Our Echo
Title, story type, location, year, person or writer
 
Add a Post
View Posts
Popular Posts
Hall of Fame
Projects
Visitors
Contests
Search

The Lad from Pointe de Bute historical fiction Part 2

Story ID:11424
Written by:Richard Laurent. Provencher (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:Retired
Story type:Family History
Location:Truro Nova Scotia Canada
Year:17
Person:Esther & Richard Provencher
View Comments (0)   |   Add a Comment Add a Comment   |   Print Print   |     |   Visitors
A Historical Fiction for Young Readers 8-12






THE LAD
FROM POINTE DE BUTE Part 2

By
Esther and Richard Provencher

COPYRIGHT:

© 2014-16 by Esther and Richard Provencher
Dester Publications. All rights reserved.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

This story, one day in the young life of John Trenholm Jr. is written for Esther, my wife born in Cape Spear, New Brunswick to the family of Thornton Ogden and Dorothy (Allen) Ogden on their 96 acre Cape Spear farm along the shores of Northumberland Strait, New Brunswick.

In memory of the Yorkshire Trenholm(e) family and their descendents:
John; sons, Edward, Matthew and John Jr. who purportedly sailed from Liverpool, England March 16, 1772 on the Duke of York, arriving in Acadia (Nova Scotia) May 21, 1772.

The setting for this novel is the Cape Chignecto area of Nova Scotia later called, New Brunswick.

PROLOGUE:

Personal Diary of John (Johnny) Trenholm Jr. Inverma Farm, Westmorland County New Brunswick, January 3, 1827.

…So long ago, the summer of my twelfth year, first day of July, year of our Lord, 1774 was filled with memories of a young boy hurrying to complete his regular morning chore.

That day, a magnificent blue sky, dotted with clouds like bits of peppermint remains locked in vivid detail within my thoughts. Carefree ramblings and the innocence of youth continue to leap with joy from the hidden spaces of my mind.

They allowed this aging and frail man many hours of joyful remembrance, and helped me to overcome difficult periods in my life. Often when I think of that enchanting day, I merely have to close this diary, lean back, shut my eyes. And…ah yes, remember.

Summer was surely a plan made in Heaven, and filled to fullness like a sail upon the wind. And such was my frame of mine on that most prosperous day of boyhood times.

It was a happy occasion to dally along and remember being in the center of a gathering of families, and listening to the latest tidbit of news. All came from the surrounding countryside to our home.

Da had much pleasure in his heart for those special occasions, as area farmers held high respect for his wisdom…and long speech. Yes, I still remember young Mattie standing by the oak tree. It was a blessing to have such a fine companion to share my thoughts. She was indeed someone who understood the adventures that ran rampant in my mind.

Mattie was like a sister I never had. Yet, she was more than a sister. And my heart acted strangely around her. Little did I know I be courting her one-day. During those long ago memories, I did not realize how quickly I must begin to grow into a man. And that my world although full of imagination and childish moments, was preparing to roar like a lion.

There were times of distress, which caused that boy of my past to turn to loved-ones in order to overcome my heart-felt fears. I also learned much from my friend, Monsieur Robert Mercier how terrible the tragedy of the Seven Years War had on everyone.

He said, “Les Acadiens tried to hide wherever possible to avoid being rounded up for deportation.” And after a period of exile, those that did return discovered English settlers on land Acadians had developed for over a century. It was a most difficult time to wonder if my home, Inverma Farm, was such a one, that we may occupy land once owned by others. Was it possible? I asked myself on many occasions back then.

But I must cease from my notations and carry on with this diary. That day from long ago began, fifty-four years ago, when…

PART TWO OF THE LAD FROM POINTE DE BUTE BY E & R PROVENCHER


TWELVE

A boy must become a man before he can truly be a boy. It does sound roundabout, however I discovered a truth within this thought.

My tears did not shame me the day I cried as I listened to Monsieur Robert Mercier’s. I was treated like a man when my older friend shared the sad tale about his family.

What torment he must have carried all those years. It was a most frightful experience to hear his words of sorrow.

Yet, it was my glory to have been able to be told these things, helping me understand the new land to which I was now firmly rooted.

