My kids went through a strange phase a year or so ago. They became fixated on the Edmund Fitzgerald. I know, not exactly your typical childhood infatuation. It started with my son and Titanic. He loved everything to do with shipwrecks and we continually borrowed books from the library discussing nautical disasters and mysteries. Then one day “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” was on the radio and my wife pointed out to my son that this song is about a shipwreck.
His eyes lit up and the very next day I was frantically searching the library catalogue for children’s books on the Edmund Fitzgerald. For the record, there are not many. Okay, none, really. Hit an iceberg and drown 1200 people; great children’s book material. Mysteriously sink during a storm and drown 29 men; umm, let’s just leave that for the folk singers.
While it has waned somewhat over the past year, their love of the Fitz remained strong enough that we took the kids to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum this past summer to see the authentic bell retrieved from the Edmund Fitzgerald. Not your average family summer vacation highlight but a fantastic trip nonetheless. The kids were suitably awed and we now have Edmund Fitzgerald fridge magnets and each have a poster on their bedroom wall of the mighty ore hauler.
That song, of course, is legendary and is the product of great Canadian singer/songwriter, Gordon Lightfoot. It’s a song I love along with legions of others worldwide. It is, however, not my favourite Gordon Lightfoot song. I’d never been a fan in my younger days mostly out of ignorance. I just never heard his music nor sought it out until my twenties. Eventually I was ready to be schooled in the breadth and greatness of Gordon’s music.
I have an aunt who was schooled long before I and she remains a loyal Lightfoot fan. In honour of her birthday last week, I’m kicking off your weekend with my favourite Gord song, “Sundown” from the album of the same name released in 1974.