Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Road That Couldn't Be Done

There is an anthology (CD) being done by those who have written songs about the Alaska Highway. Recording is in process and a couple of weeks ago I went and recorded a short (4 line) voice over for Barb Munro’s song, “97th Regiment”.
            By the way, the 97th Regiment of the US Army Engineers was one of several regiments who helped build the Alaska Highway. At the time enlisted within the 97th where all black and may still be for all I know. Most were from the south and the winter of ’42-’43 was not a pleasant time for these young men.
            While I was at the studio I was asked if I knew someone with a poem or rhyme that would fit in with this anthology. I had to say no but thought it was a great idea and over the next few days wrote something. It wasn’t great but with some help and tweaking from Karen it turned out alright.

            Here it is.

The Road That Couldn’t Be Done
D.M. & K.L. McGowan

They came to build a road
That some said couldn’t be done
But they did it damn it and did it fast
And even had some fun

The US Army Engineers
Several regiments strong
Cut and slashed through timber
And laid it across the bogs

With local trappers, packers and guides
And with sightings to the sky
They found a way through passes
And over mountains where eagles fly

Civilians from all walks of life
From all across the land
From Labrador, Ontario
And down to the Rio Grande

They dropped them off at end of rail,
A place called Dawson Creek
A bunch of young eastern boys
Too excited to sleep

The final push to build it came
December seventh, Forty One
And before Christmas the following year
There laid the road that couldn’t be done.

Oh, and sure it was only a trail
With decades of work to be done
But now millions of travelers
Use the road that couldn’t be done.

I also have a couple of pics from back in the day …
Charlie Lake Store 1942

Fort St. John, 1942

Army Barracks, Fort St. John, 1943

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