It is 1961 and I am seven years old and we are in Nova Scotia. I am dazzled by the beauty of the land and the warmth of the people. They’re playing bagpipes in the streets; bagpipes are the sound of the human soul.
We took a plane and boat to get to Nova Scotia. We had a cabin on the boat and I can’t think of a more delicious experience than a cabin on a boat and watching the ocean. Our days in Nova Scotia are filled with walks and good food and, as always, I love to wander about in nature. On one of my solo excursions I meet a Nova Scotia girl around my age. She has soft brown hair and her eyes are warm chocolate brown and I am smitten to my trembling little-boy knees. We spend hours walking and talking and soon find ourselves sitting on top of a very large rock in the middle of a field. All the world is alive with color and beauty and the sun warms and comforts us, and I think secretly we both know we are getting a taste of what heaven must be like.
I don’t know how it happened but one minute we are on top of a very large rock in a field and the next minute we are on top of a very small rock that is surrounded by a herd of shoulder to shoulder cows, wild cows. There are so many you can’t even see the ground anymore. My Nova Scotia love and I have seen enough movies to know we will start a stampede if we do anything to upset these huge, mean, snorting beasts. We are trapped and we know we are in grave danger. I mean these big beasts don’t seem to notice us yet, huddled together on top of a very small rock, but I know it is just a matter of time. I know I must protect my Nova Scotia love, with my life if necessary. I also know I am trembling with terror inside and I can’t let her know this. She would panic if she knew, and I must prevent this from happening. I know too that if I step off our very small rock I will be stomped to death by these wild, mean cows. It is clear to me that any animals this big can’t be very nice.
She says, “We’ve got to find help.”
I say, “We will, we will,” and hold her hand.
She says, “Maybe you should leave me here and find help, Peter. It will be dark soon.” She was right, it had to be 12 noon.
Knowing I do not have the courage to step off the very small rock and knowing there is no way I’m going to admit this, I say, “I would, but I can’t leave you alone. If they decide to charge us someone has to protect you. I won’t leave you alone in all this danger.”
She says, “Oh, Peter, what will we do?”
I say, “We’ll be okay.” I know I’ve just lied to my Nova Scotia love because I know once these wild cow beasts see us they will charge us and kill us.
Suddenly she leaps to her feet, points and shouts, “Peter, look!”
I do and there is my father and another man (the farmer we learn later) running through the cows toward us, smiling and laughing! As soon as we see them our mutual facades dissolve and we are both in tears screaming to be rescued and, of course, we are.
My family and I leave Nova Scotia a few days later. I’ve never seen my Nova Scotia love again, and the years have taken her name from my memory. But she will always be a part of my heart and I will always love Nova Scotia, and the bagpipes. The jury is still out on the cows.