And I was pleased that Da trusted this man to have an honest statement for a boy to digest. The older man spoke about the burnings, and had even showed me where some buildings once stood.

I closed my eyes to that sadness when I visited old foundations and clumps of blackened beams.
Many of them were overgrown with willows and clumps of brush. It seemed a fitting way to hide memories of anger from the past.

It was a strain to think how proudly some of the farms must have stood so long ago. And I wondered how Les Acadiens felt to have wasted that work of many years.

“Mr. Mercier,” I had asked, “exactly what happened to your family?”

“War is not very pleasant, mon garcon,” he replied. “I was just a simple farmer and not interested in…how you say, politics?”

I motioned my head to the side as tears fell upon my cheeks.

“How you feel my pain, little one.” the man observed, placing an arm around my shoulder.

Da had never given me a hug, feeling it was also not manly to shed tears nor act as a wee little child. But, I was a child, not yet thirteen and watching two brothers ride to somewhere, perhaps a distant part of the land. We had come here to settle in a new country.

And now they were off to be trained for war.

My adult friend was telling me about a time when there was an abundance of much unhappiness.

Would such times return once more? Was a painful thought my mind had to contain?

“This is a land of peace and prosperity,” Da had said. He spoke those fine words to visiting families in our very own Inverma Farm.

The same one we had taken, no ‘stolen’ from someone else, I mused. I now knew the truth of the matter. And it was a shaking of my inner self to realize we were thieves.

Yes, an Acadian family once lived here and then barely had time to run for their lives.

Everything they had worked for had to be abandoned. Or they would forfeit their very existence? And to think those rounded up were placed on ships and sent to different parts of the world.
How could any human beings do such sad things? I wondered.

The despiteful idea almost burst my head. But, it was good to hear of these events from my friend. If only Da could understand the tender heart of his youngest young son. Perhaps this was the reason he wanted this man to act as a guardian and to teach me about the history of this land.

After a few moments of time, I brushed off moistened eyes and looked squarely at Monsieur Robert Mercier. Once again I asked, “What happened to the rest of your family?” I knew it was a bold thrust, as a sword blade to the midsection.

“You must tell me. Did they have to go on a ship too? How come you never talk about them?” My questions shot forward as cannon balls firing from a Man-o-War. Unexpectedly the man simply stood up, brushing off his shirt and trousers.

“I must go soon,” he said quietly from our back yard. I was certain my friend wiped tears from his own eyes, as he prepared to leave. “It is my will to return to the village while there is still a shaft of light. There are things I must do.”

If only Monsieur Mercier could understand how truly sorry I felt. I was just a boy, yet his words did grieve my spirit to the very marrow of my bones.

Da surely understood the need for this older man to talk to such a young lad as I. Perhaps he already heard the tale about Monsieur Robert Mercier and knowing the man had a need to share his past with me.

“Perhaps you remind Robert of his son, Bastien,” Da whispered to me one late night.

It was a heavy burden to accept those tragic words from Monsieur Robert as I leaned against my favorite tree. Then the man sobbed quietly, retelling more tales from his troubled past.

“I was blinded by a need to escape,” he said. “To run away, anywhere there was a place to hide from English muskets.”

Listening carefully, I learned much more about the man’s son.

“Bastien was his name and just ten years of age when he died. I held him close to me as we tried to escape the soldiers,” Monsieur Mercier said.

“But then I turned, as my wife and daughter cried out in despair. I knew the musket ball had hit the boy, since he suddenly slumped in my arms. His blood was sweet tasting as it splashed against my face and down the front of my shirt.”

My pounding heart could barely listen and I had to turn away for a moment. Did Bastien even look like me? I wondered.

“What became of your wife and little girl?” I dared to ask.

Monsieur Mercier’s voice could barely be heard, as he cried out in despair. “I discovered from friends’ years later, my dear femme and child passed away during the ship’s long journey to Louisiana. It was dysentery, they said.”

“What a terrible hardship for you,” I cried out. For a few moments, my tears came as a sky emptying itself of rain. Then Monsieur gently lifted my chin and wiped my eyes with his bandana.

“On this farm, I buried my son,” he said. “When Bastien was at rest, I quickly made my escape.”

