Page 46 - From "John R. & Son" - A Story in Tessie Gillis' book, The Promised Land
ISSUE : Issue 62
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1993/1/1
ing to jail! He had no intention of spending even an hour in jail! And he didn't It was (his son) John J. who went to jail. Theresa didn't like it when John R. ordered his son to do his time, but in her heart she knew that John J. wouldn't be missed around the farm: and she knew that she'd have to work in the fields herself, if her husband was away. The son resented losing his freedom, but never once realized that at last his father had found a way to make him earn his keep. John J. had been courting on the sly for several months, not in the Glen, but two villages over, and the loneliness of jail planted tiioughts of marriage in his mind. Time dragged on for the young man. As soon as he'd done his time, he high-tailed it over to Molly's village. He took one of the bottles of whiskey he had hidden away as a present for her father. Old Man MacLachlan took the bottle that John J. brought and retired to another room, leaving the young people alone. The minute the door closed John J. came to the point. "Are ye going to marry me or not? I've wasted a whole year now traipsing back and forth, and if ye're not fixin' to marry me, I might as well know now, and I'll not be bothered." Molly had a suitcase packed when John J. arrived. She TVust in our stars! • *** GREAT FOOD lORTH STAR INNl NORTH SYDNEY CapeBero, Nova Scotia's Friendly Seaport - Gateway to Newfoundland I Attention Travellers to Cape Breton & Newfoundland k 75 Rooms - Kings, Standards, * Indoor Pool and Whirlpool Suites • Kids free with parents - k Luxury Suite - Jaccuzzi Bath Seniors Discount k Harbour View - Air conditioned * Special day rates for ferry k Fishery Restaurant travellers * St. Pierre Rum Bar 100,000 WELCOMES AT THE BIG RED ROOF Located near the Newfoundland Ferry and Northside Industrial Park (Exit 21, Highway 105) Tel.: (902) 794-8581 39 Forrest Street. Fax:(902)794.4628 ,orth's?dn'e?; n's. B2A 3M3 d planned to to the States with her sister. She'd no idea what the States were like, and was go? ing just for the fun of it. Molly made her explanation and John J. left, not at all pleased. Neither was her father. He liked the idea of having a son-in-law who could provide him with a bottle of whiskey every now and then. Molly thought no more of the proposal and got a ride to Wrexham to buy her ticket. But before she was due to leave, the old man called her downstairs and instructed her to accept John J. That day everything was settled. A good-natured girl, Molly agreed to her father's wishes. John R. was neither pleased nor displeased when he heard of the com? ing wedding. He just went about his work as usual, but Theresa thought of nothing else. Neither of them gave a thought to the ages of the young people. John J. was barely nineteen, and Molly was just seventeen. Two days before the wedding, an unseasonal blizzard blew itself out overnight and left the Glen covered with drifts as high as ten feet. All the plans had been made: the bans had been published, invitations sent out, the reception arranged, the priest engaged, and the confes? sions attended to. Everything was in order except the license! Even the most optimistic could not believe that the snowdrifts block? ing the roads would disappear in just two days; and Molly, who had been spending most of her time at the Campbells, had to get home be? fore the wedding. Her dress was at tiie Campbells, it's tine; but tiiere was the small matter of obtaining her parents' written consent, and the law clearly stated that no marriage license would be issued to a minor without the written consent of parent or guardian. The young couple set out in the sleigh. To avoid the worst of the snowdrifts, they took the long way around to the highway. Just the other side of Cromarty, they turned off along a dirt road. Two lines of fence posts sti'etched before them in the unmarked snow like guide posts on an airfield. After digging the mare out tiiree times, John J. had had enough. "It's only foolishness chasing back and forth taking chances on them roads. Just for names on a paper. Who'd know the difference any? ways. Ye got any paper in yer suitcase?" Molly's fingers, stiff with cold, wormed through her meager belong? ings and pulled out a small tablet with a few lined pages between the covers. She handed them to John J. "Pencil?" Molly dug around again and found the butt of a pencil. He passed the reins to Molly; and, using the suitcase as a table, he bared his reddened hands to write. When he finished the letter, he signed Molly's father's name and carefully read it all through. "There! if anyone says anything, I'll jist say your father can't write English and I wrote it." He handed Molly tiie tablet, tiien hastily snatched it back. 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If the snow's gonna hold fer tomorrow night, we'll leave
Cape Breton's Magazine