The Cove Journal
by JoDee Samuelson
We survived the winter’s first real snowstorm. Last night the wind howled all through the wee hours, ice pellets beat noisily against the windows, and the whole house creaked and groaned uncomfortably. It seemed that morning would never come, but morning did come and with it a transformed white world that beckoned us outside. So it was on with the snowshoes and down to the Cove to see what’s what.
High tide! Water filled the marsh and was still rushing in under the bridge, due to the full moon—plus a lunar eclipse and green comet in the sky. (Where are the soothsayers when we need them?) The snow being too deep to go all the way to the park, we circled around the church and through the cemetery. Then I got the bright idea that since this is Canada’s 150th anniversary of the Confederation of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Province of Canada, we should try to find the grave of someone who died in 1867.
I brushed back the snow from a lichen-covered headstone: “In memory of Donald McNevin, died 1885, aged 32 years.” Right. This is where the MacNevins are buried. My good friend Charles MacNevin passed away this winter in his 90th year and will be buried here in the company of his friends and relations. Charles was the proud keeper of the Cove cemetery and if you wanted to purchase a grave plot he was the man to ask. He was also one of the two last elders living in our community and his wisdom and knowledge are already missed.
More McNevins caught my attention: Daniel McNevin, died Nov. 30, 1878, aged 22 years. Catherine McNevin, died Feb. 27, 1919, aged 90 years. Then I uncovered the grave of someone whose headstone could be the starting point for a whole book:
“Mary MacKinnon, beloved wife of John MacEachern, died Sept. 17, 1875, age 57 years 9 months. Also their beloved children: Sarah … 26 years 7 months; Malcolm … 1 month; Mary … 2 years 9 months; Malcolm … 4 months.” I love it that Mary and her children were “beloved.” Their lives were not rounded off to the year, but to the very month. Mary MacKinnon and dozens of other Mc’s and Mac’s buried in this lovely cemetery lived through the 1867 hoopla; but with so much going on in their personal lives did they even notice?
We finally found the grave of someone who died in 1867: Donald McEachern, died Feb. 6, 1867, aged 22 years. The inscription notes that in 1834 his father Angus emigrated from the Isle of Mull…there’s another book waiting to be written. No doubt there was a snowstorm in February 1867, and we can only imagine that young Donald’s death was a hard blow to the community.
For these people the storms of life are over; for us, another blizzard is on the way. But it’s only a blizzard. We’re alive! We can handle it.