GET YOURSELF IN GEAR! A TALE WITH A LESSON FROM COIN DE LA BAIE
Storytelling has always been common in the evenings especially in the early years here in Metis. Willis N. Bugbee, in his book “Drifting Down the St. Lawrence”, wrote that F. A. Astle, owner of the Metis Lodge, was not only a good fisherman, but a good story-teller as well, and, more than that, those who knew him best avowed that his stories were all true. F. A. Astle had many acquaintances. Many an evening, they would come by and, sitting together by a crackling fire in the living room, would tell stories, talk of the happenings of the day, and even what lessons could be learned from them.
Many older Metisiens also would gather in the evening to socialize at Coin de la Baie where they would come talk of their day’s activities (the younger crowd chose the Jolly Roger and Place Petit Miami). In the early 1960s, Coin de La Baie had parking on both sides of the Route 132 road, and there were no homes in immediate vicinity at that time.
One lesson to learn: The story goes that one evening a car – cars were usually standard transmission at the time – pulled up to Coin de La Baie and parked on the river side. Anxious to share the news of the day with friends, he jumped out and started walking across the road towards the restaurant/bar. Patrons in the restaurant, looking out the window, noticed that the car was moving forward towards the edge of a cliff. They jumped out of their seats and pointed through the window to try to get his attention. He thought they were smiling and waving at him – he waved and smiled back. The next thing he heard was a booming, banging, smashing noise. He turned around and ran back to where his car was … supposed to be. By this time many of Coin de La Baie patrons were beside him and together they all saw the tail end of the car careening down the cliff towards the St. Lawrence River. The oys and the ahs that came out of the mouths of all who watched the little car bouncing and banging down the cliff, ending up on the beach, became the story of the week around town.
Of course, people told the story in their own way, sometimes funny, saying it was like you were at the movies watching in slow motion the car bouncing down the cliff. Sometimes it was serious, thanking the Lord that no one was hurt. But for my Grandfather this story was a lesson to remember, which was put your vehicle in gear with the parking brake on!
A story told by F.A. Astle.