Fare thee well,
John Morris Rankin,

A rambling by Paul de Bruijn,
January 2000

John Morris Rankin, a member of Cape Breton's renowned Rankin Family, died on January 16, 2000, after his truck plunged into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Three teenage passengers, including Rankin's son Michael, were able to escape from the vehicle and climb to safety following the 7:30 a.m. accident. Rankin, 40, died in the crash.

Rankin was the fiddler and pianist with his popular musical family from Cape Breton, known professionally as both the Rankin Family and the Rankins. The group also included his sisters Cookie, Raylene and Heather and his brother Jimmy.

Fare thee well, John Morris Rankin, fare thee well.

You will be missed.

I never met you. I never saw you perform live on stage. And now I never will. All I had was a bit of your music and I miss it already. I miss the tunes that will never be. And whether or not I would have heard them does not matter. They would have been. And I wish they were still possible, still waiting for you to play them for those around you.

Your music was your gift to us who never knew you. And there never were words enough to thank you. And even now, I can but find the edges of the thoughts that say how much we appreciated your music. At times the music reminded us of our roots. At times it spoke into our depths and other times it brought us happiness and joy. How could there be words enough of thanks for any of that?

Strange, how it is only in the parting that I find these words. That it is only now when I am saying farewell that I know what I received from you. OK, so maybe it is not so strange after all, but this is not about that. This is about saying farewell to another great Canadian musician.

So fare thee well, John Morris Rankin. Fare thee well.

You are missed.

May your music rise again.

[ by Paul de Bruijn ]