Tuesday, June 15, 2010

April 1931 - June 2001

It’s nine years ago to day since my dad died. We didn’t always see eye to eye and I moved away and didn’t see him that often, but I miss him just the same. One of the things that I can’t get used to is finding something I know that he’d be interested in. He’d had loved my postcards. Thanks to the internet I’ve grown very fond of a lot of Gordon Lightfoot songs in recent years. I know that my dad would have liked this song. The story of the navvies that built the railway across Canada. He was never afraid of hard work well done and I’m sure that if he’d have lived then he’d have been ‘Living on stew and drinking bad whiskey’ with the best of them. My paternal grandfather was born in the US, but his parents had to return to England when he lost his fingers in a saw mill accident. So it would have been in his blood.



Canadian Railroad Trilogy, ©1967 by Gordon Lightfoot

There was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run
When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun
Long before the white man and long before the wheel
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real

But time has no beginnings and the history has no bounds
As to this verdant country they came from all around
They sailed upon her waterways and they walked the forests tall
Built the mines, mills and the factories for the good of us all

And when the young man's fancy was turnin' to the spring
The railroad men grew restless for to hear the hammers ring
Their minds were overflowing with the visions of their day
And many a fortune lost and won and many a debt to pay

For they looked in the future and what did they see
They saw an iron road running from the sea to the sea
Bringing the goods to a young growing land
All up from the seaports and into their hands

Look away said they across this mighty land
From the eastern shore to the western strand

Bring in the workers and bring up the rails
We gotta lay down the tracks and tear up the trails
Open her heart let the life blood flow
Gotta get on our way 'cause we're moving too slow

Bring in the workers and bring up the rails
We're gonna lay down the tracks and tear up the trails
Open her heart let the life blood flow
Gotta get on our way 'cause we're moving too slow
Get on our way 'cause we're moving too slow

Behind the blue Rockies the sun is declining
The stars they come stealing at the close of the day
Across the wide prairie our loved ones lie sleeping
Beyond the dark ocean in a place far away

We are the navvies who work upon the railway
Swinging our hammers in the bright blazing sun
Living on stew and drinking bad whiskey
Bending our backs til the long days are done

We are the navvies who work upon the railway
Swinging our hammers in the bright blazing sun
Laying down track and building the bridges
Bending our old backs til the railroad is done

So over the mountains and over the plains
Into the muskeg and into the rain
Up the St. Lawrence all the way to Gaspe
Swinging our hammers and drawing our pay
Layin' 'em in and tying them down
Away to the bunkhouse and into the town
A dollar a day and a place for my head
A drink to the living, a toast to the dead

Oh the song of the future has been sung
All the battles have been won
On the mountain tops we stand
All the world at our command
We have opened up her soil
With our teardrops and our toil

For there was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run
When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun
Long before the white man and long before the wheel
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real
When the green dark forest was too silent to be real
And many are the dead men too silent to be real

5 comments:

soulMerlin said...

Lovely post Angie...

"And many are the dead men too silent to be real"

But sometimes they speak to us in our memories and our dreams

xhenry

Nancyrowina said...

My mother died years ago and I get a similar feeling when I see or hear something she would have liked. She was big fan of Billie Holiday so hearing her always brings back memories. Strange you couldn't visit my squidoo lens as the link is right as the settings should allow it. I've just updated so maybe it's something to do with that, could you try it again at some point and let me know if it's working?

Nancyrowina said...

There was mistake with the link I've corrected it now, sorry about all the fuss, it supposed to be so straight forward.

Véronique said...

Lovely post! It's clear you cherish the memories, even if things weren't perfect.

Dru Marland said...

My father listened to some really good music, which rubbed off on me... and latterly had Peters and Lee albums and stuff, which didn't... you reminded me of this film with Buster Keaton on the Canadian Pacific. Have you seen it? -for people with itchy feet, and a curiosity about what's over the next hill...

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5467072572265417382#