The Sound of Music

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The good Lord willing and the Creeks don’t rise, I’ll be in Chattanooga when the sun goes down today. Have you ever heard that expression? (Southerners, be quiet and sit on your hands for this one.) I’ve heard it most of my life, and of course I first assumed it meant, If providence allows and the roads don’t flood. I have since learned an alternative version. “Creeks” refers to the Creek Indians, a dominant eastern tribe when European settlers appeared in North America. That’s probably correct; it makes sense. Not far from where I was born in Alabama is Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River. There, in 1814, Andrew Jackson and an army of Tennesseans attacked a fortified Creek village during the climactic battle to subdue the Creeks in Alabama after years of skirmishes. The source of all this friction was, of course, a desperate attempt by the Indians to hang on to their natural-born place in this world. It didn’t work. More Native Americans died in battle on that day than on any other day during all the 19th Century Indian wars. From there, Jackson and his bunch marched to New Orleans, but that’s another history lesson. And Chattanooga? Well, we’re out of time.