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For the past twenty-five years, my wife Holly and I have returned to Newfoundland to visit family and friends and to visit the many outstanding sites throughout the province. This year we drove and took one of our grandsons, a thirteen year old, on our three week adventure. We were driving on a rainy Sunday afternoon on the Viking Trail, about 150 kilometers south of St. Anthony. We were trying to avoid the many highway potholes and unfortunately we hit a deep one and had a tire blowout. We did not have the correct wheel wrench to remove the blown tire. A few very kind drivers stopped to assist but none had the correct tool either. To our pleasant surprise, a very kind gentleman named Brad Genge from nearby Anchor Point, going in the opposite direction from where we were heading, turned around and stopped to help us. He did not have the correct size socket wrench either, but he then turned around and went back to his home only to return again with his many tools. Finding the right size socket, he proceeded to change our tire. We tried to pay Brad for his services but he refused to accept anything and wished us a Happy Anniversary, which we were celebrating. The next day we went to Maurice's Service Centre in St. Anthony to get a new tire and they did not have one in stock, again the people at this service centre were so very kind and called ahead to a tire centre in Deer Lake which had the correct tire. Everyone we have come in contact with on our Newfoundland adventure have been so kind and considerate. We are so grateful to the local people who assisted us in our time of need. This is truly an example of the kindness and humanity of the Newfoundland people. Don Pottle Dunstable, Massachusetts
In 1973 while working in Gander with the Federal government, my wife (Newfoundland born) and our 20 month old daughter left Gander at 4PM on Christmas Eve en route to St. John's to spend the Christmas holidays with friends. At the time the weather in Gander was fine. However, by the time we reached Gambo it was starting to snow. When we reached Port Blandford, we were in a blizzard. We were about 10 kilometres past Clarenville when the windshield wipers on our 1972 Ford Fairline completely stopped. The first motorist heading west stopped. He told us that he would drive extremely slow, and for us to follow his taillights. When my windshield filled up with snow, blink my headlights and he would stop. This I did 4 or 5 times while en route back to Clarenville. We were extremely grateful to this motorist for being so helpful. When we arrived at the Holiday Inn around 8PM there were 7 or 8 other families checking in due to the blizzard at the time. Naturally, since it was Christmas Eve, there was only one desk clerk on duty. Santa Claus will always find the children, an the next morning around 5AM the halls and rooms came alive with the sound of happy children as Santa had arrived during the night. Christmas morning was sunny and beautiful. When we cleaned the snow off our car, I started the motor, turned on the wipers, and they were working perfectly, and did so for the next 2 years while we had that car. En route to St. John's we noticed several abandoned vehicles, and vehicles off the road. If our windshield wipers didn't stop the night before that could have been us. We feel there was some divine intervention from above on Christmas Eve. Happy holidays. Vince and Mary Gillis Bible Hill, NS
Living in Ramea
To Downhome Magazine Ramea is my hometown, I think the first man who came to the island was a man by the name of Thomas Janes, that was before I was born but he was still around when I was a small girl. He used to have a squeaky voice and sometimes kids would laugh at him and one day he heard them and was very upset. There was only cod fishing here then. There was about four skiffs but there was no fish plant then John Penny & Sons used to lay their fish and pay someone to salt it and then boats used to come from Portugal and pick it up, but at one time there were boats who used to take it to Portugal from here in fact. My bother had an uncle on the Edith Cavell who got lost on her, and I think everyone on her lost their lives. There were three brothers who came here from Portugal as stowaways but they never went back. There wasn't much to do here at that time but when they opened a fish plant here there was employment for anyone who wanted to work, there was only one grocery store here and a small cash shop as we called it then, but after the plant opened Ramea was a prosperous little island. There wasn't many people here but after the plant opened, people came here to work and built homes here. I think there was 1400 people here then but the plant closed down in 1982 and there wasn't much to do then so they had to go away and look for work elsewhere, I guess there is less than 500 here now. I don't have any old pictures because there wasn't any cameras then only the well-to-doers had them. Before the road from Burgeo to Corner Brook came to be we had coastal boats from Ramea to Port aux Basques; it took 7 hours. But after then we had the Summer and Sprinter, smaller boats but it only took about 4 1/2 hours or so to go to Port aux Basques. Some of the coastal boats were the first one I can remember was, the Glencoe then we had the Portia, Barhaven, Baccalieu, Burgeo and we went to Isle aux Morts on the Kyle in 1941. C Keeping
Good Friends by Bruce Roberts
I just read Bruce Roberts' article about a fine man, Bob MacDonald who passed away here in Miramichi this summer. I am a Newfoundlander as well and met Bob after he had retired at the Miramichi Mental Health Clinic while working there. He would drop into the office and there was immediate excitement as various staff members dropped by the admin area to say hello. I later knew him better as a member of a Dinner Club. Bruce's summary of Bob as "cultured, courteous and crazy, always in the right amounts and at the right times" sums him up perfectly. His lasting impression on me was made when our daughter was struck and killed by a car near our home several years ago. He and his wife, Anna, were so quietly supportive. I last saw Bob when General Romeo Dellaire was in town giving a speech at a dinner last year. Bob and Anna are fondly remembered by many on the 'Chi. RIP. They were indeed lovely people.
Farning in Newfoundland
I enjoyed your article about farming in Newfoundland. I was surprised to learn we once had 4000 farms here and now only have 10% of that figure. There must be a reason for that. Is it because small farms cannot compete with the large farms on the mainland? We have postage stamp size farms here, which means farmers here cannot have large equipment to cut down on labour costs. All farms have problems, like weather, weeds and insects, but one big problem now facing small farms is lack of available labour. No one wants to work anymore. Farms cannot find local workers to help harvest their crops. We have a short season to get crops out of the ground and not enough people to do so. Even with high unemployment figures, jobs go begging. It does no good to grow more crops if that means more crops left in the field to freeze and rot.
I chuckled at the submission written by Art Keeble (August 2019, Page 40). I had never heard the term used like this before as well, so I looked it up. What I found was very interesting: http://redefineit.blogspot.com/2008/10/october-25-november-1-word-of-week-slut.html I just learned something new, thanks to your magazine.
Cape Bonavista neglected
Recently a friend from St. John's took her holidays and came to visit myself and my husband. She had never visited Bonavista and really wanted to see the puffins in Ellison. So we took off for the day. First stop was inTrinity which she really enjoyed, then onto Ellison and finally to Bonavista. I have been there several times, but have never seen the lighthouse and surrounding grounds in such poor condition. Our friend was surprised that such a popular destination for people from all over the world would look so shabby. Signs were unreadable , the lighthouse needed paint badly, and the traditional fence around the animal shed had all but fallen down completely in the overgrown grass. It was very disappointing to find the site like this and were hoping the funds that are needed to improve its condition are found.
North West Brook