Sister Lumberjack, AKA Amata Mackett, was a Benedictine nun in the 19th and 20th centuries who traveled the Minnesota backwoods to sell an early form of health insurance to lumberjacks. You can listen to my song about this amazing woman, which will soon be released as a documentary video by Prairie Public Broadcasting, by pressing play on the audio link. Lyrics and downloadable file below.
Music and lyrics (c) 2014 by Elisa Korenne
Could carry a man on her back
A six-foot-two nun
Every pound hardwon
In the Minnesota outback
To lumbercamps she tracked
Through swamp, wood, and snowpack
She slept in thickets
To sell health tickets
To Pole, Serb, and Slovak
Several-ton logs and an axe, your muscles overtaxed,
You could lose a hand in a massive logjam.
Or cut off a finger. Infection can linger.
Out of work in a flash, You’ll soon be out of cash.
Do they pay when you’re sick in bed?
No! So pay the doctor ahead!
Buy a lumberjack ticket, for one dollar or five
Free healthcare at the hospital, and you’re sure to come back alive
Men loved it when she came back
Slept in office or cookshack
Said prayers with the men
Carried letters for them
Baked pies better than hardtack
She wouldn’t take any flack
Got every owed greenback
She made each man pay
And if they tried to run away
She chased him down with a poker. SMACK!
When a log crushed a man with a CRACK
Men stopped and stared, jaws slack
Sister took lead
And made the men heed
And saved the lumberjack
When the state took a new tack
Worker’s comp for every hack
Our nun went home
But remained loved and known
As Sister Lumberjack
Who put it all matter-of-fact
Buy health tickets quick
Before you get sick
And keep your family intact
Download by right-clicking (or control-clicking for Mac) and saving this link.