Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 39 > Page 16 - Dr. Austin MacDonald, Down North

Page 16 - Dr. Austin MacDonald, Down North

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/6/1 (271 reads)

she was fairly fast and reliable. And my horse was getting tired. So Murdock said, "We'll take my mare." And that was 8 or 9 miles to get there, and 8 or 9 miles back. Anyway, we got along great. We had had a thaw, and the road was icy, so it was good travelling. We got to the top of this hill. And the britching came loose. You know, that's the breech part of the harness that goes around and fastens to the shaft to keep the sleigh from bumping the animal. We had already come over the top when this thing came loose and the sleigh hit the mare in the heels, She went down the hill as tight as she could gallop. And Murdock dropped out on the right side of the sleigh and I on the left, and we just held on, you see, to slow her down--just let our bodies drag out on the ice. And we thought she'd probably get killed when she hit the turn at the bottom, because it was a square turn. But she didn't. She landed in the snowbank. That stopped her--she couldn't move a leg. And here we were--our clothes were torn, and we were full of bruises--but no broken bones. Mare didn't have any broken bones. So we got her out of the snowbank and back on the road, and went down to White Point. About daylight in the morning when we got back home to Cape North. Marie kept track of my mileage during the winters, you know, with the horses, from the time I'd leave home till I'd get back. In the 5 winters that I had to travel all winter with horses, the one winter the mileage was about 3500 miles, and the oth? ers were between that and 5000 miles. And that, if you add it up, brings you almost once around the earth at the equator. With? in a thousand miles. We used to cross the ice from what they called Courtney's Shore, where the Court? ney family used to live at Cape North. Crossed the ice and came ashore down in Sugar Loaf, down near where the Wilkies live in Sugar Loaf. And when the ice was good, it was a good shortcut, it was a good way to go. And in the beginning of the winter, the county used to pay a fel? low to take some little spruce trees, you know, chop a hole down in the ice, and put the trees there for markers. Oh, about a hundred feet apart, so even in a storm you could follow from tree to tree, as a rule. What they called "bushing the ice." But this was getting on late in the winter, in March. And we'd had some warm days, and the ice was good. I had a big gray road horse--Harry. Anyway, Harry was making great progress down the ice, and we were enjoying the whole ride, and this was a- bout 8 or 9 o'clock at night, I suppose. I was going on a call to Bay St. Lawrence. And all of a sudden, we go in the drink. The ice simply went down, and Harry disap? peared in the water. We were in the sleigh behind, but we got out in a hurry and scrambled up onto the ice. And about a mile back was the Court? ney home. There were 7 men in that house, and we knew if we could get them, we could get Harry out of the ice. He tried to get out, but more ice would break and he'd go down. So he- gave up then. So Murdock Louisbourg Canada Canada Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Park Nova Scotia June 1 - September 30 Forteresse de Louisbourg pare historique national Nouvelle-Ecosse 1'' juin-30septembre ' Mug Up 4, Deli Mayflower Mall Sydney, N.S. B1P5T9 539-8883 Specializing in Imported Coffee Beans, Teas, and Other Specialty Items: Perogi, Flatyres, Lebanese Flat Bread, NEED A MUFFLER SHOCKS? BRAKES? FAST, QUALITY SERVICE BY EXPERTS FOR YOUR CAR, TRUCK OR VAN- NATIONALLY GUARANTEED FREE INSPECTION & ESTIMATES COMPETITIVE PRICES ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT PARTS FOR ALL DOMESTIC & FOREIGN VEHICLES MUFFLERS • SHOCKS • BRAKES li'iLlij Master Muffler & Brake Centre PHONE 539-6691 349 GEORGE ST., DOWNTOWN SYDNEY, N.S.' (16)
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