That war took us all---those who went, those who didn't, those who went to Canada and those, like me, who were not 4-F, but were 1-Y.---That meant my knee (from football) was what the army called "internally deranged" and they wouldn't take me. (Some said it was my head that was 1-y.) But I wrote this song in Western Canada in the September of 1969. Many who fought that war at home and in Canada have their own sad tales to tell. We've all paid and continue to pay the price for Lyndon Johnson's and McNamara's war.
"THE CANADIAN TRAVELER"
by Art Thieme
---tune: "Come All You Tramps And Hawkers"
(words influenced by "Buffalo Skinners" and "Peter Emberly"--the former being a great traditional American Western ballad, and the latter is a great Canadian traditional ballad of death in the lumber woods.)
My name is not important, Alberta is my home,
I left the plains of America in Canada for to roam,
I left the pains of America to escape an unjust war,
But little did I ever think what the fates did have in store.
It was in the town of Calgary in the Spring of '63,
A man by the name of St.Laurent come steppin' up to me,
Said, "How do you do, young fellow, and how would you like to go,
And change the course of the Kicking Horse near the valley called Yoho."
Well, me bein' out of employment to this fellow I did say,
"This going out on your survey crew depends upon the pay."
"Well,I will pay good wages, transportation to and fro,
If you will accompany me to the valley called Yoho."
Well, it's now we've crossed the raging tide and our troubles have begun,
But I lost half of all my gear and then I broke my thumb,
One fell and died among the rocks--one died of cold and snow,
One fell into the foaming wash of the river called Yoho.
Our time bein' near over, St. Laurent he did say,
The boys had been extravagant were in debt to him that day,
We tied him up and left his knife just ten feet from his hands,
And we headed into the wilderness of that big Peace River land.
Oh, there's danger on the ocean where the waves roll mountains high,
And there's danger on the battlefield where the angry bullets fly,
And there's danger in the old north woods where I am forced to roam,
'Til folks of worth find peace on Earth, my footsteps crunch the snow.
(repeat first verse)