Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

'Sitting on the dock of the bay'

Wick's World

 


Almost without fail, my daily routine begins with a workout at my newly-joined fitness center. I doubt if I have missed more than two days in two months. My workout goes something like this: treadmill, ladder climb, weight lift, free throws, front stroke laps, backstroke laps, sauna, whirlpool and the grand finale, a luxurious 10-minute steam bath. After walking out the door greeting a Minnesota morning, I just don’t know how a human being could possibly feel any healthier.

I have already noticed improvement in all categories of my workout. The treadmill walk that began at 2 mph for 15 minutes has increased to a 3.5 mph, 30 minute trot. I doubled the arm lifts from 10 pounds to 20. Okay, I’m not exactly Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I’m not sure I want to be. My free throws shot up from 10 percent to 60 percent; at first I couldn’t get the ball to reach the hoop. My swimming has toughened so dramatically that my kids could playfully throw me out of the boat into the middle of Sand Lake and I could actually make it to shore without drowning.

I admit that I let myself get lazy leading the good life. The belt that barely reached around my belly told me that. In only two months I have constricted my belt a full inch closer to where it belonged; this is the result of losing 10 pounds.

Feeling this good has called for another daily routine change. I used to go outside every night before sunset and sit on my deck for what I formally called cocktail hour. Since the cocktails were eliminated a couple of years ago, I revised it to sunset hour. The routine change I made was moving from the deck to the dock. I thought as long as I was living on a lake, why not sit by the water so I could be much closer to the bountiful wildlife that lakes provide? Another bonus from this move is I can now answer any cell phone calls asking, “What are you doing?” with, “I’m sitting on the dock of the bay.”

Of course that’s not an original line coming from my motor mouth. As my wife will confirm, very few of my lines are original. Most people know this is the line in musical history made famous by the late, great Otis Redding.

“Sitting On the Dock of the Bay” takes me back 50 years to basic training at Fort Lewis, Washington. When this song hit the airwaves and soldiers were prepping for 5 a.m. roll call, its music and words crossed color barriers and united our company like no drill sergeant was ever able to do. Every soldier there longed to be somewhere sitting on the dock of a bay watching the tide roll away.

That is exactly what Otis Redding was doing in August of 1967 when he began to pen the lyrics to this timeless classic. Otis had just thrilled the crowd at the Monterey Pop Festival a few weeks before he rented a houseboat in Sausalito, California. That’s where he wrote the first verse to the song that was titled “The Dock of the Bay.” To get a feeling for the words of this song, one needs to understand that when Otis Redding wrote songs, they were often about the life of Otis Redding. It was true that he “left my home in Georgia, headed for the Frisco Bay.”

On December 7, 1967, the song that was recorded complete with overdubs was not considered by Otis to be the final version. He still had more verses to write. Unfortunately, that would never happen. “Sittin’ on the dock of the bay, wastin’ time” was the last verse Otis Redding ever wrote. Three days later, on December 10, 1967, his chartered plane crashed into a lake outside of Madison, Wisconsin. The only survivor was the legendary tune, “Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay.”

 

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