The words “a white tent pitched by a glassy lake, well under a shady tree”…. were haunting me recently, so I Googled them and found the rest of the words to the song. It brings me back to the days when I attended a one room school (when the dinosaurs were still roaming the earth, according to my youngest son), and part of our day included not only readin’, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic , but singing.
In the morning we sang God Save the Queen (in the years before O Canada replaced it) facing the Canadian version of the Union Jack (before 1965 when our maple leafed flag was born) then recited the Lord’s prayer (when this was still allowed in public school). At the end of the day we sang songs for fun before we were out the door and on our way home. I remember one of our favourites was Puff the Magic Dragon as well as the aforementioned song that would not leave me in peace until I found all the words to it.
The enigmatic song that was playing an endless loop in my head is called “A Canadian Camping Song”, and in my cursory search I found that it seemed to be part of the government of the day’s approved curriculum. While my research was only glancing, I could not come up with a song writer.
The words to the song evoke June days when exams were done and we were putting in time before the summer holidays. So for those of you curious about the words to the rest of the song, here they are:
A Canadian Camping Song
A white tent pitched by a glassy lake,
Well under a shady tree.
Or by rippling rills from the grand old hills
Is the summer home for me.
I fear no blaze of the noontide rays,
For the woodland glades are mine,
The fragrant air, and that perfume rare,
The odour of forest pine.
The wild woods, the wild woods
The wild woods give me;
The wild woods of Canada.
The boundless and free.
The song epitomizes summer for me—and in this, our first real week of official summer, it reminds me of the last days of June, sitting at my desk, just waiting for the summer holidays to begin. The days of summer stretched out seemingly forever—full of baseball in the back yard, chores around the house, riding my bike, reading in my favourite tree, and walking with my sister to the local corner store for a pop and chocolate bar.
If anyone knows who wrote this little ditty, let me know.