R. H. Nicholson - Painter and Man of God
The howling of the wind down the stove pipe and the blowing of the snow against the windows were sure signs a real blizzard was headed to the valley tonight. Mum was afraid of a flu fire so she let the wood furnace die out, thus we were gathered in the kitchen around the wood stove with the damper shut and only a small stick burning in the firebox. Dad even left the comfort of the kitchen couch to sit in a chair with his feet on the oven door.
Once the lights started to flicker, Mum lit the oil lamp that she had placed on the kitchen table. The lamplight and the snow storm brought back memories to Dad of the nights he had spent in lumber camps built of poles and covered with tar paper with men sitting around the blazing stove, exchanging stories, while the snow that had turned to water dripped from their jackets and socks that hung over a rope line.
He told us of being at the camp in the Glebe and the wind was so terrible, it was necessary to tie a rope from the door to the horse hovel. As we sat listening to his every word, we could almost see the teams hauling great high loads of logs or the yard horse with his bells bringing the chopped logs to the brow.
Randolph Nicholson was one of the nine children born at Riceville, a small community on the St. John River to George W. Nicholson and Nora Taylor. After the untimely death of his parents, he spent six years working in the logging camps during the winter. He worked at the hard and tiresome task of pulling the cross-cut saw back and forth all day long with his partner. The men worked from daylight to dark in 1935 for twenty-five dollars a month.
In later years, he shared his memories with others through his paintings providing a legacy of a time long gone.
As one looks at the dapple gray team pulling the bob sleds with a heavy load of logs one can almost hear the teamster’s command of “Git Up!”
The blinding snow seems to hit your face as you watch the team with heavy blankets make their way home.
To catch a glimpse of men with horses and axes, browse through the 1983 publication “R. H. Nicholson - Painter and Man of God” by Jean Elizabeth S. Irving and you too will get the opportunity to view life in the outdoors in the days of yesteryear.
The book can be found in many research institutions and libraries.
To purchase a copy of “R. H. Nicholson - Painter and Man of God” by Jean Elizabeth S. Irving, visit http://www.rubycusack.com/Book-Nicholson.html
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