Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 52 > Page 63 - Max Basque, Whycocomagh Part 2

Page 63 - Max Basque, Whycocomagh Part 2

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1989/8/1 (149 reads)

we saw kids playing jacks on the street there. And just about from here to that case there, there was a corpse laying on the curbstone. And these kids, they were on this side of the sidewalk, playing jacks. They were not paying any attention to this corpse laying there. I saw a truck coming, just like any old truck. Throwing those bodies on top of this cart, the cart of this truck. I asked a Chinaman who was working aboard the ship--the stevedores. Oh, some, of course, they were real friendly. A lot of guys came aboard and wanted to look at their teeth, that they were dentists. If you'd let them go, they'd open your mouth! And, some selling glasses. And these guys work? ing, I asked them, "All these trucks, they say there's"--there were some English newspapers. I said, "Where are they taking all these bodies they pick up?" He said, "They take them to a fertilizer factory." And he named the place. He just got that far, and a sort of a foreman, he spoke real fast to him in Chinese. And this fel? low changed his--"Oh, I don't know. I think they go out and burn them." But he started telling me that. I'm telling one of the officers about it. He said, "Well," he said, "he started telling you the truth. And I suppose the other lad told him to shut up." Take them over to the fertilizer factory and make fertilizer! Very likely that's what happened. That same place, in Shanghai, we were told not to go ashore alone. Another guy went ashore alone--I don't know where in the world he was from. Never did find out his right name. He called himself Tex Mar? shall. I asked*him one day, "What's your right name?" "Tex--that's my right name-- Tex." He was quite a husky man. He was bald-headed, but a young man. A real hu? sky, well-built man. He went ashore alone. And he had false teeth, much like I have now. He came back with just his shorts. Not a stitch of clothes--no socks, no shoes, no teeth. And the other Chinamen-- the Chinamen said, "He's lucky!" He said, "I've seen guys come aboard with nothing. At least they left him his shorts!" Oh, this was quite a spot, that Shanghai. Shanghai. 236 Townsend St., Sydney. N.S. BIP 5E8 Phone 539-4566 Limited Edition Collectors Plates & Fine Giftware BATTERED WOMEN ... AND YOUR CHILDREN. IF YOU NEED HELP, CALL: 539-2945 TRANSITION HOUSE (Max, on another subject, I see books of Micmac stories--stories of Kluskap, Bad? ger, things like that. And I wonder wheth? er, when you were a child, these stories were really told to you. Whether they were part of your family's life or not.) Oh, yes! Father really could tell some great stories. My grandfather, anyway, on my mother's side. I know--for instance, when we lived in Millview. Everything would be quiet, be ready to go to bed. Over at Grandfather's place. And somebody'd say-- well, it's a signal for somebody to tell a story. Ke'skw a. (Which means something like. "Once upon a time.") Everything just went quiet. Ke'skw a. That means that somebody would tell a story. And Grandfa? ther would tell--I wish to goodness I'd marked some of them down, or remembered. All the weird stories about the Badger and about the Rabbit. And even about the Frog and the Wild Geese. About the Wild Geese and the Turtle. How the Turtle got in friends with the Wild Geese, a couple of the younger Wild Geese. He said he'd like to go south, too. He said, "Where the sun's shining all year round." Said, "We'll take you down." So they started taking him. He said, "If we get a stick, could you hang onto that stick. We'll fly south, and you hang onto the stick with your mouth. We'll take you down south." And, stories like that.... And about how there's a name for a bird when it flies, and kind of glides a bit. And how these two Geese, doing the same i ENTERTAfflMENTCENf'' Joe's Warehouse The Food Emporium Cape Breton's Largest and Finest Restaurant Specializing in Aged Prime Cuts of Roast Beef and Steaks and One of the Most Unique Salad Bars in the Maritimes CABARETJ Live Entertainment Niglitly! 424 Charlotte Street 539-6686 539-0408 RESTAURANT LOUNGE D BANQUET FACILITIES AVAILABLE D
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