Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 39 > Page 81 - Mary Sarah MacNeil Remembers Long Island

Page 81 - Mary Sarah MacNeil Remembers Long Island

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/6/1 (275 reads)

pie Blossom Time in the Valley." "Smoke Went up the Chimney Just the Same." "The Big Rock Candy Mountain." Oh, we loved that "Big Rock Candy Mountain." Oh, we loved that. (How would you learn the tune to it?) We didn't. We were giving whatever tune. My God, we had the right tune every time! We had the right air for the dam things. I don't know, when you learned it, it seemed that it would just come to you, some way or another, "The Wreck of the Old 97"--we didn't know the air to that. But we started, we were singing it--everybody on the island was singing it. We had the right air. And there were the violin players. Now this Hughie Nicholson, he was a good vio? lin player, and he was a good stepdancer. And Angus, his brother Angus, was a violin player. John Joe was a violin player--an? other brother. And John Allan. They were all on the island, living next door to us. And Katherine, one of the girls, was going to school with us. They were violin play? ers. Old Mr. Nicholson himself was a vio? lin player, so that's where the children learned. Now, they just learned off the fa? ther, listening to the father playing it, and they learned. Today they'll all have to go somewheres to learn those things. They were dam good fiddlers. Then maybe they wouldn't know the whole tune. But they'll have half of one tune, half anoth? er one. Like "Calum Crubach"--they knew that one all through. And "Big John Mac? Neil," "Lord MacDonald," they knew that one. Oh yes, and my God, now, you'd find, Sunday, in the sijmmertime, they'd sit out on the steps, and the water down below the house. They'd start playing the violin: you could hear the water carry the sound. Oh, did it ever sound nice. (Did you go to dances?) Not on the island, but dances on the mainland. Oh God, we used to walk to dances in Boisdale--12 miles away. And we used to walk to Bara? chois, but we'd always get a drive back. And then. Long Island Hall--oh, they used to have beauties at Long Island Hall. Al? ways end up in a big fight. The Barachois Schoolhouse--always a big fight. And then another. Long Island Main School, they used to have dances there. Scotch Lake School. (For a person who seems to have worked an awful, awful lot, you seem to have played a lot, too.) Oh, yes. Well, it would be in the summertime, and there'd be no school in the summertime, so you could go to the dances. (You've got great spirit, and you're a lovely woman, but you never married.) No. I was never interested. The only thing I would like to do, but I could never afford to, is go in the nuns. I would have loved WELCOME TO THE FULLY LICENSED Harbour Restaurant A Good Selection of Seafood ng Room Overlooking Cheticamp Harbour OPEN ALL YEAR 'ROUND Cheticamp, Cape Breton * 224-2042 j'" Atomic Energy , L'Energie Atomique Canada Limited du Canada, Limitde CANDU A' Nuclear Information Centre "An Insight into Canada's Advances in the Nuclear Age'' . OPEN 9-9 : SEVEN DAYS A WEEK JUNE TO SEPTEMBER lAT THE ROTARY IN PORT HASTINGS, N. S. I INTERNAV A Complete Line of Loran0Receivers for All Boatsmen Sydport Industrial Park, Point Edward 564-2043 CHETlCAMf INVERNESS Robin, Jones & Whitman, Inc. SUPPLIERS OF: Hardware • Clothing • Giftware Paint 6c Wallpaper ?? Building Supplies Souvenirs Inverness 258-2241 ?? Cheticamp 224-2022 ROBIN'S Serving Canadians Proudly for over 200 Years (81)
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