The First Man To Polar Bear Swim


The First Man To Polar Bear Swim

By Clancy O’Lafferty

Murphy met a young lassie one night,

A fine Canadian girl!

She told him she wanted a tour ‘round Eire

to give all the pubs a whirl.

He said, “I’m the lad for you!

Let’s start here in Dublin toon,

Then wander all over the emerald Isle

Before the summer is through.

He asked her, “From where do ya hail?”

She tol’ him “Victoria town,”

He said, “Isn’t that place in England?”

But she told him, ‘bout one of her own,

Just west of  Vancouver, B.C.

A town that they built on a whim

Where her grandfather Daniel McCabe became

the first man to polar bear swim.

“Nineteen-twenty, first day of the year,

On a beautiful frosty morn,

Grand daddy awakened  at English Bay

After thoroughly paintin’ the town.

He was freezin’ his butt on the beach,

His breeches all whisky soaked.

He said he must have forgotten about it

And lit up a mornin’ smoke.

His breeches they burst into flames

Grand daddy leaped into the sea

He was splashin’ around like an Irish clown

In water near freezin’ degrees

The people all walkin’ the beach

Were laughin’ and shakin’ their heads

Then one by one they all jumped in

And that was the start of the fad.

Now, every first day of the year,

Ten thousands are doin’ like him

All over the globe the people disrobe

And do what my grand daddy did

He named it “the Polar Bear” swim

And he swore that the story is true

And I’ll be happy to tell it for drinks

When I hit every pub with you!



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