A couple of nights ago, while listening to the music of Gordon Lightfoot (who, by the way, is one of my favorite singers/songwriters), one song, If You Could Read My Mind, brought back memories I thought were long-since dead of a short-lived post-college crush. Every time I listen to his music, long-forgotten memories surface, memories that stick with me for days after I listen to the lyrics. So it was with the musical set to which I listened the other night. Another tune, in particular, has stayed with me from that night: The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The lyrics to that song represent, in my opinion, among the best story-telling that’s ever been done. One line is especially haunting: “Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?” That line, alone, can turn a spigot to unleash a river of tears.
Well, as music sometimes does, Lightfoot’s tunes have been playing in my head since I happened to listen to a few tunes the other night. And when that happens, I go exploring, trying to learn more about the music and its creator. So, this morning, I explored a bit. I learned that Lightfoot was spurred to write the song, in part, after reading a Newsweek article entitled “The Cruelest Month.” I also learned that Lightfoot considers the song to be his best work. And I learned that he’s scheduled to perform in Dallas in a few days; March 10, to be precise. I wish I could go. But that’s not to be. I did hear see him perform once, though. I don’t remember precisely when, but I know it was at Jones Hall in Houston, sometime between the time I got married and the time I moved away in 1985.
Gordon Lightfoot is seventy-eight years old, so he has a limited amount of time left to perform (but so do we all); I hope he is able to celebrate his ninety-eighth birthday on stage, singing The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.