The Night We Burned Uncle Archie's Boat

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Jan 06, 2021 12:11 PM

By Carl Smith
Hant’s Harbour, NL


Uncle Archie had a boat
The Queen Mary was her name
And every spring to make her float
He tarred her every seam

Year after year the planks grew thick
With layers of tar applied
And this continued year by year
Until Uncle Archie died

The boat that Uncle Archie owned
Which never sprung a leak
On Bonfire Night in ’49
Was under Jack Stickley’s flake

Someone who knew about the boat
Suggested we take a look
When out of the dark the boat appeared
As they rowed her in the brook

As soon as her keel did touch the slip
A crowd did gather round
And in the twinkling of an eye
We had her on dry ground

O what a bonfire she would make
And most of us agreed
To haul her out the high road
And burn her in the meade

At first the hauling it was good
From the slipway to the road
But then some said, “We’re going home”
And left us with the load

With fewer hands to haul her out
It was an awful skote
But we couldn’t leave her in the road
Cause ’twas Uncle Archie’s boat

So we pulled and pushed and hauled some more
Until our hands were sore
Then finally dragged her on the bank
Behind Jim Loder’s store

It seemed to us the ideal place
A bonfire for to start
But for us to burn the Queen Mary
Required a lot of heart

We knew that once we got her lit
The tar would burn like oil
So all the wood that we could find
We threw upon the pile

Some paper and some blasty boughs
Is what we had in mind
The paper we could easily get
The boughs were hard to find

So we searched around in the dark
And did the best we could
And for our boughs we cut the tops
Off of Sammy Loder’s wood

When all was good and ready
The boat we gathered round
While someone tried to light her
We never made a sound

At first ’twas just a glimmer
And then a flame appeared
And soon the smoke from the burning tar
Literally filled the air

The sparks they flew into the air
And bits of tar did float
Upon the waters of the meade
From Uncle Archie’s boat

The heat from the fire was so intense
Near the fire we could not stay
While the flame lit up the darkness
As if it were in the day

Some said they heard Uncle Archie’s voice
When the flames were shooting high
While others claimed they saw an image
Of Uncle Archie in the sky

The burning of Uncle Archie’s boat
On that November morn
Brought memories of when he used to fish
Out on the Mother Corn

While times have changed and Uncle Archie’s gone
I would have you note
We’ll never forget that night we burned
Uncle Archie’s boat

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