Sunday, November 12, 2006

November and the Fitz

I found another article that remembered the Fitz. It's in the of Fond Dr Lac, Wisconsin written by their managing editor, Michael Mentzer. Actually the remembrance turned out to be hiding in an article paying tribute to the month of November entitled "There's much to be said for gales of November." I guess it's an interesting perception on November that much of it many people has generally taken for granted.

For instance, historically the author reminded us that "November is the month devoted to military veterans and to the Armistice, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, when peace put an end to the European bloodbath of World War I." He then stated that "This 11th month of the year harbors history-making elections and nation-saving decisions, the stirring of hunting passion, Wisconsin's nine-day deer-hunting tradition, and a day to give thanks for all those gifts so nonchalantly taken for granted all year long."

He also related things that may or may not be well-known to people outside Fond Du Lac or Wisconsin: "Two years ago, on a rare crystal-clear late fall night, November unveiled one of the most brilliant showings of the Northern Lights in modern times." And that Wisconsin has a nine-day deer-hunting tradition in November.

From all those preliminaries led to the following:

And before I forget to mention it, there is a power in November like no other.

That thought made its presence known as the police scanner in The Reporter Information Center blared out reports of accident after accident Friday afternoon and evening. In the seeming wave of a wand, November transformed the glories of Indian Summer in Wisconsin into the nightmare of an electrified freak wintry blast — marking the 31st anniversary of the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior.

The haunting Gordon Lightfoot ballad and the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald hold a special place in Wisconsin history for those who take that sort of thing seriously. With a nasty north wind and the sting of sleet on my face Friday afternoon, I couldn't help but feel the song and listen to the lyrics in my head.

The Reporter's weather records from November of 1975 show an unseasonably pleasant day on that fateful Nov. 10 — a high of 59 degrees and a bit of rain. But even here it was windy, with gusts up to 40 mph. By the time we called it a day that early evening of Nov. 10, it was a different world on the towering waves of Lake Superior. Like most of the world, we had no way of knowing what was happening to the 729-foot iron ore-laden Edmund Fitzgerald and the 29 men that made up its crew.
The suthor concludes his article by quoting a few lines of Gordon Lightfoot's lyrics, including two of my favorates:
"Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?"

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