Today it's Snow
Sep 29, 2008
|Not the white stuff - Hank Snow the singin' ranger - Monday, September 29
If that’s what a measly ‘Tropical Storm’ feels like I’m glad we didn’t have to ride out a real hurricane - even a category one. We woke to a quiet dawn with only occasional gusts, but for a while last night there were a few anxious moments. A few times the motorhome shook so hard and abruptly that it was almost like something solid was hitting it.
As we were getting ready to leave I talked to Jim and learned that the power had gone out in town last night. They were there visiting friends and they ended up eating dinner by candlelight, but on top of the hill the power never even flickered. Jim said they had also gone down to the harbor last night and the storm surge raised the bow of the Bluenose ll high enough to snap her bowline. There again, storm surge and flooding is something you don’t have to worry about on top of the highest hill in town.
I had worried that the picnic tables in the park might get airborne though, and in a real hurricane they probably would have. But Monday morning they were all where they were supposed to be so I think we were lucky. We disconnected and headed out, turning west again and following the southern shore. Driving through Lunenburg on the way out, and along Highway 3 there were a lot of leaves and small branches down, but little in the way of any real damage.
The coast road took us through a lot of small towns, and at one point we had to board a small cable ferry to cross a wide river mouth. The guy running the ferry was friendly and wanted to know all about where we’d been. I asked him how the storm had been there and he raised his eyebrows and said it had been hard but had done little damage, compared to Hurricane Juan which blew through Halifax five years ago and left a path of destruction. Everyone seems to agree that we dodged a bullet last night.
Halfway between Halifax and Cape Sable there is a town called Liverpool, and next to Liverpool the smaller town of Brooklyn. Brooklyn is the birthplace of country singer Clarence Eugene ‘Hank’ Snow, and Liverpool is home to the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame. Bet you didn’t know Nova Scotia even had a Country Music Hall of Fame, but they do and Hank Snow is their most famous son. Being country music lovers we wanted to stop and pay our respects to Hank. We found the Hall of Fame in an old CN Railroad Depot on the outskirts of town.
The parking lot was almost empty, and the few cars in the lot belonged to the woman running the place and a group of four old duffers who had shown up to play some music for the passengers of a tour bus they were expecting. For the hour we were there the old guys sang and played non stop, but the tour bus never showed up. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t so good either, and with them playing we couldn’t play any of the Hank Snow records that are set up so you can listen to them on an old Victrola.
Their wives were there to support them, and it was kind of sad that the bus didn’t come. By the time we left the tour bus was an hour late and you had the feeling that it was never going to show up. I bought a CD and Hank Snow’s autobiography so we can enjoy the music while we’re traveling, but we don’t need them to remind us of the little museum in the depot. It was a warm and inviting place and we were glad we stopped.
Hank was born in 1914 and his parents divorced when he was still a boy. He lived with a grandmother who was very abusive, and when his mother remarried his stepfather was even more abusive. He turned to music to find solace, and eventually became an icon to country music lovers the world over, but he never forgot his childhood experiences and when he was successful he set up a foundation to aid and support abused children, and he worked tirelessly for that cause the rest of his adult life.
Early in Hank’s career he traveled from Canada to the United States in search of success. He did shows with his trick horse Shawnee and they were good enough to keep food on the table, but real success eluded him, even after Ernest Tubb got him an appearance on the Grand Ol’ Opry. He almost gave up, but then he wrote “I’m Movin’ On” and his career soared. The song was number 1 on the charts for 29 weeks a record that is still unequaled. His recording contract with RCA began in 1936 and was the longest running recording contract of any artist ever. He was inducted into both the Canadian and American Country Music Halls of Fame, and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.
For the rest of the afternoon we drove to the music of “I’m Movin’ On”, “It Don’t Hurt Anymore”, “I’ve Been Everywhere”, “You Turned a Beggar Into a King”, “A Fool Such as I” and many more. It was such a treat to hear Hank Snow’s voice again, and be moved by feelings his song’s invoke.
By early evening (which is coming much earlier now) we were in the town of Shelburne, where there is a nice historic harbor and a Provincial Park that is already closed for the season. We pulled into a parking lot next to the marsh and camped there anyway. It was dark and quiet and absolutely beautiful - and best of all it was free again!