wine in hand, to a lovely home with a large open first floor.  A fire was roaring in the fireplace and dozens of strangers milled around the room, carrying glasses of wine, bottles of beer and huge plates of delicious looking food.  Our hostess welcomed us in, but was soon sucked into the mass of people and we were left alone.  A handsome man introduced himself to my husband and me.  He asked where we were from, and we told him we had just moved to Rockport.

“Where are you from?”

“Pigeon Cove.  I’m a Co-vah.”

I looked to my husband, puzzled.  He met my gaze, my expression mirrored on his face.

Our new friend explained that Pigeon Cove was technically part of Rockport, but was really a separate place.  He was proud to begin to explain the distinction between his end of town and the rest of Rockport.   Pigeon Cove begins at the bridge right before Granite Pier on Granite Street. Or it begins at the end of Beach Street.  Residents who live between Beach Street and the bridge vote in Pigeon Cove, but residents of Pigeon Cove say the line is truly the bridge.  People who live  in Pigeon Cove are called Covers.  Every time he said that word, I smiled.  His strong New England accent came through loud and clear, and made me feel right at home.  “Co-vah.”  I laughed to myself.  This tiny town— about 7ooo residents— and Pigeon Cove was separate?

Now that we have lived here for almost eight years, I have a better understanding of that separateness.  There is no pretentiousness about “Co-vahs”, but there is definitely a distinction.  It has become most pronounced since I have changed my running route to that side of town.

“Co-vahs” keep their dogs on leashes almost all of the time.  And, if their dogs are off-leash, the owners hold the leashes at the ready.  The moment I come into view, either loping or charging up the street, co-vahs call their dogs.  And co-vah dogs are obedient.  Immediately.   By the time I have reached the dogs, they are leashed and their owners rein them in tightly.  Since November, no dog in Pigeon Cove has even barked at me,  let alone come close to chasing me.

“Co-vahs” drive differently, too.  As I run along the side of the road, even busy Granite Street, hugging the edge, trying to stay on the  inside of the white line, drivers notice me.  I do not get the evil eye.  Ever.  Sometimes drivers even wave.  Even if I don’t know them.  If another car is approaching from the other direction, everyone slows down.  Almost as if I have as much right to be using the street as they do.  If there are big puddles, co-vah drivers go around them, rather than through them.

If I have not sufficiently made the distinction:  when I used to run in the south end of town, some snowy mornings it seemed almost as if drivers looked at me as a moving target.  Nasty looks, honking horns, eye contact that made me cringe were all part of my morning run experience.  Puddles?  I came home soaked to the skin many days, having been the object of puddle rage of an early morning south end driver.

And I know it’s not just me.  My friend Susie, who wears a bright neon-yellow vest, had what she calls a three finger morning, just this morning.  She said something like, “I wear it (the vest) so you won’t hit me, not so you can have a better aim at me!”  My running partner, Sue, also from today’s run, “It’s like they want to stare you down and then run you over!  Are they jealous or just mean?”

I have friends in Rockport proper, and friends in Pigeon Cove.  Outside of the running arena, they stand on level ground.  When it comes to running, though, I am grateful for the distinction between “Rockporters” and “Covers”.

I guess today’s fitness rule is this:  Count your blessings.  Especially the “Co-vahs”.

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3 Comments on “Covers (Co-vahs)”

  1. Julie Says:

    I guess I’m a co-vah at heart!


  2. I KNOW you are, honey.

  3. susie Says:

    Well, I am a Finn from Lanesville, which is just like being a Cov-ah. Must agree about the attitude of the drivers. It is like they are mad that you are there and want to hit you to teach you a lesson! But not all, there are two or three that know me and give me a berth, so I would like to send a thank you to those few souls.


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