Ombabika’s cemetery portal in 2019.

This serves as an introduction to another lengthy post by BA, which also reveals BA’s proper name: Brett Anderson. Brett hails from Nebraska, and at the time of the post he had logged 54,000 miles in his quest to visit every one of the 92 places mentioned in the Hank Snow lyric “I’ve Been Everywhere”.

Brett Anderson crossing the Ombabika River in 2017.

The post refers to a “Max”, whom he met online, who claimed to have visited Ombabika and the cemetery in 2019. There is no account of his trip nor any photos. However, Max did make a short, very shaky, video, 51 seconds long, about Ombabika cemetery on YouTube (“Max finds Ombabika”). Max lives in Quebec, and is a medical student.

The bulk of this post is provided by a “Mike”, who provided a detailed account of his trip as well as photos in 2019. Mike started his quest to visit all 92 places some 15 years ago. He keeps a list in which he checks off each place he has visited. Mike is an airline pilot. As a result of Brett’s post “Ombabika Obstacles”, he contacted Brett online. All three (Brett, Max, and Mike) agree that Ombabika was the hardest one of the 92 places to, first of all, find, and then to travel to. And all three decline to reveal the exact location of the cemetery, even to each other (well, Brett never did locate it).

Mike’s list of places checked off.

Brett reported Max as saying, “The searching was part of the fun and we did not want to deprive anyone of that adventure.” Says Mike in his post, “It is a treasure hunt that must be experienced”. Now, the narrator of the film “Return to Ombabika” (screened at Magnus Theatre on May 23rd) is also coy about the cemetery’s location, but for a very different reason. I will shortly have a post that reviews the film.

In 2019, Mike flew from his home in Florida to Duluth, Minnesota, then drove a rental to Beardmore. He had done extensive research for the trip online, and contacted a “Ray”. Ray is an elder in AZA First Nation, headquartered in Beardmore. Some AZA members had connections to Ombabika. All of Beardmore knew Mike was coming. When a Beardmore resident met Mike, he or she greeted him as “Hank Snow”. There are oodles of Hank Snow and Johnny Cash (another famous singer who popularized the song) fans in Beardmore. Ray and Mike rode in a pickup truck up the infamous bush road to Auden.

Now, Ray’s memory is extraordinary when he recounts his personal experiences. But, be cautious when he recounts histories that he did not personally experience. For example, Mike said that Ray said, “The towns of Ombabika and Auden thrived with populations in the thousands.” Historically, Ombabika’s population numbered in the dozens, and Auden’s possibly, possibly, in the low, very low, hundreds.

Although, in his blog, Brett announced, more than once, his intention to revisit Ombabika, as of this date, he never has. But he is one of a handful of people in the world who know that Ombabika exists. And who knows? Maybe next year.

“Hank Snow” Goes to Ombabika –

L to R, Mike, Frank, & Ray, who points to a picture of Hank Snow.

One thought on “Intro to “HANK SNOW” GOES TO OMBABIKA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: