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!