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EARLY DAYS AT BARNEY'S RIVER

Written by
Published on January 2018

Thinking after my first few days with the Camerons, I guess I was expected to earn my keep or at least something toward it.

So it transpired that I should milk two cows and feed them as it became necessary.

The team of horses also soon became my responsibility and as I liked horses we soon became friends. The wood box was also to be kept filled by yours truly chopping and splitting the wood as was necessary.

After a couple of days of my residence they took me down to the little schoolhouse and introduced me to the Teacher.  She was a young, pretty dark haired girl and appeared to be very nice. I cannot recall her name but she soon found me a desk in front of a boy about my own age and we soon became acquainted. I think our teacher had quite a task with about twenty or so pupils in her school of all ages and gender.  I think that we would certainly be keeping her busy.   I settled down after Linus left and spoke to the boy behind me, introducing myself. He did likewise and he went by the name of Donald Bannerman.  Little did I know that we would become good pals. Apparently, Donald lived with his Mum and Dad, Grandma and three sisters at the large farm house which I passed just before I turned off at the schoolhouse for the lane where Linus lived.

Further up the road towards Antigonish was a general store operated by a Harlan Robertson who had a son my age and a girl - Lena - a little older.

I was getting along fine with Linus’s horses and when they were out to graze and they saw me coming they would come to meet me. Crafty things-they knew that I had a titbit for them to munch on. 

When I approached Bobby he would allow me to slip a rope halter on him and let me climb on his back and ride him back to the stable followed by the mare. That day, Saturday, Linus asked me if I would like to go to New Glasgow. Being no school I jumped at the chance.  Having not been there before I looked forward to the trip after my chores.

I spruced myself up and wore my Boy Scout hat, not thinking much about it until we came across a hitchhiker thumbing a ride.  Linus slowed down and I opened my window of the car and hailed to come aboard. Well, he was almost upon us when he suddenly turned and ran away. I looked at Linus dumbfounded. He retorted to me that he reckoned that I had scared him off by wearing my Scout hat and he thought that I was a Mountie Constable! Waving did not bring him back so we carried on, both Linus and I having a good chuckle as we sped on our way. I told Linus about Harry Powell’s veg patch and a miscreant running away there as he spotted my Scout hat. Linus suggested that I not wear it in public again. When we reached New Glasgow I popped it into the back seat.  “Good idea.” he said “Folks will think it is a Mountie car and leave it alone.”

Arriving in New Glasgow, Linus pulled up at a store with darkened windows. Turning to me he gave me instructions on how to get into the main part of the town. “I want you back in one hour. Off you go and enjoy yourself.”

I soon found my way about-past the Royal Bank of Canada, then milk bars where I sampled a milkshake (my first for about 18 months at Milford). I discovered a Barber shop. I went in for a trim and found I could have my trousers pressed at the same time. Slipping off my trousers in a cubicle and dropping a sort of wigwam shirt over my shoulders whilst the barber gave me a trim and an assistant pressed my trousers. 

All for 75 cents for me as a boy but a dollar for a man. Shaving was extra but I was not yet in that category.

Looking further I discovered a river and on the other side another town, Stellarton. Further on was a sign to Trenton directing one to the car works (rail car that is).

Pulling out my Big Ben watch bought in Mount Uniacke with my pocket money from Uncle George, I was horrified that I had been away over an hour and had to get back to the car.

I started off running to try and make up a little time to find Linus was waiting.  “I think that you need more time I guess. Never mind, I see that you have had a haircut and my word you do look smart with your trousers pressed!   I’ll  let you off this time. I think I will have to give you more time when we come again.”  That pleased me at the thought that I would be visiting New Glasgow again.  I enjoyed our ride home and when we arrived Linus had to tell Katherine of our episode concerning the runaway hitchhiker.  She thought that was a good wheeze and called us both mischievous.   More next month.

Uniacke Newsletter
2018-01-13
https://www.uniackenewsletter.ca/stories/early-days-at-barneys-river