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Page 62 - Donald Ross - A Poet in Baddeck

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1994/6/1 (161 reads)

ing, and she'd come out at 10 o'clock. • But that -''SL was in Feb- 3s?' ruary. I ' • ' • ' got between ?'5 3 and 4 " " hundred that time. But you : know, what you had to > do then. The I next winter '' I cut pulp And then you were get? ting $12 a cord. I used to have 10 cords every month, $120. I kept the house going then. But when you stop to think today, look back.... But, you had to do it. There was no welfare. We had a little farm. I had a cow or two. (Did you work away at all?) No, I worked from home. It's a funny thing. I used to go out there. And the nearest person to me was our own home, and that was 3/4 of a mile. I was out to the foot of the moun? tain. I'd go out--that's one of the last years I cut. I'd take my dinner. And it'd be that cold at dinnertime, I hated to stop long enough for dinner. It was that damn cold. And I cut out there all winter. But the chance a person would take out there alone with a bucksaw. I look back on it today, you know. I don't think I'd do it today. I'd be alone. Not a soul. And I was the only one around at that time that worked in the woods. The rest, was too much snow for them.... You know that's one difference between the recession in the thirties and ones that are around today. Everybody had a small farm. I remember hearing Sandy MacRae say? ing one time, he said, "You can't starve a fellow," he said, "that's got a small farm." Everybody then had their own pota? toes. Every fall they'd have all kinds of potatoes and carrots and turnips, store it all winter. They'd have a dry beef. And every one of them had one or two hogs that they'd salt down for the winter. Fish, you could get it for next to nothing. But today! And at that same time, a person in the country, if he had a cousin over in Sydney that he thought was having hard times, he'd send him a carcass or a half a carcass of beef on the Aspy.... I didn't start to really write poetry till I was at the museum (The Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Park, in Baddeck). 1 used to hoe in the garden--I'd think of something. And I'd make like a verse. And I'd go to the edge of the woods and there was a stump there, and I found an old piece of tin. And I used to put that on my lap. And I've got pieces here on pieces of calendars, and one on a piece of towel? ling! But from then on. And then there were two summers--I worked at the museum, but I didn't work in the wintertime. I went to Boston. My sister Flo had a big house up there and she was alone, so Jes? sie and I went up. I did quite a bit of writing up there. And, from then on. But only for that woman (Mrs. Lukas), they'd be still down in the basement. But do you know what? Whoever is around in 50 or 60 years from now--those books might be more valuable than they are today. But I think writing poetry you've got to have a little of an evil mind! (You think?) A lot! Some of the funniest poems that I wrote are down in the cellar. Donald Ross has four books of poetry • all available. They in? clude his poems, and a selection of his father Vyilliam Ross's work. Each book sells for $7.95, and can be found in selected stores throughout Cape Breton • especially in Baddeck. Our thanks to Catherine Anne Fuller of Baddeck for her help with this article. For more about George Bartlett, see "Isabel Bartlett Remembers George" in Issue 43 of Cape Breton's Magazine. [SUPERIOR FENCING LTD: Commercial 4 Residential 4 Industrial INSTALLATIONS and REPAIRS Fully Guaranteed Chain Link Fencing Custom Decks Wooden Fencing Retaining Walls Your One-Stop Fencing Supplier! 539-2027 AFFORDABLE QUALITY WORKMANSHIP We want you to go away. 181 Charlotte Street 53M800 MavflowerMaU 5640600 f' Maritime Mariin Travel We Know Travel Best.
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