Cold Missouri Waters

Those who know me know that I don’t do Public Displays of Religion. What other people do is whatever gets them through the night and is no business of mine. This is a Private Moment but one that I will share. If it helps anyone, I’m pleased. If it embarrasses anyone, I’m sorry. If it offends anyone, that’s not my problem.

There have been very few times in my life when something has hit me so hard that it was hard to put out of my thoughts. The recent tragedy in Yarnell, Arizona has become one of them.

The  19 lives lost and the many other lives that have been shattered by the events have led me to a place I don’t often go.

This song, which I first heard performed by Tom O’Donnell at the Kingston Trio Fantasy Camp last year, was so disturbing to me when I first heard him do it that I couldn’t listen to it on his most recent cd. It was written by the Canadian singer-songwriter James Keelaghan and tells the story of the Mann Gulch Fire in Montana in 1949. The story is told by the survivor of the disaster that took the lives of 13 firefighters. Only 3 survived the fire including the narrator in  the song, Wag Dodge.

I’m looking for hope and it’s in short supply where I am right now. Oddly enough, this song has helped me deal with the disaster. I didn’t know any of the men or their families but it’s been a long time, possibly since September 11, 2001, that I’ve been this affected by a tragedy.

Here’s Tom singing

cold missouri waters


  1. Jeff McDonald

    Thanks for posting, this, Paul. I think Tom did a great job with this one. See ya at camp! –Jeff McDonald—

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s