Well, it's been too long between postings here. I'm currently at the Florida Folk Festival in White Springs for the next three days and I'll try to keep you updated. Usually held on Memorial Day weekend in May, the festival was postponed this year due to wildfires burning very close to the festival site. So, Veterans Day weekend was the alternate. It starts this morning and the weather is BEAUTIFUL! Instead of the blazing hot (no pun intended - really) temps of the usual May date, it's cool, crisp and clear. Should make tuning quite interesting. I'll let you know more later. In the meantime, I've got a new song and I thought I'd share the lyrics and The Story Behind the Song. A powerful late summer hurricane is tracked for several days before it makes landfall on a southern U.S. coastline. Inexplicably, government officials fail to set an evacuation plan in motion until it is too late. Those who are able escape, but the have-nots are left behind. Roaring ashore with 200 mph winds and a 22-foot storm surge, the storm overwhelms low-lying areas. Hundreds die. You might think I'm describing Hurricane Katrina, but I'm not. I'm talking about the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 that struck the Florida Keys seventy years to the week before Katrina. More than 250 of the 400-plus victims of that earlier storm were World War I veterans who had been sent to the Keys by the Roosevelt administration to build a highway to Key West. A relief train stood by in Miami to evacuate the men in the event of a hurricane's approach, but by the time government officials called for it, it was too late. They were the forgotten members of the Lost Generation, traumatized veterans of the Great War, WWI who grasped for one last chance at redemption under Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. Six hundred of them were shuffled off to the Florida Keys to build the Overseas Highway to Key West. On Labor Day weekend 1935, the most intense hurricane ever to strike the U.S. took aim on their flimsy shacks, and the two men responsible for evacuating the veterans from harm's way waited too long. After the storm, Ernest Hemingway took his boat from his home in Key West to aid the veterans in the Upper Keys but he found few survivors on the wreckage. His public cries of outrage bound him forever to the storm. Outraged by the needless deaths, novelist and Key West resident he initiated a public outcry that led ultimately to Congressional hearings, which were widely condemned as a whitewash. Hemingway published a vehement protest essay in New Masses, a communist journal, and it was one factor landing him on the FBI's watch list years later. (The foregoing taken from The Publishers Notes and a Review of Phil Scott's book, Hemingway's Hurricane, Ragged Mountain Press 2006) After Katrina, many songs were written about the failure of the government officals to act responsibly and I was looking for a different perspective. I found this one right here at home. As we all should know by now, those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it and 70 years after the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 hostory repeated itself with a vengence in New Orleans. Interestingly, Katrina was only the third strongest hurricane to hit the US in the 20th century - the Labor Day Storm of 1935 was the strongest. So, here's the song, Hemingway's Hurricane - let me know what you think. Hemingway's Hurricane ©2007 Doug Spears Labor Day, '35, Pressure falling, rising tide, South by southeast, great wind with no name Remembered as Hemingway's hurricane, Remembered as Hemingway's hurricane. Doughboys who fought World War I, Hard times upon them, Depression brung, New Deal jobs in the Florida Keys, Highway to build, the Overseas, Highway to build, the Overseas. Now who left you there and who knows why, Old Papa demands with a firey eye, Careless or callous, no less blame, After three score and and ten relive the shame, And remember Hemingway's hurricane. Send down the train she's starting to blow, Too little too late no where to go, Shacks and shanties, plywood and tin, Oh Lord watch over the souls of these men, Oh Lord watch over the souls of these men. Now who left you there, who knows why, Old Papa demands with a firey eye, Careless or callous, no less blame, After three score and and ten relive the shame, And remember Hemingway's hurricane. Labor Day, '35, Pressure falling, rising tide, South by southeast, great wind with no name Remembered as Hemmingway's hurricane, Remember Hemingway's hurricane.