Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 36 > Page 8 - Travels with Johnny "Butch" MacDonald

Page 8 - Travels with Johnny "Butch" MacDonald

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1984/6/1 (287 reads)

pocketful of money. And I can't get over the whole years when nobody had any money. Nobody had folding money. God almighty. It's like the story I told: Out all day, peddling meat, and all I sold was a 10- cent soup bone. And this was supposed to be a special day, that miners had two days pay coming to them. This happened during the Depression. In the middle of the winter, cold, and snow? banks everywhere. No plows, you could only get through it the best way you could. This fellow came to me, and he said, "The miners have got two days' pay coming to them this Friday. Now," he said, "if we had a couple of quarters of beef and took it around Reserve, we'd have no trouble selling it, and we could make a little mon? ey for ourselves. You've got the truck," he said, "and you can get the beef. What do you say?" Well, there was nothing doing, and I thought we'd try it, anyway, try any? thing. So I said, "All right," We got a couple of quarters of beef, froze as hard as a rock. It was just like cutting cement. But anyway, we cut it up. And Friday morn? ing, bright and early, we started off for Reserve, There were no heaters in the truck in those days. There wasn't even any glass in the doors. But anyway, after plow? ing through the snow, we finally got to Re? serve, We went out to the back, to compa? ny houses there. "Now," he said, "you take that side of the street and I'll take this one." Okay, that was all right with me. So, I started on my side, and I went up, rapped at the door. And finally a woman came, I said, "Want to buy any fresh meat?" She looked at me. "No." So, I didn't mind that. I went up to the next door, rapped. "Want to buy any fresh meat?" "No." By God, then I said that things were looking kind of tough. So I said, "I'm going to try one more door." So, I tried the third door. Knocked. "Want to buy any fresh meat?" "No." Well, that was enough for me. I went back, and I sat in the truck shivering and shaking, freezing to death. No sign of him. He was going up to the back doors. Finally, I saw him coming right out from the last house, plowing through the snow down to the truck. He got to the truck, and he said, "Ten-cent soup bone," So the two of us got into the back of the truck. We picked up what we thought was a 10-cent soup bone. And I was cashier. His hands were shaking with the cold, and mine were shaking with the cold. And the 10 cents went down through our fingers, right into 10 feet of snow. We never got it yet. And that was our sale for the day! I used to be travelling the country, walk? ing in the wintertime. You'd get off the train, say now, at Alba. And I'd walk down as far as South Cove. Maybe that's 7 or 8 or 10 miles, And go down the South Side 5 or 6 miles, and this way 5 or 6 miles. (Looking for what?) Cattle. (What would happen if you found one?) The farmer would deliver it to Alba, put it on the train. There'd be snowbanks, you know. Put them in the sleigh or something. I'm telling you, it was out of this world, you know, what was going on then, what you'd do. And the price of the cow wasn't much, either. Twenty-five, 30 dollars. These would most? ly be milk cows, you know. You'd trade them around. Everybody around Sydney kept milk cows then. Everybody, up around Alex- NOVASCOTIA DELIVERS. We have programs and services to assist established businesses as well as viable new enterprises. For complete information about these opportunities contact our regional offices • In Sydney LHC Building 295 Charlotte Street 539-4768 • In Port Hawkesbury Professional Building Church Street 625-3200 • In Antigonish Antigonish Municipal Building 42 West Street 863-5707 Nova Scotia Department of Development Honourable R.J. Thornhill, Minister 5151 George Street, Halifax Nova Scotia, Canada B3J 2R7 902/424-8920 Telex: 019 22548 See life as it was in Cape Breton during the nineteenth century. Nova Scotia Highland Village The Highland Village shows examples of dwellings built in Scotland, the first homes built with ba? sic tools in Cape Breton, as well as buildings that exemplify the settlers firm foothold in the new land. More than half the planned buildings are completed and work goes on. Come"see us grow. Highland Village Day August 4 -- 23rd year of this festival, featuring tradi? tional Scottish entertainment/ OPEN JUNE 15 to SEPT 15 10 to 6 DAILY Highland Village is located at lona on Route 223, which leaves the Trans-Canada about 7 miles east of Whycocomagh. It is a scenic alter? native paved route eastward to the Sydney ar? ea. Two short ferry rides pro? vide pleasant breaks in the drive. The view from the village is magnificent and worth the drive!
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