Issue: July 2019
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Next deadline: August 29

EDUCATING RONALD

Written by
Published on January 2018

One day, a horse and buggy came up the drive carrying a Mr. McCracken.  He had a mighty frisky stallion and I kept well away from him.  Talking to Harry they both ambled to the stables and had a look around.  Returning to the house, Mr. McCracken and Harry sat around the table with Jean whilst Norma and I were diverted to collect eggs.  I wondered why!?

Apparently, Mr. McCracken was to stay the night and would kip in the hay barn.  He soon recruited me to give him a hand bringing his blankets and a pillow from the buggy.  After he had selected a suitable mound of hay for his bed he proceeded to unpack his personal things.  Whilst he was doing this he gave me explicit instructions to go to his buggy, lift up the seat and bring him back a quart jar of lemon extract which was there. This I found easily and later learned that this was a beverage of which he enjoyed!!  But, next to the jar was a large revolver (a Colt, I thought) which startled me.  Not daring to touch it in case it should go off I returned without comment with the lemon extract.

He housed his horse in the barn with him and I did not see him anymore that day (wonder who snored the most?!?!) Next day, after all of us had our breakfast after milking, Harry, Allister and McCracken went off to the stables.  I was set to work doing housework, much to Norma’s delight.  Peculiar!  Why was I doing housework?  I could not work it out. I was kept busy but some months later the mare became a MUM as a little colt appeared one morning.  After a while, thinking about it, the PENNY dropped and it dawned on me the reason for the visit of Mr. McCracken some months past with his stallion.  I was growing up fast.

It wasn’t all work for me though.  I pulled my weight as far as I was able.  I liked to be with the horses most of all and now we had the little colt I had an extra mouth to feed when I brought them in from the pasture.

In the parlour of the house I would sometimes have a tinkle on the old organ.  One day I spotted a large telescope on the shelf behind the organ.  It was very large and was covered in brown leather.  Asking Harry about this item, he gave me permission to use it, but first he wanted to be with me to guide me on how it functioned.

The first time he and I went out to the back of the barn and Harry pointed out the small painted shed with a ladder at the side and up we went to reach the flat roof.  He now pointed out to me the sea in the distance and ships passing within our vision.  He then extended the telescope and to me it was huge.  I judged it to be at least two feet in length.  Through the eye piece a ship came into view so clear that the name was easily discernable and the flag on its stern.  As I became familiar with the instrument he was firm in my request that I should only use it on the shed roof and not anywhere else and not stray away with it.  I spent many happy free hours up there on the shed roof watching the ships and boats going along the Northumberland Strait.

I was beginning to like Harry.  He was a hefty built man with not much hair.  He appeared gruff to me at first but with all the things that he showed me and taught me he had a heart of gold, I reckon, along with a loud voice which became more evident when he first took me to the Sutherlands River Church where he sang the hymns with gusto and really put his heart into it.  Other men kept us all going with their deep voices drowning out my puny little voice.  One of the songs/hymns we used to sing regularly which I liked very much was “Come to the Church in the Wildwood, Come to the Church in the Dell”.  Harry and the other man were really in top form when we struck up to sing that!

Uniacke Newsletter
2018-01-13
https://www.uniackenewsletter.ca/stories/educating-ronald