“Where…where did you bury your boy?” I inquired.

“One day, I promise to tell you, petit garcon,” Monsieur Mercier said. Then he stood up, waved and strode quickly towards the woods.

“Ta-Rah!” I called loudly as he disappeared from sight.

I knew there was a very old path in that direction now used mostly by deer. My daring feet had tramped the same good earth where wily hooves covered the damp ground. It could be the burial ground where Bastien lay, I surmised.

Mattie and I must explore that area, I promised myself.

And we did have a long talk about this matter.

THIRTEEN

The thought that Inverma farm once belonged to my friend Robert was almost unbearable.

It was a burden of information that must be shared with Da and Mum. Would Da believe the details of what Monsieur Mercier spoke to me? Did Bastien even watch from the edge of this property line and gaze fondly at the trees as I?

I pretended to be that boy, not much younger than myself. He probably leaned on this log fence, feeling the wood brace roughly against his chest.

Summer was passing slowly, and soon it would be Autumn-time. Then red and yellow maple leaves would curl up and windy currents toss the branches to and fro.

I watched a daring Finch bobbing, much like a cork on the ocean waves, its tiny feet grasping a slim branch. I began to feel a chill. Perhaps our family should not remain here before October arrived.

If this was not meant to be our true home, then we should leave before we are tempted by the beauty of a Fall day. I was indeed struck by the magnificence of this land.

Should we mayhap return to Yorkshire? And grow up wondering how different a life I might have in this new land. What about Mattie?” I wondered. There was a chill in the air and knew I should return home and retrieve a warm coat. I brushed away a few pesky mosquitoes trying to make my life worse than miserable.

Yes, if we are to remain in this land for a while longer, Mattie and I must begin our defenses.
It was not my wish to have any British soldier try and separate my family. We have to help Da and Mum.

I knew that my tree hideout was a proper observation post that would serve us well. It would provide sufficient space to cast our eyes and notice any uncommon sights. Plans had to be made.

And so I left the shadows of the back yard and returned to Inverma Farm. Mum and Da greeted me with an understanding look. Little did I know how swiftly events would overtake even the best intentions and desires of me, along with my friend.

Again I asked myself, where had Monsieur Mercier buried the son he cherished? It was a lasting thought as my head rested on my pillow after which the moon shone with a brightness that affected my sleep.

And my dreams were not a comfort to me…

Tossing about in a frenzy of unsettlement this night, I dreamed about a snowfall as thunderous as crashing waves upon the shore. The covering of hills with whiteness could be seen from a far distance. Like a huge treat of whipped cream piled higher and higher, reaching far into the sky.

Someone held my hand tightly. Was it Mum? I dared not awaken, as I continued to dream.
Then, I was being pulled along, me having difficulty lifting one foot higher than the next. The snow was very deep.

After pushing forward, my next raised step dropped ever deeper, leaving behind a huge hole. It looked large enough for a fox to hide in and claim it as home. It seemed at this moment a a sky full of white clouds had fallen upon the earth.

The snowstorm covered everything. Wherever Mum and I searched, people poked heads through the crust, like beaver from beneath the lake surface. Except on this occasion everything seemed turned upside down. Pangs of hunger removed my attention from worrisome thinking.

“When are we going to have some porridge,” I dared asked Mum as we trudged along.
Then darker thoughts entered my head.

“Enemy soldiers were seen scouting around Inverma Farm a day ago,” she whispered.

Later, I could see them in my mind’s eye from the lofty protection of my tree. It was a most unpleasant notion to enter my head before I thankfully fell asleep on my pillow.

“I must protect Da…” were my very last words.

FOURTEEN

In my next day at school-time, I found myself not so popular with questions from my mates.
To my dismay, others did not wish to be reminded of the past. Fitfully I had spoken to Da about my concerns.

“Many of these farms were purchased from Planters wishing to return to the Thirteen Colonies,” he remarked. “Try not taking too much stock in what the man said,” he scolded. “You should be filled with the ramblings of youth, and let these serious matters occupy the minds of your elders.”

Then looking deep into my eyes, Da said very solemnly, “Johnny, Inverma is our farm. Let that not be a question for you to consider.” Then he did something special that I often bring to mind.

