They say some days fate comes to meet you, and this was one of those days. It was August 1963 and young Jim was only 10-years old at the time.
His parents owned and operated a small restaurant and service station in Daniel’s Harbour on the Great Northern Peninsula. One afternoon, several “ important” men in dark suits and driving big black cars stopped there to eat. His mom fed them a good meal, but she was short on the typical dessert offering, apple pie and ice cream.
His mother resigned herself to serving up plain vanilla ice cream when she saw Jim come through the door with the perfect solution. Like many children back then Jim had been out with friends picking raspberries for the family. He dropped into the restaurant on his way home with his proud bounty.
Despite his mother’s vision of serving those raspberries to these important visitors, Jim was not keen on the idea. After all, he protested, that he had picked the berries for his families, not a bunch of strangers! Eventually, Jim gave up his harvest for the good of the restaurant’s reputation.
Those dark-suited men enjoyed their raspberries and were very complimentary, even inquiring as to their origins. When his mom boasted that her 10-year old son had picked them, the leader of the group asked to meet him.
It was the first time that Jim met Joseph R. Smallwood. Jim was curious even then – he wanted to know what the man did. The little man, not much taller than Jim, explained that he was the Premier and he and his companion Jim Chalker were “in Government”.
“You mean you run the whole province?” Asked Jim. To which the man with the bow tie replied, “You could say that!”
Jim decided then and there that he needed to learn more about a career in politics… and of course he did, but he never gave up his love for raspberry picking!
The Jim Bennett Team