Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Train of Thought

Gordon Lightfoot's, "Detroit's Maritime Sailor's Cathedral" aka Mariner's Church.

We spent our lives growing up near Lake St. Clair and played in the water further north in the St. Clair River. One of our favorite things to do in our misguided teens was to get huge inner tubes with six packs of beer tied on and jump in the river well above a chosen landing spot. From there we could move downriver with the current and watch the boats and ships move by. Once in a blue moon, we'd become aware that we'd drifted way too close to the shipping lanes and have to paddle our asses off to get out of the way of the freighters making their way up and down the waters. Talk about playing chicken...I guess I'm rather lucky I lived to tattle on myself.

Lake St. Clair, while not a Great Lake, is very wide and it's impossible to see most of the ships from shore. But the St. Clair River is a narrow band of water with some very shallow areas that make for great human frolicking. The river makes travel around the Great Lakes possible--if you want to sail from Chicago to the Atlantic Ocean, you can do so if you travel through the areas I used to swim. Some spots along the river are so narrow, I think one could spit and hit Canada. It's a beautiful shoreline, and watching the ships go by is a favorite way to spend time. If one studies long enough, one can learn the names of all of the different ships that carry their loads back and forth by heart (and shape). I'm sure if I could think hard, I could recall having seen the Edmund Fitzgerald before its demise. I don't remember having seen that ship, but I'm certain I probably did.

On date night Saturday, when leaving downtown Detroit, we drove past Mariner's Church and this always makes me think of that ship, those sailors lost and of course, Gordon Lightfoot. I've never been inside Mariner's Church and always think it would be interesting to see. I don't think about it until the church is right in front of me.

One of these days.

Photo of Mariner's Church from Wiki Commons


unmitigated me said...

One of my best friends in high school was about ten years old when they held the memorial service. "The church bell chimed till it rang twenty-nine times, for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald..." That was my buddy whom they picked from the crowd to ring the bells.

Gail said...

What a great tale, a wonderful song and a sad part of history

Anonymous said...

I have fond memories of floating down the river. It would take three hours, the river was cool enough where you didn't need a cooler...or was it the beer never lasted long enough to get warm.

Another float down has been occurring in Port Huron the last couple of years.... a local group has put on a float down on the St.Clair River. Last year they had over 6,000 participants. Can you imagine the amount of six Packs floating down the River. The St Clair County Sheriff and coast guard keep the shipping lane clear. They floaters put in at Light house Park in Port Huron and exit at Marysville City Park. You should see what people float on...Coolers, dragons, kayaks, canoes, inner tubes; chairs....It is fun to watch, of course you gotta have a screw loose to float down under the blue water Bridge....(Lake Huron necks down to a mile under the bridge and the current is at its peak)

This year the Sheriff and Coast guard are denying a permit for the organizer. It is a public Water Way......Will see if it happens.


jeannette said...

Two more nights and off you go:):)