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Writer's Corner- New Brunswick

Theodore McConnell and The Case of The Missing Wagon
By Barry L. Hatt

   We have all heard the old saying, “Kids will be kids”, and although times change and new gadgets are invented, the youth of any age have to find something to do to occupy their time.

   The same was true back in the late 1930s. Theodore and his wife ‘Lizzy’ McConnell lived out on the L’Etang Peninsula on the Lime Kiln Road. Their property had a beautiful house, along with a big old barn, an outhouse and several other buildings that served the purposes of a farm property.

   The kids in the neighbourhood thought that Theodore was a bit too gruff for their liking and always tried to do mischief to him on Halloween. My aunt Dorothy, in looking back, feels that Theodore acted like that to get them going to see what they would do. She also said that they always felt welcome at their home and that the girls used to love to watch ‘Lizzy’ knit, because the knitting needles were almost like magic as they quickly danced over the yarn, leaving the girls fascinated.

   I guess the disappearance of the McConnell wagon was a favourite theme at Halloween and that year was no exception. Halloween night arrived and my dad and Aunt Dot along with Henry Hatt, Joe Hatt, Billy and Marjorie Stewart, left on their annual quest to help the wagon disappear. To their surprise they found the wagon with chains padlocked to the wheels, so they would not turn. The girls went in the house to visit and the boys figured there were enough of them to drag the wagon away and set off to do so.

   They pushed and pulled the wagon out on the old dirt road and started towards Andrew Stewart’s, a good push and pull up the road, and that old road was not an easy route at the best of times. Large rocks and potholes and loose gravel all made the task more difficult, especially with a wagon with wheels that did not turn, but they finally managed to get the wagon as far as Andrew’s lower driveway. Once there, Billy Stewart started whooping it up and laughing about how they had outfoxed Theodore again.

   At about that time Carson Cook came walking down the road and ever after was associated with the heist, although he had nothing to do with it. He protests his innocence, in that caper, to this very day. Billy thought Henry was right behind him and as he bent over laughing, Theodore, who had been following them down the road, gave him a good boot in the seat of his pants and sent him flying.

   Needless to say all accomplices disappeared in an instant, so fast that even Houdini would have been proud. Billy Stewart, being the recipient of the boot, recovered quickly enough to disappear right behind the rest, and Theodore, it is rumored, laughed all the while as he went to get his horse to take the wagon back home. You know, I think that may have been the last time that Theodore McConnell’s wagon was ever bothered by the haunts of Halloween.

Barry Hatt lives in Fredericton. You may contact him through his e-mail address which is blhatt@rogers.com

THE END

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