Tag Archives: Orville Hughes

DO YOU TAKE YOUR LIFE FOR GRANTED?

DO YOU TAKE YOUR LIFE FOR GRANTED?

Before I retire for the night, I take for granted that I’ll wake up in the morning and go about my ordinary life—my sleeping, eating, working, and walking-around-life.

But today, I’m reminded of my mortality.

The First Reason

A neighbor and friend, Orville Hughes, passed away on Sunday morning (God granted him 95 years on this earth).

Seven years ago, he was the first neighbor to rap his knuckles on our farmhouse screen door.

After gingerly opening the door, I thought, I’m definitely in farm country.

The elderly farmer pressed his thumbs into the back of his denim overalls. “Welcome to the neighborhood,” he said.

My hubby and I will always remember Orville as the neighbor, farmer, and the friend who showed love with his simple act of kindness.

The Second Reason

Shortly after 8:00 a.m., on a frigid February 2nd morning in 1945, sixteen miners stepped into a lift cage.

With helmet beams lit, they began their descent into the pit of darkness—just another ordinary day to dig for gold in muck and clay.

My grandfather, Eero Kohtala, is in the middle.

My grandfather, Eero Kohtala, is in the middle.

The cage was outfitted with an emergency stop system called “dogs”. The “dogs” job was to grip the timbers on the sides of the shaft should the cables ever break.

Snap!

The “dogs” malfunctioned, sending the cage to plummet 1,500 feet. My grandfather and fifteen other miners lost their lives that day.

An earlier photo of The Paymaster Mine Site taken in 1938. My grandfather is in the second row, fourth from the right.

An earlier photo of The Paymaster Mine Site taken in 1938. My grandfather is in the second row, fourth from the right.

The Paymaster Mine Tragedy was reported to be the greatest mining disaster in Northern Ontario, Canada.

Today is the 71st anniversary of my maternal grandfather’s death—a grandfather I never got to hug. And my mom was only seven-years-old when he died.

All that remains are newspaper clippings, family stories, and the book I compiled and wrote for my mom for Mother’s Day, May 11th, 2014—The Kohtala & Hakala Legacy.

Here’s one of those entries. (Sorry, this WordPress site wouldn’t allow me to insert lines between each stanza).

SIXTEEN MINERS

Tracy Campbell

Down, down, down,

Men toil all day,

Dig for gold

In muck and clay.

Down, down, down,

No time for play,

Miners sweat

For meager pay.

Down, down, down,

Write on this page—

Sixteen miners

Step in a cage.

Down, down, down,

Men, weary worn,

Cage door creaks

One frigid morn.

Down, down, down,

Torn cables snap,

Gloomy thoughts,

We’re in a trap! 

Down, down, down,

Lift cage drops,

Plummets fast,

Blasting stops.

Down, down, down,

Shriek, old and young,

“Help us!” heard

In mother tongue.

Down, down, down,

Torches lit,

Crowbars bend,

Friends don’t quit.

Down, down, down,

No helmet beams,

Loss of breath,

Ends miners’ dreams.

Up, up, up,

Prayers of strife,

Mother, child,

Plead for life.

Up, up, up,

Sirens blare,

Bodies rise to

Greet despair.

Up, up, up,

God knew why,

Eased each painful,

Desperate cry.

Up, up, up,

Cast in bronze,

Miners’ shrine

Gleams like dawn.

Down, down, down,

Tears freely flow,

Lives endure,

As memories glow.

Porcupine Miners Memorial

Porcupine Miners Memorial

The ten-foot bronze statue was erected in 2008 in remembrance of miners who lost their lives over the past 100 years.

The inscription reads:

A…memorial to those who died

A…monument to the families who survived

A…tribute to those who continue.

Before typing this post, I read the following verse in my trusty guidebook—a reminder for me to thank God for each new day.

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” Romans 12:1, MSG

Do you embrace each day like there’s no tomorrow?

Blessings,

 

Tracy

P.S. Send a card or give a gift to those you love. Visit My Whimsical Shop for ideas.

DO YOU TAKE YOUR LIFE FOR GRANTED? first appeared on Tracy Campbell’s blog.