Da took me into his arms and gave me a fatherly hug. I remember that moment, keeping my eyes to the ground, ashamed of wanting to leave my beloved home. I could see the looks on some of the men as they watched Da lumber about as a proud bull.

Yes he was a huge man but not fatty like some may have thought. To me he was simply my Da, a big man. And I loved him.

“Now hasten to your chores,” Da quickly added before returning to his own duties.

“Ta-Rah” I called after him.

I looked in my carrying bag, wondering what Mum had made for lunch. All this talk was enough to turn my head. And I was still unsettled from my chat with Monsieur Robert.

As I entered the chicken coop, I knew something was amiss.

Feathers lay everywhere and the hens cowered in one corner. Their usual greeting was simply a nervous shuffling of wings. Across the floor lay the remains of several carcasses. And there were others from Mum’s prize brood that had been carried off by foxes. It was my challenge to secure the fencing.

This beast from the forest was too often a bother. I saw where a hole had been chewed out. They were becoming more than a nuisance, since it meant less money for needful item, when Mum traded her eggs.

Indeed, it was my task to protect the hens.

I murmured a silent vow to use double strands of wire. Sad moments surrounded me, as I gazed about. My duties included protecting the hens, and I had failed in this most important task.
Eggs were also a proper meal for our family and the loss would be felt in days to come.

I had terrible images about what I would like to do to that fox. And if accompanied by his family, they should also pay for this thieving. In one moment cold chills ran races across the bare skin of my back. It frightened me to think about how easily this turmoil of rage had arisen.

Would I make a good soldier in the face of battle? I wondered.

Just then a face poked its sunless face from between the thick pine. I knew it was Tommy. He was a pesky lad, and for some strange reason, wanting to follow me of late.

Perhaps his desire was the need for an older brother. As habit would have it, I was the chosen one. Or he simply desired company and become my friend. But I had already achieved the good company of one, I surmised.

Mattie’s friendship was sufficient. Yet, there arose a thought which beat against my skull. What if Mattie and I took him into our confidence? And swore him to secrecy? Then there would be three of us to observe whether any foreign person was truly prepared to invade Inverma Farm.

I must share these thoughts with Mattie. At the time I thought the idea had merit.

Military stories became a source of much speculation in the local communities.

It was said the 42nd Highlanders sent from England in 1773 were to provide additional strength for an assembly of forces. Everyone knew it was to confront the Thirteen Colonies and that a Revolutionary War was at hand.

But the certainty of conflict was only whispered in quiet corners.

I learned to listen intently when the men spoke in hushed tones, sharing tidbits of news with Da. We came to know supplies began to arrive at Halifax harbor in a furious succession of ships.
Halberts, drums, firelocks, bayonets and cartridge boxes were to supply the 55th Regiment of Foot, under the command of Captain Johnny Taylor.

As the cadence of war approached, men from the farms and villages were in fear for their children. They worried young sons would be drawn into choosing sides in battle.

“It is not uncommon for growing boys and able bodied men to be pressed into military service,” Da said. Heads of families, men of valor from their own wars in England, cringed as they spoke of this in their own homes.

What they had been desperate to leave behind now followed them to this new wilderness land.
Mattie was such a good friend, always on the lookout for my good health. She had come upon me quite suddenly by my tree fort, as I pondered.

“You’re in enough trouble Johnny,” she scolded. “Now you are in rebellion against your father’s wishes.” She looked furiously beautiful as she stood one hand on her hip, a scowl crossing her face.

She smiled, and aye, when she did thoughts of war or the scolding from a young lady simply allowed me to regroup. “I do not want ye to leave,” she whispered.

“It is not my intention to listen to my father on this subject!” I stamped my foot in a haughtiness that surprised me. I desire not to return to Yorkshire. “This is the land I wish to live on.” was my rant.

I knew somehow I must convince Da, not to send me away from our farm. I sensed the dangers lurking like a tiger in this area. “You too have HAD a taste of painful times. Has your father come about?” I dared to change the direction of our talk, asking about his condition since the accident.

“They did take his arm off in Halifax.” Mattie’s voice spoke softly. Johnny had to lean forward to hear her proper intention.

