Tuesday, September 7, 2010
September Long and the Eye Patch Band
I love going to the cabin on the September long weekend. The weather is generally cooperative and the trees are just starting to turn colour. Although a lot of folks are closing down their cabins and leaving for the season, we are lucky enough to be within an hour of the lake and have the luxury of being able to just zip up at a moment's notice so will continue to go up until Thanksgiving weekend in October.
However, the real reason I love this weekend is because of the Eye Patch Band. For 30 plus years, this band has rallied folks together for a last stroll through our Old Campground with their tunes and Pied Piper Parade. It is the last hurrah of the season for most folks before they head home for the winter. Most will be back next year but some may not.
It is dark outside when The Eye Patch Band starts out on 2nd Street with their large drums, bagpipes, shakers and other instruments suitable for walking a parade. As they travel slowly singing songs like (I am not sure on the titles here...) A Long Way To Tipperary, You are my Sunshine, and finishing with classics like Goodnight Irene. They have a surprisingly extensive repertoire that includes polkas and war-time tunes and play, not necessarily in unison but always with enthusiasm. Sometimes they have guest musicians and anyone is welcome to join in.
The crowd grows as folks wait as the band travels down their streets where they will either join the parade or watch from their decks as it passes by. The Eye Patchers are generous with their music and patient with the crowd as more and more people crowd around listening and joining in singing the songs and clapping or dancing along with the various polkas.
As the night air drops in temperature the crowd continues to increase until finally they reach the corner of 2nd Street North and South. Then it is time for the final performance and speech. Each year, one or another of the band members reminds us how fortunate we are to have the privilege of owning a cabin in Riding Mountain National Park, there is always a brief talk of major events of the year given with the hopes that all will be well. A prayer is sometimes given for all of those serving overseas or folks in other areas of the world that are having difficulty. Finally, they sing Goodnight Irene and then there is a very enthusiastic and heartfelt singing of our national anthem of Oh Canada. Hats are replaced on heads as the crowd starts to dissipate. Many people are slow to leave and stop to chat and say their goodbyes, wishing well to one another for the upcoming year. The night air is full of laughter and good tidings as the crisp fall air surrounds us.
We are all so lucky.