Page 67 - With Archie Neil Chisholm or Margaree Forks
ISSUE : Issue 42
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1986/6/1
With Archie Neil Chisholm of Margaree Forks This story that I'm going to tell you has a slight background. It's a story that I will tell concerning myself. Part of it is not maybe as good as it should be' But it starts back when I was about 11 or 12 years of age--I learned to play the fiddle. My brother (Angus Chisholm) and I started playing at dances when we were about 14. I was badly crippled, polio in both legs. But I still managed to get to all the lo? cal dances. And we were, to say the least, quite popular as young fellows. We'd go and we'd play. There was no money involved, but we had a lot of good times. But the one habit I did acquire, which I wish I hadn't, was the fact that I was a- ble to drink quite freely, and it sort of acted as an equalizer for me. The result was that I grew up with that very great ap? petite for a good time, for dancing, and for drink. Much to my father and mother's worry. Because the other boys were very physical, all my brothers, but I wasn't. And for me to walk out, or to be out alone in a snowstorm, possibly with a horse and sleigh or something like that--they were very, very much worried. So it got to the point where I used to come home in pretty bad shape at times. Now this is actually as it happened. But one particular night a friend of mine and I were driving home, and he dropped me off at my own house. And I managed to get into the house all right. But the next day I met him, and he asked me a rather strange question. He asked me, "Who was the chap who walked in from the gate to the front door of your house last night?" I laughed at him, because I figured that he was putting me on. And he described a man--tall, and dressed in a certain way-- which immediately struck me as being the identical image of my father, who was then dead, had passed away. I figured that pos? sibly he was just making this up. But on three different occasions other peo? ple had told me that they were seeing this particular man walking with me whenever I would leave a car. And it was particularly in the wintertime. So one night I came in? to my own house, and my two brothers were in the living room. One of my brothers o- pened the door for me, and looked over my shoulder, and didn't say anything. But the next morning he told me that my father had followed me in to the door, that he was positive that he recognized him. This I a- gain assumed to be just a ploy to try to scare me into not drinking any more. But time went on, a year or so after that. I was at a dance, a place called Cheticamp. And we left Cheticamp in a very bad snow? storm. And I got home to my own driveway. I got out of the car, I started in to the house, home. My last recollection was of sort of falling down in the snow. And I made no attempt whatsoever to get'up. But somehow during the night my brother woke up, and he woke his wife up, and he said, "Archie Neil he came out, out his assistance night. is someplace out there." And and he picked me up. And with- I would have died that A 1 didn't speak very much about it for a couple of days afterwards, and then I asked him, I said, "Rod, how is it that you were able to come out and find me at 3 o'clock in the morning in a snowstorm when you were supposedly sound asleep?" And he looked at me for a moment and then l'e said, "Well, if I tell you, you won't believe me." I said, "Yes, I will." He said, "My father appeared at the side of my bed and told me that you were out there, and I went out. And," he said, "otherwise, you would have been dead." So, a few things happening like that made me decide that I was through with drinking. (Now is that really what made you decide to stop drinking?) No, actually, it wasn't. What made me decide to drop it was the fact that I was on an Easter safari with a group of people, and I came home to my boarding house. I was boarding at St. Jo- (67)
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