Page 27 - Lakeboats on the Bras d'Or
ISSUE : Issue 15
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1976/12/1
after him. Saturday and no school. And that drove him crazy altogether. But we finally got him tied to a pole, got him corralled in a side street off Townsend. Jack MacDonald and his father and a fellow named Frazier MacKillam got him in the back of the truck and got him home. But he got quite a running for his life. His first time in town and I don't think he'd forget it either. That was our day with that steer. Then we had to come back a- board. Put on tender • 12 ton of coal • and load. And the wages was desperate small. One dollar a day. 30 dollars a month. 9 months of the year. 270 dollars pay for the year. It was a lot of work and you had to do it fast. You had to keep tne boat cxean. Keep her painted. You didn't have too many idle days. But the food was good. They fed us won? derful. Only for that we'd have been in the grave long ago. Lots of grub. All kinds of it. One time we were getting tired of meat and we said to the cook to get us some good salt herring. So he got it for us • one evening in Sydney • oh, it was beautiful herring. New potatoes. A.J. Young came in and went in the galley and he combed the cook down to the heels. He said, "Don't be feeding them men fish. They're working too hard. Give them lots of good sound grub, meat and eggs. Don't be feeding them that old fish." Well, the cook got after us. So forget about herr? ing for a while. So coming into Whycoco? magh one night we got after him for herr? ing, "I guess we'll be safe enough," he said. "The boss won't show around." I guess we were just all through when in walked the boss and his wife and his son and his wife. I guess we were just lucky. Tom Vatcher was a very good cook. At night when you finished working there'd be a big ice chest and he'd get cold roast beef or cold ham and he'd fry up some eggs and all kinds of cold milk. Yes, it was just everything you wanted. And dur? ing the Depression everything was pretty tough. There was a lot of people that didn't have all that stuff. Supposing we got no wages • we'd be willing to stay just to get what we'd eat. It was really tough here. People don't realize. I remem? ber manys the good feed, the dinners and suppers that Vatcher gave to a lot of poor fellows used to come down to the wharf and you'd know they'd be hungry and they'd ask you • just desperate in the need. A lot of them hoboing, looking for work, you know. George Morrison; ive ran moonlight excur? sions. Get a big crowd • 3 or 400 out at one time on the boat • go to Glace Bay and run out off of Glace Bay. One night we arrived in from Whycocomagh and they told the captain they wanted to go out for a moonlight excursion. He said we came through too dirty a work today. But we were told to go out. iiiell, we stood an awful pounding going out. When he got way out he turned her sideways and let her go at it. Roll away. They went up above, started pleading with the captain. "Aw, no, it's a fine night out here. We can stand it." We stopped engines and every? thing. Let her roll. They damned near died. Michael: Yeah, they were crying. And what a mess to clean up with puke and ice cream and pop. George: And remember the time coming back I think there were 5 out of 300 able to move. Struck a north? easter and they were all laying down on top of one another. I remember one time you couldn't put your head out the window, something would come down on you. And there was this fellow • ah, he was down on the floor dying. Throwing up. Just abso? lutely dying. A girl came by and he said, "Aw, my God, would you come here and lay down and die with me?" George Morrison Once we went down Boulardarie Centre there. Captain said we'll tie up at New Campbellton. So I started to burn down the fires. But this fellow • he had about 15 head of cattle aboard • he tells the captain it wasn't so bad, he could go a- _round in a canoe. Captain said, "You'll wish you were in a canoe or something else before we turn Cranberry. Boys, bar up the windows forward." Well, we started up and it wasn't long before we were out? side • water started coming in and people were down and sick and water put out the fire in the galley stove and there was sheep in the galley and sheep in the dining room. When we got around Cranberry this fellow was on his knees in the smoking room, up against one of the desks praying. Captain asked him was that a good canoe he came around in today. "Oh, my God," he said, "it's my prayers that saved you." And when the boat would roll this way the sheep water would roll, and when it rolled that way it would come up and strike him in the ass and strike him in the face. "Oh, my God, it was my prayers that saved you." But he never said another word about tying up after that. Ciipe Breton's Mag>ziiie/27
Cape Breton's Magazine