After lunch at Cheticamp Melanie takes the wheel for the long drive down the west coast of Cape Breton and on to Truro. I scan the guidebook for hotels. A few miles south of town Melanie gasps. “Scarecrows!” We double back to a gravel parking lot across the road from the water.
Behind the parking area there’s a field ringed with full-sized human figures sporting all combinations of uniforms, dresses, jackets and accessories. The faces are halloween masks. There’s a little stage surrounded by chairs. A group of child scarecrows forms a ring-around-the-rosey circle. Celtic fiddle reels blare from somewhere near an abandoned schoolbus; imagine Scottish jigs broadcast from that green bullhorn on the pole in M*A*S*H.
We are alone in the field with the scarecrows.
These are Joe’s Scarecrows, a Cabot Trail landmark, and we throw a few coins in the donation tackle box. Each scarecrow’s story is scratched onto an index card and pinned to a sleeve.
How are you Today?
Welcome to Joe’s Scarecrows!
– I’m Tommy.
We Will have An Acadian dish
“” they call in French. Very Good!
There will be on the Stage and probably a “Square Set!”
But Now It’s Not The Same
All your Friends are gone, and you are Lucky to see them Back!
“THEY CAN’T GET OVER IT! HOW QUiET, PeACEFUL, AND BEAUTiFUL This is! What ‘A Wonderful Time’ We have!”
This is GOD’S COUNTRY.
This is Stephen King stuff. Luckily it’s a bright clear day, with plenty of time left for us to get far away from here before night falls.