“Which arm was it?” was a second question from my lips. I knew the man was friendly in his ways, always shaking everyone’s hand and slapping friends on shoulders. Any affliction would now be bothersome. And I wondered if it was his...

Closing my eyes, I wished with all my heart it were not his right hand, the strongest one. It had proven to be hardy among the villagers more than once in hand wrestling contests.

“It was the right arm,” Mattie said quickly. Then she left me standing by the tree, and turned to return to her own farm.

“I thought you were going to help me seek out enemy soldiers,” I complained. “We have to do this together Mattie,” I said, shrugging my shoulders helplessly.

I knew it best to be soon checking the hen house, making sure my new fencing was holding fast. I had shyly spoken about concerns for her father. So many things were a twirl about my person.

“Tomorrow,” she answered. “I’ll be here tomorrow. And I promise to have more cheerful attire, for my good friend Johnny.”

Those sincere words now brought a smile of delight to my face. Mattie left quickly as if preparing for another race across the field. Her hearty laughter carried a long way. She ran quicker than ever before towards home.

“Ta-rah,” I said softly since I missed having her friendship this very moment. With heavy heart I don’t know how I managed to climb the tower. It was done with a sure step, one at a time. With difficulty I recalled our spoken words these last few moments.

Did I tread on a sorry wound? What else could I ask, about her father’s hand? I was simply curious. But then she did say, “My good friend.” And suddenly the day did bring about some extra sunshine.

Now where was Tommy? I inquired, looking about.

The lad did not understand how bothersome he could be. He was always spying on me and trying to catch my eye from the woods, or silent upon the field like a curious mouse. I wished the boy were here right now. He was a helpful ally in our small force.

“I must inquire if he is capable of climbing a tall tree and hanging on for dear life in the raging wind,” were words spoken from the past. The thought brought on a smile.

My eyes searched all around. It was now left up to me to take charge from my observation post. I must make sure no enemy troops were assembled on the grounds next to the woods at the edge of our farm.

If any horse movements or cannon were to be pulled in this direction, I could claim my shouts of, “Their arrival is upon us!” As a boy, I was not realizing the game was far more serious than this child-like plan of mine.

Unknown to me during those boyhood moments, men would die in coming engagements. And then become far more real than my imaginary quest to be a protector of our farm.

“Hail to the Protectors of Inverma Farm!” I shouted for the moment. I was determined to do my duty. “TA-RAH!” was my shout of vain-glory. That call could easily cross the grassland, enter a narrow valley and return louder than my last exclamation.

After raising a shout I would climb down and join the defenders of our honor. But now my tum was grumbling. Surely it must be time to eat.

As I carefully climbed down the ladder from my outpost, a tumble of thoughts crossed my mind. I promised to be more patient with Johnny who indeed needed a good mate. And to my mind Mattie was a bonny girl.

I vowed to ask Mum if both of us could share sup on the morrow.

FIFTEEN

Another adventure had awaited me as I stood before a cave.

Monsieur Mercier suggested we come, and his manner at the time was most mysterious. He said he changed the resting place of his son a week after the wee lad was laid to rest. And it had caused him much grief.

I surmised he was taking me to Bastien’s second resting place, excitement taken a hold of me.
Yet it was not an occasion to glory about.

In the nearby woods, on many a silent night British Marines may have stood to watch for their prey. Johnny imagined the patience they would have to endure, and not find their man.

“Yes,” Monsieur Robert had said, as if reading my confused mind. “British soldiers did wait patiently many nights for someone to visit the freshly dug grave they found. They knew I, the father would come back. But I did not so long as those soldiers stood close by.”

My head shook in agony as I listened to the tale.

Then he paused and wiped his brow. “After a period of time, they gave up. And I took the occasion to move my son’s burial ground.”

Johnny remembered how Monsieur Robert helped him over some fallen rocks. They had rolled up their trouser legs and sloshed along the shore for some time. Then ahead, along the rocky outline of shore, darkness hid the cave.

And he had clambered after his friend who began to climb.

The first thing the boy saw farther back within the cave, in open view on a shelf was a small skull. Did this really belong to Bastien, the boy from the diary? It was a scary thought that hurried through the mind of Johnny.

