Boxing Day at Anderson’s Cove

The church was usually the biggest contributor to the social life of most residents in many small communities in those days. Next to that were the Lodges, which were probably the first organized social groups in most of these little settlements.

The Orange Lodge at Stone’s Cove was a fairly large, two-storey building with all hardwood floors on the ground level. In the 1940s it had a membership of more than 90 men, from Stone’s Cove, Anderson’s Cove, Hare Harbour and Hoop Cove.

Boxing Day, 26 December, was one of the Lodge’s big celebrations. Members met at the Lodge for a meeting, during which they identified all the sick persons in both communities. Following the meeting they would parade from the Lodge to the Church of England at Stone’s Cove for service. The church organist was Annie Buffett, wife of Fred Buffett.

After the service, they went to the home of each known sick person in Stone’s Cove where they stopped and sang a Christmas carol. None of the houses were large enough for the group to go inside so they gathered outside. The voices of so many men joined together in song must have been a powerful and moving sound.

Next they paraded to Anderson’s Cove. Of course, such a large group did not stay in parade formation after leaving Stone’s Cove. So, just before they reached the first house in Anderson’s Cove, they stopped and formed up again. They continued to parade through Anderson’s Cove, stopping to sing carols at the homes of any sick persons, until they reached the home of “Uncle” Bill Thornhill at the lower end of the community where they always stopped and sang “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night.”

Such a large group filled the only road going through Anderson’s Cove. When the Lodge members finished their singing, they simply turned around and those who had been at the end of the line now led the way to the little schoolhouse in Anderson’s Cove. Here they closed their meeting and dispersed to go their separate ways.

Kenneth Elms of Stone’s Cove always stopped at the home of Arthur and Lucy Herridge before going home, where he would have one drink and then leave. Jeremiah “Uncle Jerry” Pope, however, usually stayed at the Herridges’ home for supper that day.

If the weather was good, the Lodge members held a private “time” the following night, 27 December. Members always invited a guest to this event, a spouse, girlfriend, mother, or friend. Ambrose Pope of Stone’s Cove was of the Roman Catholic faith but someone always invited him and he always attended.

© Fay Herridge
Published in Canadian Stories, Dec 2012/Jan 2013

Non-fiction 1

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