PEI·Photos

Cast iron crows in costume a whimsical tribute by grieving husband

A collection of cast iron crows dressed up in tiny outfits is turning heads in Savage Harbour, P.E.I., and online.

'I miss her dearly but the crows keep me in contact with her,' widower says of late wife

Ted Hoddy makes the crows outfits and changes them regularly. (CBC)

A collection of cast iron crows dressed up in tiny outfits is turning heads in Savage Harbour, P.E.I., and online.

These aren't just any crows — they were created in loving memory of Joy Hoddy, who loved the birds.

Even when I look at them, I still cry, I can't help it. It feels so good and yet it rips my heart out.— Ted Hoddy

"When my wife was a young girl, probably 5 or 6 years old, she had a pet crow and she loved it dearly," explained Ted Hoddy, the man behind the costumes.

"It would swing on the clothesline wire and she would talk to it, and from that day on, she loved crows."

Hoddy wanted something for his late wife Joy to look down on and 'really enjoy.' (CBC)

The Hoddys, originally from Ontario, visited Prince Edward Island years ago and camped for two weeks at Skinner's Pond. When they left, they agreed they'd like to someday retire to the Island.

'I want my journey to end on this Island'

In 2013, Joy was diagnosed with breast cancer.

"They told us they could not cure her, all they could do was treat her," said Hoddy. "She came to me one day and said I'm feeling okay, can we go to P.E.I.?"

They moved to the Island, but the cancer came back. Joy died March 9, 2016.

"Joy said to me, 'This is my journey — I want my journey to end on this Island, this beautiful Island' and that's where it has ended," reflected Hoddy. "And I'm staying on this Island because I don't want to leave her behind."

Ted and Joy Hoddy had been together for 44 years, married for 39. (CBC)

The couple had been together for 44 years, married for 39.

'In honour of my sweetheart'

A few months after his wife's death, Hoddy dropped into Moonsnail Soapworks in Charlottetown. When he saw the cast iron crows the store sells, he was instantly smitten.

"I said, 'I have to have them in honour of my sweetheart,'" he explained.

Originally he was going to buy a sewing machine and make outfits for the crows. With help from the staff at Moonsnail, he found some patterns for which he didn't need to sew. 

Hoddy learned to make costumes for the crows. (CBC)

"I made four different suits and I change them once a week and I set them on the front yard at the cottage in memory of my doll," said Hoddy.

"I thought that they needed something for Joy to look down on and really, really enjoy," he said about the costumes. "I just thought it would be beautiful for her."

The tuxedo and the tiny monocle have been a particular hit with the staff at Moonsnail. 

Ted Hoddy changes the crows outfits 0:45

'Come see them'

When Moonsnail posted photos of Hoddy's crows on social media, they were blown away by the response. 

"Everybody has just loved the crows," Hoddy said with a smile. "3 Edgars Lane. You're all welcome to come see them."

Everyone is welcome to see the crows, at 3 Edgars Lane in Savage Harbour, P.E.I. (CBC)

Two neighbours have asked him to pick up crows for them, and tourists stop and pose for photos with the whimsical birds.

'It rips my heart out'

The crows have helped him deal with his grief, admits Hoddy, but his loss is still very obvious as he holds a photo of his wife. He has her ashes in a specially-made ring that he wears.

"Even when I look at them, I still cry, I can't help it. It feels so good and yet it rips my heart out."

In the winter, Hoddy plans to bring the crows with him to his apartment in Charlottetown. (CBC)

"It's a wonderful honour to do this for my Joy," reflected Hoddy. "I miss her dearly but the crows keep me in contact with her."

As for the crows?

"I might make a couple more suits," smiled Hoddy, who plans to take the crows with him to his apartment in Charlottetown over the winter.