“Yes,” Monsieur Robert said. “This child’s skull does belong to my son. I wanted you to know how desperate we were in those days of escape. My child must surely have hidden in fear, separated from family and starving himself rather than be captured by the soldiers. Years ago, the rest of his bones were on a lower shelf. But the sea had arisen even higher over the years. And I thought it best to respect this cave as Bastien’s final burial ground.”

I clasped my hands and covered my eyes at first, afraid to shame this poor soul, not even having the goodness of soil to cover his soul. And it was most difficult to hold my tongue. Wait until I bring Mattie to this location?

He was sure Mum and Da would understand why their son embarked on this adventure to clear up some nagging questions. He knew it was his duty to find out the truth.

“Many years have I suffered,” Monsieur Mercier said, shuffling about. “And my children, my family, all gone these long years. I was a young farmer then, and now such an old man.”

Johnny watched, fascinated by the tears that began in the corner of the older man’s eyes. He really didn’t wish to stay and watch the proud man cry in front of him. Men do cry was a roaring thought through Johnny’s brain. He wiped a dry finger across his own moist face.

Like a Trembling Aspen Robert had wept openly until tears became a waterfall, down cracked skin. And he lowered his head even further.

The boy felt a twitch jab one of his legs. Arising from a crouched position Johnny moved toward his friend. Astonished at his bold action, he laid a hand of comfort on the man’s shoulder. Now they were bonded.

“It’s okay,” the boy heard himself murmur.

He kept his silence. It did not seem proper to interrupt this moment. Above, clouds seemed to wrestle in the sky, as a pinpoint of light shone through, signaling dusk’s arrival.
Johnny knew he should be scooting home.

Mum’s voice carried across the wind. Sup was waiting.

Da was kept busy on our farm that day growing wheat, barley, oats, hay and potatoes. And I was of most use watching out for our three pigs, herding cattle and feeding the chickens. He came aside me as I whistled a happy tune to overcome the sadness of Mr. Mercier.

But then, I knew it was his pleasure to speak the tale aloud to one who reminded him of his own dear son. And it pleased me that I was such a one.

At Saturday’s sup, we were served up, baked beans with molasses along with a piece of salt pork, definitely a feast. The abundance of our meal was evident with my second helping, since my request was granted. As was my usual custom, my vest earned several spots of spilled beans.

I tried to scrub them off with my thumbnail, making a more noticeable mess. Now it matched the caked mud on the lower lag of my pants.

A cup of tea brought my mind back to the table, and quickly drinking it, excused myself in a hurry to visit the privy. It was my excuse to avoid the possibility of a war. And I feared for our home.

I couldn’t even think of my brothers laying in their own blood, green grass stained and soaking up their young lives. What about the bones of Bastien? Did it take long for his skin to rot off? These thoughts were most unpleasant for a young boy, but not if I took on the role of a stalwart soldier in the defense of his home.

A Planter’s wart on my foot was most annoying and after that hearty meal, my painful expression brought on attention I did not wish. The recipe for its disappearance was even the more difficult for me. Mum had to mash cloves and garlic then cover the offending part of my foot.

Each night thereafter I had to keep the dressing on. For the next two weeks it was most regretful, with my anxious tossing about. Somehow the offending part under my skin was taken away and I was able to skip around the farm without further irritation.

SIXTEEN

All of those thoughts and incidents continued to occupy my mind as I skipped along the trail aside the men working on the ocean shore.

Looking about, I was pleased to see only a few crows heard my oft spoken aloud words.
Shouting warnings should anything be amiss seemed like a mountain of responsibility for Mattie, Johnny and I.

These were hardy times. And plans were taking place to protect all family members in this part of our land, I wondered if soldiers housed in their barracks were truly prepared for battle.
That thought was most unpleasant and I was determined to plunge it from my mind.

The day ahead promised to be one filled with delightful things for a young boy. And I not yet twelve years of age, growing up on a farm in a new land. Little did I know it was the beginning of my manhood.

I was in a happy mood as I skipped home after the purchase of breakfast. Along morning’s shore, misty fog gathered as a blanket, then silently, disappeared allowing such as I to once more scan the sea.

