What can you say about Joe Casey? I quite honestly ask this question since most times, anything I would like to say, Joe has already said. In some cases, he has given after dinner speeches about what I might be thinking about.
For those unfamiliar with Joe, he could probably be best described as a force of nature. He was born in Victoria Beach, Nova Scotia which is located at the end of the Granville peninsula about 29 kilometers (18 miles) from Annapolis Royal. During his life Joe has been a fisherman, a ship's pilot, served in the army and navy, a hotel owner, a fishplant owner, a Liberal member of the Nova Scotia legislature for Digby, Speaker of the House in Nova Scotia, author and a raconteur of great renown. Now, at 90 years old, Joe has published his second book. I get tired just thinking about what he has done in his life.
His new book is a entitled The Life and Times of Joe Casey (Pottersfield Press ISBN-13: 978-1-897426-02-9). In many ways this is a companion to his 1994 volume, The Wit and Wisdom of Joe Casey. Like his earlier work, this book is essentially a collection of Joe's stories and anecdotes which are presented in a very light style. Joe takes from his very impressive resume as a speaker and weaves in many humourous stories (often of questionable veracity). While these stories are usually amusing, Joe is at his best when he is writing about the actual events of his life. The book makes for fascinating reading when he relates his often harrowing experiences as a harbour pilot as well as his experiences with the Canadian Navy during World War II. His stories about munitions ships in the Bay of Fundy are enough to make you sit up and take notice sixty-five years after the fact. Joe has an insight about events and the lives of people in Annapolis and Digby counties which is a valuable contribution to the historic record.
I should stress that The Life and Times of Joe Casey makes for quite light reading. Since much of what I read on the history of Nova Scotia can be fairly tough slogging, this book is definitely a pleasant diversion. For those who are interested, this book is available in the gift shop at the O'Dell House Museum in Annapolis Royal.
All for now,