Issue: July 2019
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Next deadline: August 29


Written by
Published on January 2018

 I really was not sure of the best way to make my first visit to Barney’s River since I had left Linus and Katherine, but I had the good fortune to come across Phyllis Bannerman in the high street in New Glasgow and talking to her about it she gave me the solution.  Meet her at the bus stop on Saturday around eleven AM and we would be able to catch the “Greyhound” which passed 

right by the Bannerman abode.  This I did and in no time we were knocking on the door at her Mum and Dad’s house.
As we entered the house I paid by respects to Alan and Mrs. Bannerman (I never knew her Christian name).  Donald was most pleased to see me and without further ado he took me upstairs to his bedroom.  He was most keen to show me what he had done ready for my first visit to make me more comfortable.  Another single bed had been added so that we each should have our own bed.  Right next to my bed on the wall he had made a nice shelf to house my book prizes and others which I had received on various birthdays. He had even left space for my microscope kit and specimens.  He had endeavoured to make me feel at home for my visits. 
   After the visit to our bedroom I was anxious to see Grandma Bannerman who hugged me as she met me.  I showed her again the gold ring which I had purchased with her gift and it brought a little tear from her eye.
   Afterwards, Donald and I went to the barn for a look at the horses and next day we gave both of them a good brush down.  Afterwards, we had a teasing game with the collie and after that we both set to and split a pile of wood for the stove.
   After supper was cleared away, the radio was switched on and tuned into “Antigonish” and we had a dancing session with Phyllis and Donald’s Mum, with Grandma clapping the time to the old Scottish tunes.
No such thing as Television in those days.
Getting back to New Glasgow on the Greyhound made things easy for me and so, on Sunday evening, Phyllis and I boarded our bus and were soon on our way back to town.
Next morning, of course, it was off to my job again at the works but I was setting down quite well.  In fact, I was beginning to feel like a Canadian, especially that my fellow workers did not believe that I was an English boy receiving shelter, as it were, from the German Blitzcrieg in Europe.
   My special day came in the form of the site foreman who asked me if I would consider doing a turn on the machine which planed the length of wood ready for fitting up to the barges by carpenter fitters.  I readily agreed and was put with a mulatto man who warned me to keep away from the rotating blade.
  All I had to do was to take a plank from a freshly cut pile and pull it towards my fellow worker and he would insert it directly into the spinning blade and eureka! it came out at the other end planed, where another young man about my age would lay it neatly onto a four wheeled wagon which, when full, was hauled to the fitting shop for placing it into the appropriate section to form the barge.
   I witnessed, at Egerton months ago, the severing of the fingers of Harry Powell whilst he and his son were chopping wood for the stove and one day as I was pulling the planks to the planer I was to witness another very nasty incident. A man close by was using an electric hand held rotary saw to lop off the ends of the planks to make them even.  It goes like this - one has to place the saw onto the section to be cut and as the saw comes in contact with that section the guard was supposed to automatically slide up to reveal the rotating blade. Apparently, at this time, it stuck and the operator put his hand down to release the guard but the same time the guard shot up and his hand landed on to the rotating blade and sliced off three fingers. He fainted as blood shot out. Our plane was shut down at once and my workmate rushed to this poor man’s aid. A stretcher was rushed up and the poor soul was carried away with bandages around his hand.
   I never saw him again. Work was stopped and the area was fenced off for inspection by the medical team and most men, including me, wandered off to the rest room. 

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