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The Story of Collie

Collie Albright

George Colin Albright

   Most of us who grew up in the peaceful village of Sandy Cove were familiar with the history of most of its inhabitants.  One colourful character was “Collie”, whom some called George Coll.  Collie was different, living alone in his tiny home at the entrance to the road that leads to Sunset Hill.   Tourists made a point of visiting to talk with him.  Those who were regular visitors always planned to take him a gift of tobacco from the States.   One particular friend had forgotten to purchase it until his arrival: you could not fool him between the American brand and that bought elsewhere.

   Apparently nothing ever moved him to any expression of surprise or sorrow.  Once, in a wild storm, the roof of his little shack blew off.  A short time later, a friend, having gone to see how he was faring, found him smoking peacefully before his smouldering fire, the rain coming down upon him.

   Elections were a highlight in his life.  To win his vote, the leading candidate would take him down to the beach and gave him a bath, provide him with all new clothing and spend time showing him where on the ballot to put his X.  Every single vote was important in those days.

   Another highlight for the school children was to visit Collie after the annual school picnic, which usually happened on Arbor Day in May.  The food left over was put into a box and the children would march up to his door and call for him to come out.  Before receiving the box of food, he had to sing.  So he would stand tall in his doorway and sing:

Dig my grave narrow and long,
Put a tombstone to my head.
Tell my friends that I am lying low.

Then he would whinny like a horse.

  As he got older and old age pensions became a reality, he was brought out to the cove to live with relatives.  After their passing, a friend cared for him until his death.

Written by Elizabeth McCullough