As a child, during long road trips to the coast or the desert, my parents impressed upon my young, squishy brain many different flavors of music. I grew to appreciate Chuck Berry, Elvis (Mom could NOT get enough of “Blue Hawaii”. I swear, it was a thing), and Barry Manilow. However, I would always stop fidgeting in the back seat of the car and stop poking my older brother whenever these gentleman lilted through the car speakers.
John Denver, Jim Croce, and Gordon Lightfoot.
John had a country twang which was not really my taste, but I LOVED his voice and could not get enough of “Grandma’s Feather Bed”. As an adult, my heart soars whenever I hear “The Eagle and the Hawk”. Jim Croce on the other hand, helped me get my funk on. My butt would wiggle in the seat as I would jam my childhood self to “Bad Leroy Brown” and “Don’t Mess Around with Jim”.
Yet one of these folk masters would consistently wrap my attention around his golden tones and that minstrel was Gordon Lightfoot. In 2nd grade, I had the most awesome opportunity, along with thirty other kids, to sit in the cafeteria for a private Gordon Lightfoot concert when he was in town. Sitting on one of the plastic, bendy chairs and with the guitar rested upon his knee, he talked to us. He would answer questions and take requests. I raised my hand and asked him if he could play my favorite song ever. “Sure, darling. What song is that?”
“That song you sing about the boat sinking. The Wreck….The Wreck….”, my memory faltered but he grinned and started the first few cords. Strumming I perked up and smiled, “Yes! That one!” And he sang to me. He sang to all of us.
Yesterday I was at a local coffee shop sipping my drug of choice and ka-nitting away on a pair of socks. The wind howled and buffeted against the storefront, while the rain opted to perceive the world sideways. At that moment of perfect synchronicity, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” wound it’s haunting tune through my ipod and back into my memories.