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Merry Christmas to Newfoundland
In all of the years that I have received Downhome I have not expressed my thanks for the magazine in general, or the absolutely beautiful calendar I receive every December.
I left Newfoundland on New Year's Eve 1964 but I still call it home, and enjoy every article and bit of news I can get. I don't visit as often as I did, but my heart is always there. Once a Newfoundlander, always a Newfoundlander. There's no place on earth like it!!!. But you all know that!!!
Kay (Powell) Ivins
Ed Brought Back Memories
Ed Smith's column in the December issue "a gift to last" brought me to tears as it made me think of my own special Christmas involving skates.
I don't remember my exact age, but I was probably around 12 as well. I was using old hand me down skates. I tried on a new pair when I was at a store with Mom and Dad, but didn't get them because they were a bit pricey and Dad didn't make a lot of money fishing.
We always opened our gifts on Christmas Eve, and we did that year. I don't remember what my parents had for me. I got up the next morning and went to get my stocking. There was a wrapped gift under the tree with my name on it. I opened it and it was the skates I had tried on.
These days kids get all kinds of expensive gifts and few seem to appreciate them. Well I'm telling you, I appreciated those skates more than I can say.
The Tickle Pond Cove incident
This refers to an article in your Feb 2016 publication about the incident of the horse (Kitty) going through the ice, and her rescue at Tickle Cove Pond.
In 1954 I was the relief agent/telegrapher in the Railway station at Princeton. I boarded with a family named Prince. The senior male in that family was Alf. I believe he was 81 or 82 then. He hauled the mail by horse and cart or sleigh from there to Kings Cove for years. His son John came home from Lake Louise and purchased a 1950 Fargo pick up and took over where his father left off. He told me many, many stories including reference to the incident at Tickle Cove Pond. He had passed by the spot hundreds of times and related it as if he had been there.
Incidentally he had a grandson John, whom I babysat many times and who is still a fairly renowned singer in Canada. Maybe my claim to fame.
Keep up the good work
Just a short note to let you know how much we enjoy the Downhome. Our daughter Sharlyn Ricketts and granddaughter Alyson gave us our first subscription for a Christmas gift when they moved to NFLD from Manitoba. Love the many stories, photos, recipes and especially "Say What." NFLD is such a beautiful province and the people are too friendly. I visit every year and so enjoy your many parks, especially Bowring Park. Keep up the good work.
Some years ago when I worked in a St. John's nursing home we had a patient for whom I felt a strong bond. She was a cheerful outport woman who had spent the best part of her life caring for her family.
However her body had now become frail and weak, and her mind had gone back to the days when she was a young married woman and her children were babies.
Each day she wore her apron. It was long with a bib and made of strong white material. These aprons were worn by many women in Newfoundland at one time. They were home sewn and often made out of flour sacks.
The day came when she could no longer get out of bed and the apron was taken off, forever.
As she left this world and her work worn hands were still at last, I stood by her bedside and thought of her life, and the lives of some many like her, my own grandmothers among them. Strong, proud, resourceful, hardworking Newfoundland women, caring for their families, helping anybody who needed them and expecting nothing in return.
My glance fell on the old apron, lying on the chair, and I thought of how it had been with her through so many events in her life.
All the housework, cooking countless meals, cleaning with none of the conveniences we have today. Sewing and knitting clothes for her family, patching and mending, making do with very little.
She wore it working in her garden and on the fish flake, and tending her animals about which she often spoke with pride, especially her sheep and the warm wool they provided.
It also witnessed many happy events. The marriages, christening and "times" in her big kitchen.
It was with her through many long hours at night in the isolated place where she lived, in her own house or the house of another woman, perhaps waiting for a new life to come into the world, rejoicing in the happiness of that event.
It was with her as she witnessed others slipping away and comforting those who mourned.
I imagine the old apron being with her when she rocked her children. It was with her during the anxiety that was hers when one of them fell sick and the only medical help available was what she could provide, and it was there as well, when one of them were taken from her.
She wore it on stormy nights, watching the wild sea, and wondering if its fury would claim her men folk somewhere out there on the fishing grounds, and perhaps it was used to wipe away tears when a beloved child had to leave to find work far away from home.
after her death, her family came and as was often the case told us to dispose of her belongings as we saw fit.
I could not let the old apron go. I claimed it for my own.
Nowadays, I wear it doing many of the same things she did, although not as well as she would have done them, I'm sure, but when I take my grandson on my lap and he rests against the old apron, I can feel her loving spirit, blessing us with comfort and peace.