Not stopping for anything

Stephen Roberts
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Red Bay senior remains active in community

Ron Pike is not letting any health issues slow him down.

The 66-year-old Red Bay resident is about six years removed from an openheart surgery that he nearly didn’t pull through.

And in those six years, Pike has remained ever active – berry picking, repairing his wharf, and now helping out the community with Come Home Year preparations, which is scheduled to take place later this month.

The former fishermen is presently painting the Orange Lodge in the community along with friend Nelson Belbin.

The lodge, initially put there by the Orange Order, was turned over to a committee a number of years ago. Pike says he can remember when it was built although he wasn’t very old. For a while, it was used as a schoolhouse and today is used primarily as a tourist site.

He says it’s been a while since it was painted. He would have it finished by now, but the weather has prevented him from getting out.

Prior to this, Pike painted the fences for both of the town’s graveyards and made preparations to the headstones of his paternal grandparents and great grandfather, which had fallen down over the years.

“I took them up and drilled them with the electric drill and braced them, put cement there, and now they’re just good as new,” he explains. “I painted them off with Javex.”

Pike also still maintains the wharf that his father built before he was born.

Two years ago, he started rebuilding the wharf but an iceberg came into the bay and foundered on it last summer.

But this didn’t deter Pike, who was more than prepared to start it all over again from scratch.

Today, the whole wharf, building included, is painted and re-shingled. The wood on the wharf, which he got from Port Hope Simpson, is also brand new. Pike even cut out and painted wooden porpoises to put up on his shed.

However, this is all a far cry from where he was six years ago.

According to Pike, after his open heart surgery, he was unconscious for eight days and wasn’t expected to pull through. After recovering and returning home from the surgery, Pike experienced tremendous difficulty breathing.

“I used to go to bed and open up the window to get enough air and the snow would be blowing in,” he says.

To fix his windpipe, which had narrowed to the size of a pencil, he had emergency surgery months later.

“When the doctor cut the hole through, it was just like I was in another world,” he exclaims. “What a relief when you can catch your breath.”

A pipe was inserted and he has since had three lasers on his throat to widen the breathing valve.

Pike will always have some difficulty breathing and he says some days are better for him to work than others.

When he does work, he always makes sure to get some solid rest.

“Most of the time, I got to lie down after dinner and take a rest,” he says. “And when I gets an hour of rest, I go back at it again.”

Once the Orange Lodge is painted, he’s looking on to his next project.

“I haven’t decided what next. I got a bit of work to do on my wharf yet, where the ice got a couple sticks knocked out of place.”

“And the bakeapples will be coming soon.”

Organizations: Orange Order

Geographic location: Red Bay, Port Hope Simpson

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