This past weekend the Black Hawk Folk Society presented one of America's finest singer/songwriters, Michael Peter Smith.
Smith is best known for his iconic composition "The Dutchman". A beautiful, sensitive, and poetic piece popularized by Steve Goodman, Liam Clancy, Gamble Rogers, and covered by countless others.
The concert was lightly attended (by usual standards) due to an well publicized impending snowstorm. But the nearly three dozen folks, who did brave the weather were treated to yet another example of Michael's legendary artistry.
The snow arrived on schedule, and as he and I drove back across the countryside to our home in the woods, it became apparent that he would be with us for awhile.
We opened a bottle of fine wine, stoked the fireplace and got to know each other as snow piled up outside. That evening Michael shared with us (among other topics) his journey through the beloved genre (with a good dose of humor I might add). My wife and I soon learned that the Dos Equis fella is definitely NOT "the most interesting man in the world"!
The Dutchman by Michael Peter Smith
The Dutchman's not the kind of man
To keep his thumb jammed in the dam
That holds his dreams in
But that's a secret only Margaret knows
When Amsterdam is golden in the morning
Margaret brings him breakfast
She believes him
He thinks the tulips bloom beneath the snow
He's mad as he can be but Margaret only sees that sometimes
Sometimes she sees her unborn children in his eyes
Let us go to the banks of the ocean
Where the walls rise above the Zuider Zee
Long ago I used to be a young man
And dear Margaret remembers that for me
The Dutchman still wears wooden shoes
His cap and coat are patched with love
That Margaret sewed in
Sometimes he thinks he's still in Rotterdam
He watches tugboats down canals
And calls out to them when he thinks he knows the captain
'Til Margaret comes to take him home again
Through unforgiving streets that trip him
Though she holds his arm
Sometimes he thinks that he's alone and calls her name
The windmills whirl the winter in
She winds his muffler tighter
They sit in the kitchen
Some tea with whiskey keeps away the dew
He sees her for a moment calls her name
She makes the bed up humming some old love song
She learned it when the tune was very new
He hums a line or two
They hum together in the night
The Dutchman falls asleep and Margaret blows the candle out