I'll tell you about an experience I had when I was a young fellow. I was working on the backshift in No. 16 Mine at the time. At the beginning of the shift, the men walked over and sat on the rake, waiting for it to take us down. After a while, as more men got on, it got heavier and heavier. The rake started to move slowly but when she got down a little piece, she was going pretty fast. Some of the guys started jumping off and they got broken legs, broken arms and all this kind of thing, it was going that fast. There was no engineer and the engine house was locked.
Then one fellow broke the lock of the engine house and stopped the rake just before it reached the end. If it had hit the end, we would all have been killed. A young fellow in front of me was trying to jump off at the low spots but I held on to him. I probably saved him from getting seriously hurt.
That's something about miners: if one of them is in danger, the others will do anything to get him out of danger.
I worked 42 years in the mines. I worked in both No. 16 Colliery and No. 18 Colliery, mostly loading coal on coal production. Then I got on the machines, continuous miners.
I went overseas during the war. You'd think I would have learned something by being overseas, but I come right back and went in the mines.
I retired in 1966. I didn't want to go to the No. 12 Colliery so I said, That's it. I got nothing when I retired. All I get now is a ton of coal at a cheap rate.
A miner's life is a hard life. I'll tell you what's good about mining, though: the fellowship, the comradeship. There's something about a miner that's different than anybody else.
In New Waterford, there's a tremendous amount of musical talent. I play the accordion. I play good and I play lousy and I will give you a little of both.