It was proper to gaze across the waters upon more of Nova Scotia’s fertile land that stretched as a finger on the far side of Baie Verte. When the advancing tide arrived upon our side of this vast Bay, a safe swimming place was formed beside a large shelf of rock.

It was here where lads from Pointe de Bute and surrounding farms came together after chores for a good exchange of swimming. And as the tide withdrew, clam digging was a pastime of furious movement.

On one such occasion, I cut my right thumb digging furiously after a retreating Razor Clam.
Along the traveled road to Cape Tormentine were other settlements. Jolicure, Baie Verte, Port Elgin, Upper Cape and Cape Spear were additional memories. They too had similar collections of buildings and families working together, as my own place of residence at Pointe de Bute.

Horses pulling wagons with common folk were a sight, ambling along the roadway.
They came upon us as constant reminders of the hardy business needed to supply our communities. Most were farmers, like Da, and our acreage was proper for a family at the time.

My footsteps soon returned to the farm where Mum was properly anxious to serve breakfast.
A tune escaped my lips as I toured the world around our Inverma farmland with a boy’s satisfied gaze. Seagulls above, the wind tossing my mop of hair, and the strength of my arm firmly grasped my wrapped newspaper package.

Our home awaited me with its shades of weathered wood, along with fertile fields, a fence to climb, and my favorite tree. Nearby our workhorse patiently awaited new instructions. All these sights were a part of my boyhood journey.

“Ta-Rah” was my statement to that young boy being left behind. Now this purchased fish would be most suitable to serve at our table along with a cup of steaming tea. Loudly I called, “Da! Mum!” I be here.”

I remembered the day that myself, Johnny Trenholm, son of John Senior made a proper defense to abide in this country, and on Inverma farm.

It was my good fortune to allay Da’s concern about my safety. And not be a passenger on a ship returning to England in the company of a good neighbor. “Hurrah!” I was to remain on the land my father claimed.

“Aye,” Inverma Farm is our land, and no longer threatened by the British,” Da said solemnly.
‘The men from Yorkshire are now friends and allies of the British.” Somehow I rearranged my mind and forgave those poor soldiers who had taken part in the calamity long ago. We were united in kind agreement to protect our kin, our lands and our country from any foreign invaders.

I remember racing Mattie across the meadow with my news and our happy voices joining the clouds above. My bare feet were unmindful of thistles or any bees rummaging among the berries.
And I was unconcerned about sharp pricks or other insect bites. I wanted to remember everything about that moment. Mattie’s hair fluttered behind her shaking head, as the wind captured each strand and flung it about. It resembled the tail end of a kite.

The joy within her frame matched the brightness of sun that breathed warmth upon the Maple leaves. Their splendor created a myriad of color this Autumn-day. Johnny, me, was so pleased to be staying in this new country.

And so it was with Mattie.

EPILOGUE

And it came to pass that not so far south of this country area, storm clouds crowded together in busy turmoil. Colonel Jonathan Eddy, a “Planter” from New England was full of ideas. He desired this area of Nova Scotia join the Americans in throwing off British rule, and becoming their fourteenth colony.

It was also notable that a soldier-politician named George Washington was strongly encouraging him. In the backrooms of smoke-filled rooms, plans were being carefully discussed.

They were to have an effect on every family in the Isthmus of Chignecto. Unknown to these former residents of Yorkshire, the inhabitants of Pointe de Bute were situated in the middle of the coming melee.

Johnny soon came to learn about war in his new country.

CO-AUTHOR NOTES:

Esther and Richard Provencher are co-authors and Managers of Dester Publications. They worked together in earnest when Richard suffered a stroke in 1999. This has helped immensely, combined with prayers, a dear wife-Esther, and a great doctor-“WB” who were encouraging and inspiring in a slow but dogged recovery.

Stories are built around a composite of stories and personalities, ranging from their own four children, grandchildren and neighbours. Esther and Richard live in Truro, Nova Scotia and they are very involved in their church, Abundant Life Victory Church and community Outreach. Any comments from adults, on their work, or suggestions for stories may be sent to: richardprov2@gmail.com.