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RONALD MIZON IN NOVA SCOTIA 1940 - 1944 Part 17

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Published on January 2018

As the summer hols wore on (vacation) I had some good times down at Pentz's Lake where there was, at one point, a sandy beach and good swimming was to be had and it did not go too deep too quickly.  One bit of fun stands out to me and that was building a raft (well Tom Sawyer did!).  I was told who he was.  I had no idea at the time.  Anyway, we scouted around, my friends and I, for odd bits of timber and the odd plank, and lashed everything together with string and rope.  It looked fine until launch time came and we managed to get it into the water and us "budding Tom Sawyers" boarded it.  Alas, it came apart and started to sink and every one of us received a good soaking!  Good job we had our swimwear on!  We gave vent to our disappointment verbally and some of it not in the King's English as we were told by a man standing on the bank watching us with interest and amusement.  He was Guy Case and soon-to-be Rev. Guy Case at the little church on the Etter Road, I think.  He was on leave from Dalhousie University and before long would be marrying into part of the Cole family.  He was non-plussed towards us after his first comment and suggested that about four or five empty five gallon oil drums be put into the building of further attempts.  His suggestion was taken up successfully at a later date when we found the extra materials. 

What I did not care for in the lake whilst swimming was the visitation of leeches which fastened themselves to our arms, legs and backs.  One lad said they could be brought off with the lighted end of a cigarette applied to the little perishers.  Courtesy of our hero, we soon shed them.  Where the cigarette came from I have no idea.  I think perhaps it was from him, who we hardly ever saw in school.  He lived with his Dad in a little shack beside the railway track opposite the water tower.  He spent his days swimming, fishing and helping his Dad.  This boy's Dad worked for the D.A.R. on the track checking it up and down every day, including the sleepers.  From time to time they would go up to Windsor, to see Mum I suppose.  This fellow would get about on a four-wheeled contraption which was propelled by pumping it up and down.  It did have a small petrol engine as well and would go both ways just by moving a gear lever.  In the event of a train coming they, through much practice, would hear it by the hum on the rails.  They would jump off, do a quick right turn with it and man handle it onto the side trackside.  I experienced many a thrilling ride on this machine at Dad's invitation. 

Another special day came along when Gladys prepared a picnic for Bessie, Carol, Aunt Allie, Uncle George and I and we three were to take our swimming costumes and we headed towards the Annapolis Valley and on to Canning and Grande Pre to the coast on the east side of Nova Scotia, as far as I could make out.  There was a huge coastline like the sea, really, and we bathed and gamboled in the sea, or whatever it could be called to our uneducated minds.  What a day we had!  There were logs floating around in the water and a great time we had standing (sometimes) on them and sitting astride them.  After a great time, Uncle George got out the picnic and we feasted on boiled eggs, hot dogs, corn on the cob, cakes, cokes or 7-Up.  One big advantage to being here - no leeches to cling to our bodies!  Arriving home late we three children, tired and somewhat soiled, had baths and tumbled eagerly into bed and were asleep in no time. 

Whilst on the Station one day, a train came through slowly and the locomotive stopped at the water tower to load up.  The back end of the train was halted just past the crossing and standing on the balcony of the parlour car was a bunch of khaki clad figures.  As we children moved closer, more figures appeared at the windows and called to us children.  They were soldiers going to training camps or wounded.  I don't really know.  To my surprise they shouted, "Yorkshire, Lancashire, London".  I shouted back, "Middlesbrough", which brought a huge cheer and a shower of Pennies and Halfpennies and some Sixpences to us.  Soon they moved on to their destination, Upper Canada I suspect.  I gave a big shout, "There'll always be an England", which brought a bigger cheer.  Excitement over, things reverted to normal.  

I made many trips to the lumber camp and made friends with some of the loggers.  To name two - Doug and Dearmond.  Dearmond drove a big wooden sled loaded with logs and rolled them onto a huge ramp and when it was full he would trip the first few which set the great pile rolling into the boom on the lake in preparation for hauling them up to the sawmill.  I stood many times watching him perform his duties and he never ceased to amaze me at his dexterity and sure-footedness when he jumped onto floating logs to untangle them as required.  

Another logger I recall was Carl.  He must have lived close to the camp I think because he would turn up in a Model T Ford car "sans roof".  He gave me many a ride in it which was a great thrill!  Later, when back in England watching the "Beverly Hillbillies" and the Clampits, I thought of Carl and the many rides I had with him and his big black bubbled air horn going around the back roads or tracks.  Really, it sure was hairy!  

Soon, summer was slipping into autumn.  The leaves on the trees were turning to glorious colours and I was informed that it would soon be time to tap the Maples.  This was a puzzle to me until it was explained in more detail and soon one of the loggers showed me how to make a spout by whittling a piece of wood and making a channel for the sap to run down.  When I arrived back at Uniacke I showed Uncle George what I had made to tap the maples.  He showed interest by telling me to go and see Glen in the store and ask him if he had an empty tin pail and tell him what it was for.  Subsequently, I arrived home with my pail and received more directions on its potential use.  
 

Uniacke Newsletter
2018-01-13
https://www.uniackenewsletter.ca/stories/ronald-mizon-in-nova-scotia-1940-1944-part-17