Wentworth UCW celebrates at Mattatall Lake

Hope Bridgewater
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Jan Smith, who volunteered her Mattatall Lake home as a gathering place for a meeting of the Wentworth United Church Women, takes a few minutes to relax on her deck and to view the scenic lake.

WENTWORTH - In June, the Wentworth United Church Women traditionally hold a social time, before closing down for July and August until opening again in September. At this social event, men as well as women guests were invited by members. Member Jan Smith, who resides at Mattatall Lake, volunteered to be host at her home for this party.

Mattatall Lake, one of the many secluded lakes in Nova Scotia, borders on the two counties of Cumberland and Colchester and is three miles (4.8 kilometers) in length. It is a beautiful lake surrounded by forest and harbouring loons, beavers and small mouth bass. The lake name is in recognition of the Mattatall families who were early grantees and settlers. As one example of the Mattatall presence at Mattatall Lake, Ephraim Mattatall (1822-1922) was granted land at Mattatall Lake in 1868, had a farm bordering Mattatall Lake, married Marguerite Patriquin (1839-1922) in 1864, and they had 13 children. Ephraim Mattatall is buried in a grave site near Mattatall Lake where also over 30 graves have been discovered.

Coming back to the present, host Jan Smith and her husband Bob welcomed UCW members and their guests at 2:30 p.m., whereupon people socialized inside the house in the spacious living room or the cozy den with sky lights or outside on the open verandah with a view of beautiful flower beds and forest or on the deck with a scenic view of Mattatall Lake and its tranquil waters reflecting a blue sky. Games of washer board and lawn darts were played on the lawn and winners received prizes reflective of Mattatall Lake: sculptured loons carved in wood.

Jan Smith called everyone together to hear Betty Duizer report on the significance of a loaf of bread on the kitchen table. The bread was a symbol of the 85th anniversary of the United Church of Canada. Arrangements had been made to send donated flour from across Canada to each congregation and each congregation added their own flour to make a sourdough loaf for members to eat and partake in a Canadian shared ceremony. Betty Duizer then said grace and everyone began eating the potluck supper (cold plates, salads, breads, desserts, drinks) with the back-up donations of hamburger and hotdogs barbequed by host Bob Smith, who was working on the open veranda. Bob’s dog, Buddy, a Brittany Spaniel, stayed near the barbecuing, hoping for a treat, while Bob’s grey and white cat nonchalantly strolled by.

On this day, Winston and Peggy Patriquin were celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary, and Carolyn MacAloney offered them a celebration cruise on her pontoon boat around Mattatall Lake, and my son, Gregory Bridgewater, and I were invited to go along for the ride. With Bernell MacAloney as driver and Bob Smith as tour guide, all passengers saw the 81 homes bordering the lake (mostly hidden by trees), loons usually in pairs, beavers splashing as they dived for cover, and the beauty of this lovely Nova Scotia lake: its pristine environment, its invigorating pure air and pleasant June breeze. After the hour tour, Winston Patriquin said with conviction: “This was the best cruise ever for a wedding anniversary.”

Present at the party were 16 UCW members: host Jan Smith, Martha Wilson, Ethel Gilroy, Marie Duranceau, Pearl McNutt, Gwen Little, Twila McMaster, Thelma Redmond, Florence Harnish, Ida Murray, Ella Patriquin, Betty Duizer, Eleanor Sprague, Jean Wood, Peggy Patriquin and myself. There were 10 invited guests: Carol Hyslop, Carolyn MacAloney, Marion Gower, Beth Crouse, Jean Brown, Bob Smith, Bob Hyslop, Bernell MacAloney, Greg Bridgewater and Winston Patriquin. Departing from the party, many exclaimed about the beautiful setting for a “good time” and about the wonderful hosts, Jan and Bob Smith. 

Organizations: Wentworth United Church Women, United Church of Canada

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Colchester, Canada

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