In 1994, Chris came to each of us in the family and said we could fly some small item with him in the Shuttle Atlantis. Our Mom sent her charm bracelet. Dad sent the set of pilot’s wings he was wearing on his retirement flight at Air Canada. I decided to send along a song, so I wrote this one, and Austin and Kelly, who were young then, coloured it with comets and rockets and planets and so on. Then it flew with Chris for 128 orbits of the Earth, and came back to us. I like to think of it as a good luck charm…
Big Smoke (capo up 2) © 1995 by Dave Hadfield
Big smoke, standing in the morning. [D]
Big smoke, pointed at the sky. [D A]
Big smoke, take aboard our brother, [Bm G]
Lift him up and show him how you fly. [D A D]
Big smoke, louder than the thunder.
Big smoke, taller than the storm.
Big smoke, rise above these troubles.
Lift us up and keep him safe and warm.
I don’t know why we ride on the flame, [A G] [chorus]
‘cause sometimes we’re riding blind. [Em Bm]
All I know is the future is waiting out there for us to find. [A G Em A]
Big smoke, ten thousand years a-building,
Big smoke, all the careful plans.
Big smoke, pure imagination.
Lifted by a million steady hands.
Big smoke, riding on the future.
Big smoke, growing from the past.
Big smoke, holding out a promise.
Not the first to rise and not the last. [chorus]
Big smoke, no one says it’s easy.
Big smoke, more fragile than you seem.
Big smoke, carry precious cargo.
Show us how to fly and how to dream.
Big smoke, dropping from the heavens,
Big smoke, returning to your birth.
Big smoke, bring us what we cherish,
Bring us joy and bring him back to Earth.
Big smoke, bring us back our brother,
Bring us joy, and bring him back to Earth.
I played this with Chris the day before he launched in the Soyuz, for Expedition 34/35. I managed to get into Quarantine, and we jammed for half an hour. I recorded it on my cellphone, and it is posted here