Stories beget stories during Christmas book launch
Breton Books publisher Ron Caplan launched the latest edition of Cape Breton’s Christmas at Alderwood on Dec. 12, the fifth in a collection that began in 2014. A portion of book sales are donated to Feed Nova Scotia.
Director of Recreation Gwynn Shaw read aloud, “Little Stories from Alderwood”, written by Alderwood residents Ruth Macleod, Ross Matheson, Shirley Hughes and Christena George.
The stories jogged people’s Christmastime memories.
Evelyn Macaulay remembered getting peanuts “in the shell” on Christmas morning.
Ruth Macleod recalled a tale recounted to her by a deck hand on a boat called the Lakeview that delivered necessities to Bucklaw where she grew up on a farm.
“The sheep aboard the boat escaped. There was ice in the harbour. The sheep swam under the ice. The deck hands gathered them all on the shore and dried them out in the furnace room. And they were none the worse for it.”
“It was a good story, but a little far-fetched,” laughed Ruth.
“A farm girl would know that when the sheep got wet, they were not going to come up again,” replied Caplan.
Caplan has been asked over the years how he feels when someone is telling him a farfetched story.
“My answer always was…as long as it's well told…i'm not a fact-checker… I'm glad to collect those stories as long as they are well told. I do like the truth, but I do like getting what we would call 'history'. I know that there is great value in the people that can tell a good story."
Caplan has many Christmas stories of his own. He moved to Cape Breton from Pittsburgh in 1971. Not long after, he launched Cape Breton Magazine. His work on the magazine meant there was seldom a lonely Christmas.
“I met so many storytellers I could just walk in on at any time.”
According to Caplan, it takes very little to tell a good Christmas story.
“It can simply be little flashes of something. Perhaps something as simple as what your parents did, or didn’t do.”
To purchase a copy of Cape Breton's Christmas, visit capebretonbooks.com.
Publisher Ron Caplan at Alderwood.