Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Rodney Small

In January 1979, I was looking at an atlas in my office about mid-morning when a female work colleague walked by and observed what I was doing. We had the following conversation:

She: “What are you doing, looking for the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald?”

Me: “No, I’m planning a trip. But what do you mean by ‘the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’?”

She: “Oh, you know. That song by Gordon Lightfoot.”

Me: “I’m not familiar with that one. How does it go?”

She: “Well, it’s a real long song about a ship that sank in the Great Lakes a few years ago.”

Me: “Oh, yeah. I remember that incident, but I didn’t know there was a song about it.”

She: “Well, there is. But I guess you don’t hear it that much on the radio because of its length.”

Me: “Well, if I ever hear it, I’ll let you know.”

We went on to talk about other things. Late that afternoon, I got a ride home from work (back then I normally took the bus). I had no intention of going out again once I entered my apartment, but my wife was preparing dinner and she informed me that we needed some milk.

I stalled for as long as I could, hoping to delay the inevitable. But finally, I walked to my car to go to the supermarket. When I started my car, the radio came on. What were the first words I heard? The final chorus of “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”!

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