Page 76 - Charlie MacDonald, Taxicab Driver
ISSUE : Issue 52
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1989/8/1
So anyhow, one fellow said to me, "That'll fix them." What did (they) do? They went over--you know, hauled to the right. That's where I (had) wanted them. And they turned around again. And went down--you know, you've got to make a big turn on ice--you don't make a sharp turn. And where in the hell did they (go)--but up' the creek. And they went up the creek, and the four of them got drowned! (And after what you did to try to stop them.) Tried to stop them, yeah. Now, I never told that to anybody. I felt so bad. I felt so bad over that. Even those two men (with me). One of the men--I don't know what religion you are. But then, it was only two religions: Catholic and Pres? byterian. "Charlie," they said, "if we give you a couple of dollars, would you buy them a mass card? If any of them are Catholics." "Well," I said, "I'm not sure, gentlemen." And neither I was. Well, I hated to go over the harbour after that. And I had to because the men-- gamblers would come in, or somebody. A woman would come down from the hotel, "Charlie, get me to North Sydney, will you? You'll have to go on the ice." Well, you'd take her over, and that's it. We were getting $6 to go over there--10 minutes--at that time. And if you had a carload, it was $10. Bay Natural Foods HOIVIE l' BAKING "For Your Health's Sake Buy Natural Foods' Great Selection of Vitamins and Minerals Beer- and Wine-Making Supplies Bulk Herbs and Spices by the Ounce or Pound C. O. D. Orders Accepted by Mail or Phone Glace Bay 35 Commercial Street 849-4387 Sydney Across from K-Mart, toward Schwartz 539-6767 THE HARVEST BIN 222 Charlotte St., Sydney 564-8461 (What are your years as a cab driver in Cape Breton? When did you start?) Started in March 11, '31. And I quit August 30, 1988. (Charlie points to a plaque.) That was my 50-year anniversary. ("To Charlie MacDonald, 50 years service, cab driver. March 11, '31, to March 11, '81. Royal Bank of Canada.") Fifty years. (But of course, that didn't stop you, 50 years.) No. I went 8 more years. But as I told you, cab work was different the last 20 years than what it was the first 30 years, 35 years. You'd get home. Like my poor sister used to say when I was staying with her on Campbell Street. I'd get home, say, 2 o'clock. Well, I had a phone at my bed. I slept upstairs in the attic, so I wouldn't be waking them. At that house, then, in that year, I could almost come up to the second floor out? side, and then go in the door, and then I had the little stair up to the attic, and I wouldn't wake them up. And then I'd be probably just after getting, into bed when the phone would be ringing, "Charlie, come and get me. You know where I'm at." Well, you'd go again. That'd be it. Well, usually then--black rum. You'd take a little bit of black rum, cold water, and sugar--and go. And most times, a "Wake-up" tablet. You'd take one of them with your drink of rum and cold water and sugar. (Lots'of caffeine in it.) Holy God, you'd go again half the day. Wouldn't bother you at all. That's the way you got along then. You'd be only home probably an hour when you'd have to go again. A lot of people, gamblers and all them--they couldn't de? pend on any other cab in the city. The other fellows went home at midnight. They were coming up in years. Well, I was a young fellow, and at the hotel. Sometimes instead of going home, if I'd--oh, I got a call at 3 o'clock or half past Tor 2-- I'd sneak over on the chesterfield at the hotel. And the clerk'd come over, "Char- COMPLETE INDUSTRIAL SUPPLIES FOR CONSTRUCTION ?? INDUSTRY ?? HOMEOWNERS Phone 539-0631 Miller industrial Sales Complete Line of Hydraulic Hoses & Fittings • Honda Power Equipment Hand Tools, Saws, & Shovels ?? Stihl Power Saws • Rainwear Industrial V-Belts • Rope-Poly & Wirerope • Complete Paint Supplies 803 GRAND LAKE ROAD ?? SYDNEY Sales & Service Cape Breton Mental Health Centre Main Location: 1st Floor, Cape Breton Hospital, Sydney River Satellite Clinics Serve These Areas: Services: Psychotherapy ~ Individual Counselling ~ Marriage & Family Counselling Group Therapy ~ Consultation to Agencies, Schools, etc. Drug Therapy - Forensic Assessment - Psychological Testing Parenting ~ Children's Services North Sydney ~ Glace Bay ~ New Waterford ~ Neil's Harbour Ingonish ~ Cheticamp ~ Baddeck ~ St. Peter's Referrals accepted from all sources. You can even refer yourself. Please Call 562-3202 or 562-3110 or 562-3333
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