Monday, 24 September 2007

When the gales of November came early

Since commercial shipping began to ply the Five Great Lakes in America, there have been 6,000 shipwrecks. Half have never been found. There are three storms the sailors still talk about:

The Great Storm of 1913 claimed 250 lives and 12 ships.

The Storm of 1940 claimed 100 lives and two ships.

The Storm of 1975 claimed only one ship. On the 10th November,1975 the Edmund Fitzgerald sank and 29 men lost their lives. Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot immortalised the wreck in his song and I cannot listen to it without a shiver going down my spine. Likewise, whenever the winter storms come early I am reminded of it.

Last night the wind howled and a full gale roared around the house. Sleep is always hard won when the weather turns fierce like like this and there is always that concern that the pager might go off at any time. It didn't but it might have and as I stood shaving this morning I couldn't help but catch myself humming the tune to the 'Edmund Fitzgerald'.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
Superior, they say, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early.

(Gordon Lightfoot)


Will said...

I first heard that song years ago and rediscovered it only last year. It certainly is a spinetingler!

lifeboatjohn said...

My father used to pay it to me at bedtime!

Will said...

Well, that's jolly cheerful! I'm surprised you didn't have nightmares (and weren't put off the Navy!)

lifeboatjohn said...

I think that he was trying to put me off the Merchant navy......hence I joined the RN!