Monday, June 5


Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?

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I remember when I was young traveling with my father through Ohio and staying with friends on the Great Lakes. Trips we made late each winter. It was there that I first heard tales of shipwrecks and, of course, the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald was one that fascinated me in a most morbid fashion. A story I heard again and again as I grew up, from people who knew some of the men lost on that tragic voyage.

"The lake it is said never gives up her dead when the skies of november turn gloomy" To put it rather bluntly, the reason so few bodies are recovered from off shore drownings in Lake Superior is because the bodies first tend to sink (or are still on board a vessel) but because of the depth and frigid temperatures, the victims do not naturally decompose. Because of the lack of oxygen producing organisms, the bodies remain on the bottom.

The last sighting of 'The Fitz'.

This led to my morbid fascination, and later, quite obsessive study of shipwrecks. Tonight I have on my bedside table both 'Treasure Island' and 'Moby Dick'. Hardbound and demanding my attention. For the sea is calling and I am answering that call.

I have 'The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald' in my iPod and was listening to it yesterday when a man pulled up next to me in a convertible and guess what was blaring from his car stereo? Yes, the same song!

A kindred spirit I thought to myself as he noticed the echo of his own song and tipped his invisible hat to me.

It is a small world.

Listen --> Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

by Gordon Lightfoot

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they called "Gitche Gumee."
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
when the skies of November turn gloomy.

With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty,
that good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
when the "Gales of November" came early.

The ship was the pride of the American side
coming back from some mill in Wisconsin.
As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
with a crew and good captain well seasoned,

concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
when they left fully loaded for Cleveland.
And later that night when the ship's bell rang,
could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
and a wave broke over the railing.
And ev'ry man knew, as the captain did too
'twas the witch of November come stealin'.

The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
when the Gales of November came slashin'.
When afternoon came it was freezin' rain
in the face of a hurricane west wind.

When suppertime came the old cook came on deck sayin'.
"Fellas, it's too rough t'feed ya."
At seven P.M. a main hatchway caved in; he said,
"Fellas, it's bin good t'know ya!"

The captain wired in he had water comin' in
and the good ship and crew was in peril.
And later that night when 'is lights went outta sight
came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does any one know where the love of God goes
when the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
if they'd put fifteen more miles behind 'er.

They might have split up or they might have capsized;
they may have broke deep and took water.
And all that remains is the faces and the names
of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
in the rooms of her ice-water mansion.
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams;
the islands and bays are for sportsmen.

And farther below Lake Ontario
takes in what Lake Erie can send her,
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
with the Gales of November remembered.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
in the "Maritime Sailors' Cathedral."
The church bell chimed 'til it rang twenty-nine times
for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they call "Gitche Gumee."
"Superior," they said, "never gives up her dead
when the gales of November come early!"

© 1976 Moose Music, Inc.

Happy Musical Monday!