[drawing by Anthony Hare]
Those not familiar with Canadian folk legend Stan Rogers should get to know his work. From my memory, I remember that he was a son of Nova Scotian parents and grew up in Ontario. His Atlantic roots never left him and before long he was writing songs about fishermen, explorers, and the Canadian workingman. In 1983, He died at age 33 of smoke inhalation while helping other people off a landed plane that had caught fire.
I remember hearing Stan Rogers' songs at a benefit concert that hippie friends through for us in the Rexton Community Hall after our house burnt to the ground in 1983. I remember the lines "God damn them all" and "I'm a broken man on a Halifax peer" from the a capella song "Barrett's Privateers" and the chorus to "Northwest Passage."
When paddling down the MacKenzie River 4 1/2 years ago with Kris, Ty and Eric, we would sing as much as we could remember to Northwest Passage. We forced our way into a tumultuous Beaufort Sea with the chorus on our lips
Ah, for just one time
I would take the Northwest Passage
To find the hand of Franklin
reaching for the Beaufort Sea;
Tracing one warm line
through a land so wild and savage
And make a Northwest Passage to the sea.