June 12, 1917 Hoeing in the Garden of Eden

June 12, 1917

The weather turned for the better today and so did my mood. The sun was out, but there was a lot of dampness in the air. In the afternoon the clouds built up like huge palaces in the sky. You could see where the idea of Heaven came from when the light from the late evening sun shone on the big billowing masses. God must be hiding in there somewhere.

It was a quiet day for me. I spent a couple of hours working behind the Lodge in Annie’s garden. It was no Garden of Eden because the the weeds were offering fierce competition for the seedlings. Man needed to keep this place in order because God wasn’t up for the job. He was busy with the trenches in Europe. The tomato plants had a head start in the Lodge but everything else had to come from seed. The strawberry patch was doing okay, but they wouldn’t be ready for another week. The Strawberry Moon was a week ago, and the strawberries wouldn’t be ready until the New Moon had passed. Strawberries ripening after the New Moon – maybe that was a sign of something bad to come. I’ll have to ask Annie, she knows about those things. ┬áBut the rhubarb was fine and dandy, ready to be harvested. That might be a good sign – sour tart needing lots of sugar. Annie wanted to make rhubarb jams and preserves today and she asked me to cut some.

While at the hoe, I was thinking about Winnie and what I should do. I decided the best thing was to go to Huntsville to visit her and sort things out. I wasn’t sure if I should see her at her parents. Instead I could go see her at Stephenson and Anderson’s where she works. I could stay at the Dominion Hotel. I stayed there the very first time I came to Huntsville with John McRuer. The other thing I was thinking about was conscription. It was becoming a certainty. Premier Borden knew he’d have an election on his hands so he’s giving the wives of soldiers the vote in their absence. If there’s an election Borden is going to win, no doubt.

Shannon saw me in the garden and came over. If there’s a good dry spell, he was going to cut some hay in the meadow later this week and it would be dry enough to bring in next week.

“Tom, can you help me with the haying?” Shannon looked at me, took off his hat and wiped his brow. I’m sure the sight of me working made him tired.

“Sure,” I said. ” But I’m planning to go way for a couple of days, but I should be back in time.”

“Where are you going?” Shannon inquired.

“I got business to take care of,” I said.

My response satisfied his line of questioning for the moment, but I’m sure he’d continue the line of questioning with Annie. Shannon has the good sense to know when a white lie is being told, but it is Annie he depends on to shake out the truth behind the white lies. Let them figure it out, I thought to myself. I’m sure Annie knew the situation already.

So there I was, hoeing in the Garden of Eden, while the world seemed to be falling down all around me. I concentrated on what I could do – clear out the weeds and bring rhubarb to Annie.

July 12, 1917 Shannon Fraser’s Letter to Dr. MacCallum

Mowat P. O., July 12, 1917

Dear Sir.

Tom left here on sunday about one o’clock for a fishing trip down the lake and at three oclock his Canoe was found floating a short distance from my place with both paddles tied tight in the canoe also his provision were found packed in the canoe. The Canoe was up side down We can find no trace of where he landed or what happend to him Everything is being done that can be done his brother arrived this morning Will let you know at once if we find him.

Yours Truly
J. S. Fraser