Memories from Fergus Keyes

Ernie & Mary (Mamie) McAndrew’s place.

We also visited the Ernie & Mary (Mamie) McAndrew’s farm. When I was older, once or twice, I took the Provincial bus and went to visit them for a few days. The bus would stop around Bonnibrooke Golf Course and I would walk the rest of the way.

I also bought some land, about an acre, from Ernie back in the late sixties for about
$1000.00 . I still own it and pay taxes to St. Columban. The taxes were originally about
$25.00 a year – but now are in the hundreds of dollars ! I know approximately where the land is – but with all the big development in the old pasture area, I doubt that I could actually find it without a land surveyor…

I remember helping Ernie bring in some hay one time with his horses and wagon. I was on the top of the wagon and Ernie was throwing up the hay. Suddenly the horses decided, on their own, to go back to the barn and took off. I wasn’t strong enough to stop them – maybe I was 12 or 14 at the time. Luckily they stopped by themselves when they got to the door. It was a helluva a ride and I don’t think that Ernie was impressed !

Another time I remember being there in the Winter – It was so quiet. My brother Bryan and I found something to slide down the driveway beside the farm house, and spent the whole day outside – it was great.

And once we trying to raise some money in Montreal for some event, and bought 100 Christmas Trees from Ernie. Of course, in the end I had to go with him to choose them & cut them down. Another really fun time with him.

And when he was well into his seventies, he had me help him dig some trenches. I was in pretty good shape, but did I ever have a hard time keeping up with him ….

We also rented Ernie’s small Grey cottage down the road, once or twice, for a few weeks in the summer.

And the mention of Neil Grimes and his music. About 1958 – 60, my parents rented the “Old Talbot Place” for the summer and we spent our time there. One night, they had a big party that I think everyone in St. Columban attended. Neil played music, and everyone was singing and dancing. I remember Harriet Grimes; of course Ernie & Mamie; some of the Phelans, Johnny & Daisy Funchion; and a whole bunch of other people. Again, I was young, about 10 – 12 years old, but that night was the first time I had ever seen the Northern Lights – a memory that I have never forgot – It was a perfect summer night and lots of fun !