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> Issue 41 > Page 7 - Dan Alex MacLeod: a Working Life

Page 7 - Dan Alex MacLeod: a Working Life

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1986/1/1 (909 reads)

ing to the cookhouse, and lay down on a bench there. And when the cook got up, got my breakfast in the cookhouse and went and loaded the truck, and headed her back a- gain. Perhaps get in that night at 12 o'clock, do the same thing. Till the road would get better, and then you'd be home early. If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a truck driver, nothing else. You're out in the air, you're meeting different people, I think it's the best job that's going today. | (Then in the periods when the mine was closed, from the '30s through the '40s, you would hear the mine working.) Oh, yeah.i That house over there--we were sitting one afternoon, and the door was open--you know,] the table was right across from the door-- you could hear her going as plain as when she was going. We heard it 3 different times, and I was saying there were 3 fel? lows going to be killed. And there were 3 fellows killed, I think that's what we were hearing, when those fellows were get? ting killed, (And does that trouble you, that you hear things like that?) No. You wouldn't hear them and see them if they did. If you get scared, you won't see them. All I've got to do is touch your coat. If I'm seeing something, if I touched your coat there, you'd see it. I don't know what in the world is the cause of that. We went down with a fellow--his wife was dying. And I and my wife went down there, we were down there two months, I think. And oh, maybe two weeks before she died, I was out in the porch just about dusk. And there was a team right at the gate, with a coffin on it--the old-style thing with black cloth on it. "Well," I figured, "the old skinflint is going to make a homemade coffin"--that's what I thought. And my wife came along, and I went and put my arm around her--I never thought, you know--she went into hysterics--she saw it too, then, the minute I touched her. I said, "It's nothing. The old woman is going to die, and the remains are going to stop at the gate. But the old bugger is going to make a homemade coffin," He had lots of money. But it wasn't a homemade coffin. It was a boughten one. And the day of the funeral-- it was with a horse and wagon they were go? ing to take it to the cemetery--it wasn't far, anyway. It was in the spring and the roads were bad. And Norman Alex MacLeod had a touring car, and he got stuck right in front. Getting the car out of the way, out of the gate, he stopped it there. They had to stop with the remains, too. That's why we saw it. But why should we see an old-fashioned coffin? (Do you have any i- dea why?) No, no idea in the world, (And when you put your arm around her, she saw it too?) Oh, yeah. Well, that'll happen to anybody that'll see something, if you touch somebody else, they'll see it. Not the skin, just the clothes. That's the on- - ly time I ever touched anybody. I've seen things, and other people w.ith me, and I wouldn't say a word. I'm sure they never saw it, because if they would have, they'd have said. Oh, I've seen a lot of things. I was work? ing in the mine, and I had a bad cold. Our house wasn't fit to be living in. Dishes were rattling, and doors opening. Dan Pat? terson used to come to the door and holler, "Whoa!" My mother was wanting me to quit, you know--"You're going to get killed." "No, I'm not. You're hearing all those things--I'm going to get killed, I'm going to get killed--there's nothing." (What did it mean that Dan Patterson came to the door and yelled, "Whoa!"?) Well, he had a horse. Hold your pants on, you'll hear. I had an awful bad cold, and this Johnny Mac? Leod had come down from Lochaber, he had come home to go to work in the mines. So I said, "Work my shift tonight." We were dig? ging a shaft--the first shaft. So, all right. I stayed home. I don't know what time that night--an 8-by-8 that this blast had loosened came down and hit him right on the back of the neck, killed him. And they just took the body into the compres? sor house and laid it on a bench there. Sent word to his mother to come down. And we thought it was terrible for her to come down and see the body in the machine shop there. So we took his body over to the house. And Dan Patterson took him over. And when he came to the door, he hollered, "Whoa," stopping the mare, you know. That's what we were hearing, one of the things we were hearing. Talk. We used to hear talk. I maintain that if a body is above the ground more than three days, that you hear a lot more about it. See, they had an inquest--I think it was maybe 5 days. (Do you mean you hear a lot more about it before it hap? pens?) Yeah, that's right. (How did you feel, realizing that could have been you?) (7:
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