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33 - A Race With The Stork

 

 

from The Treasury of Newfoundland Stories published, by Maple Leaf Mills Limited, in 1961

Uncle Joshua blew a peep hole in the small pane of glass that served as a window in his winter cabin and gazed upon an unbroken field of ice and snow. Signs of another storm were approaching and he was worried about ihs neighbour, Sam Elson, who lived a short distance away with his wife and six children. Another child was expected any day now - Uncle Joshua knew that Sam didn't have enough dogs of his own to take his wife the 15 miles to the old lady who served as a midwife. He also knew that Sam had little, if any, food, for it was the depression years and both food and money were scarce. The nearest store was about 18 miles away - Sam had no money.

Turning to his good wife, Uncle Joshua said: "Dot, I'll have to go and see if they are still alive."

Aunt Dot soon had his warn clothes and sealskin boots ready. A mixing of flour and a few other things were taken from his own scant hoard. He tackled up his dog team and set out for Sam's. Upon reaching the shack a short while later he was greeted with, "Thank God you've come, Uncle Joshua" - and then ushered into the warmth of the room that served as kitchen, living room and bedroom. He learned that for two days the family had been living on dried tea leaves that had already been well steeped out, and they were in desperate need.

With Uncle Joshua's help they soon had a meal ready, even though a scanty one for so many mouths. Then the older man said to Tamar, Sam's wife: "Get your warm clothing on. I'm taking you out to Batteau to Aunt Mag."

Tamar was soon tucked comfortably into the coach-box. She was beginning to feel that her baby was near. After many bumps and jolts over broken ice and rough terrain, they reached their destination. Just in time, too, for it was only a matter of minutes when, without the aid of doctor or medication, Tamar gave birth to twin boys. All's well that ends well and from then on they were alright.

When it came time for the Clergyman to make one of his biannual visits the babies were christened. Naturally, Sam and Tamar named one of them Joshua; the other received the name Jonathan.

As far as I know all concerned are still living. Uncle Joshua at Batteau and the Elsons at Spotted Islands, Labrador.

 

 

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This page transcribed by James Butler, 2000
REVISED: August 2002 (Terry Piercey)

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