A huge dose of Island hospitality for a storm-weary motorist

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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By Clair McCabe (guest opinion)

Iwould like to take this opportunity to express my extreme gratitude and heartfelt appreciation to my "rescuers:” the MacNevin family from Desable — Judy and Donnie, and their children Colin and Katie, for their kindness and hospitality they afforded me after I got stuck in a snowdrift on Route 19 in front of their farm at approximately 5 p.m. last Thursday.

I was trying to return home after being at work at the QEH since 7 a.m. Wednesday. We were released at 3:30 p.m. after relief was able to get in. After making it up the hill in Canoe Cove, I got across the bridge only to find the road blocked with snow. I turned around and went back to the TCH via Long Creek then back to Route 19 via the Bonshaw Road (a scary ordeal). I turned east on the 19 and only made it about 300 feet when again the road was blocked. I turned again and thinking that nothing could be worse than the Bonshaw Road, I headed for the TCH via Desable. I should have thought again. The reason why I didn't hit the other two snowdrifts was I could see them, not so lucky in Desable! I buried my F150 4X4 up to its axles.

After a feeble attempt to dig and a few phone calls to my wife, the RCMP and a tow truck operator, (all of whom said good luck and God bless) I arrived at the MacNevins and was greeted by Judy and Katie. Judy told me to relax and not to worry, that they had a big tractor and snow blower and Donnie and Colin would be able to pull me out after they finished the barn work. Judy offered me a change of pants and dried my clothes in the drier, told me I was welcome to stay for supper and unless the plow came through, I was welcome to spend the night.

A short time later Donnie had the tractor down the lane and was blowing out behind my truck. Colin and I went down and Colin hooked up to the truck and after several attempts was able to lift/pull the truck from the snow. We then returned to the house where Judy had supper ready for us, my first home cooked meal in a couple of days (not that we went hungry at the QEH, we certainly didn't.) We then watched a movie together and Judy, seeing/knowing I was exhausted as she is a fellow nurse, arranged a bedroom for me.

I had just called my wife and retired for the evening when I saw the bright lights out the window and got up to see the plow which had to back up and hit the drift six times before it got through it. Donnie knocked on the door and said Colin was on his way to the tractor to blow out the lane if I wanted to go home. We slowly made our way home and arrived at about 9:30 p.m. This morning I was outside clearing snow from the doors when my wife brought me the phone, it was Judy, wanting to make sure I got home safely and that my wife had made in through the storm ok.

I am a native Islander and grew up on a farm on the Newton Road. My wife and I just moved home two years ago after 30 years in Calgary. People in Calgary often asked me over the years what I missed the most about the Island. I replied it was the great spirit of humanity and community and looking out for each other those Islanders seems to share. I'm sure if you asked Judy and her family she'd tell you it was nothing anyone else wouldn't have done, I for one would beg to differ. Again thank you most sincerely.

Clair McCabe is a resident of Canoe Cove

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Canoe Cove, Bonshaw Road, Long Creek Calgary Newton Road

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