People’s Archive of Rural Nova Scotia

Stories of Everyday Life, Everyday People

Cathy Cogger

Oct 11, 2017 | People & Culture

PARNS: Cathy Coggger

Cathy Coggger

The following story is part of a volume of stories collected from the residents of the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. For more information on this project, click here.

Cathy was born at the Inverness Hospital on January 12, 1945. She was raised in a family of 14 children on the farm in Judique, Cape Breton. She loves dancing and music. Cathy enjoyed her 40 years working for the Royal Bank, as there was always opportunity for meeting new people. She vividly remembers when grocery shopping with her husband, who grew up in Antigonish, his exclamation as she stopped to talk to yet another shopper, “Christ, do you know everyone in town?”

Catherine (Cathy) Pure—Authentic, Bright, Classic

Like her name, Cathy is a bright woman, whose smile speaks a thousands words.  When she smiles,  a light casts outward and draws you in to the centre of the moment.  Cathy is a woman  who speaks her mind with confidence and grace.  When I come for a visit with Cathy, our time is a  gift.  I do not need words to recognize that my presence is special.  With this knowingness, I am blessed.  Cathy cherishes each individual, honouring their uniqueness.  This non-judging attitude is a rare quality that I admire.  She naturally leads people, accepting each person for who they are.

Her passion for dancing really speaks to me.  This is an interest we share.  Music is sacred and the dancing begins.  Her love for dancing and country music truly is in her bones and blood.  Hearing her recount days of dancing and singing reminds me that when I couldn’t care less about either, this is when I need them most.  So, this New Year I will dance like no one is watching and sing to the angels above.

Cathy is rooted in her spiritual practices.  This gives her peace and comfort.  A connection to faith is an anchor.  This anchor is different; it doesn’t weigh her down; it helps her flow like the Little  Judique River.

One afternoon, not long ago, I shared in Cathy’s sing-along time.  This experience was powerful.  I was rooted in love and peace that sometimes had a sad longing, too.  My heart was open and joyful as I sang these old songs.  So deep and meaningful!  The emotion unlocks any mystery, and I felt light and joyful.  My new motto: Sing today.

Cathy has a genuine gladness to see me.  This reminds me of the value friendships add to our well-being.  Cathy  is my amazing new friend.

The Dancing Never Stops

Dancing through the days
Judique , Oh fair is the place
The Water dances under my feet
Mom, Dad and fourteen the crew
We never wanted for much
Loved through and through

The dancing never stops

Cooking, Mending caring for babes
Mom a gift of God
Hard work on the ocean
A fresh lobster from Dad’s lunch tin
Brightens the eyes and nourishes spirit

The dancing never stops

The lull or a yip of John Allan singing
The kitchen was the place to be
This is when House parties were enchanting hymns
A step here and there, heels would click
Dancing and singing at home is where life begins

The dancing never stops

Danced down to 59 Pleasant
First apartment in Antigonish
Many nights Step dancing with Minnie Beaton

Noticed my guy for his dancing
He swept me of my feet
We danced all night and all through the week
Married in the morning sun
Cape Breton Island where, I am from
danced some more , danced all night
Our days and weeks turned to years
The dancing always fun
Traveled a bit, working in big Canadian cities
Driving in Toronto scared the shit out of me
Overseas, China an interesting place
still glad to be home

The dancing never stops

Home to the Maritimes is where we feel best
A cozy home, custom built for two
You are my sunshine, always true
Swing the girl you love best
Jeans, heels and bright smiling eyes
Forty years plus of love, something money can’t buy
A dance or two adds up fast
I bet 4500 dances or more, whose counting… Oh, I miss my dear.

The dancing never stops

In Great Spirit I do trust
Prayer is a blanket
Comforts when down in the dumps

The dancing never stops

Hockey, Baseball, Darts too
Summer BBQ and Country tunes
Butterscotch ripple ice cream a cookie or two
The sewing queen
Lilacs, a smell, the color for me
A treasured friend Mary, knows me inside and out
These are all part of this story too

The dancing never stops

Now, settled again at 64 Pleasant
This where my journey may end
Glad to be here

The dancing never stops

This material was collected from, and inspired by, Cathy Cogger of Judique.  The written material was created by Tracy Matheson in the fall of 2011.  All photos by Tracy Matheson.

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