30 July 2011

Sam's the man

Sam Barter driving with cousin Wood Kyle at right
One my cousins wrote to me a while back with some childhood reminiscences that demonstrate my great grandfather Barter's kindness to and interest in children.

"I remember visits from and, particularly, to Great Uncle Sam. It was a great treat to visit Hartland, where I was allowed, even encouraged, to tinker for hours with the gun collection. I guess it kept me from becoming even more of a nuisance than I otherwise would have been. I remember vainly trying to explode a .303 cartridge by flinging it into a rock pile, each time diving into the lawn clutching a steel helmet to my head.

"On a visit to Hopewell Cape, Sam once instructed me at some length on the manly art of bar-room or barrack fighting. He carefully explained that it was not good form to ever commence hostilities but also good not to finish second. Among the techniques he had found useful, was to "Get the other fellow's feet off the ground. Then you can deal with him any way you want." I can report that this is a sound and practical principle, one I never forgot.

"He was also an authority on marksmanship and would talk extensively on the subject. I understand that he put together a company of sharpshooters from Carleton County which distinguished itself during the Great War... You may also know that he and his brothers presented their little sister with a 1894 model Winchester rifle for her wedding present. It was cal. 32-40. I used to be allowed to play with that too, in Black's Harbour.

"Sam was very good with kids. One remembers that over the years. So few adults have the gift for taking little people seriously, that they manage to make lasting impressions."