Thursday, September 17, 2009

Peter, Paul and Mary no more...

Note to all you boomers out thar: It's official folks, the 60s be kaput.

The passing of Mary Travers puts the final nail in that otherwise very full coffin. And frankly, I’m getting’ mighty tired of saying farewell to the cherished.

The timing of the news really hit me, as I finish every Wednesday morning story time at BN by singing Puff the Magic Dragon with the bunch of parents and kids. (Many of the parents are so young they need the storybook to follow along with the words.)

By the time I got to see Peter, Paul & Mary perform live, she had fought back her leukemia with a bone marrow transplant and her signature blond tresses were short cropped. The group was at the auditorium in Ocean Grove, NJ, (which is like sitting inside a giant overturned boat.) singing to a sold-out crowd of aging hippies and their grandchildren. They didn’t so much “sing” as lead a sing-a-long. It was a warm and wonderful night. Comfortable.

And with their sweet harmonies, PP&M managed to be easy on the ear and the heart, even as their socially relevant lyrics hit their mark. I don’t know how I would have found Bob Dylan searing question, “How many times...” without them.

I admired their gentle constancy. They kept to their ideals, even when it was “unfashionable” to do so, although I never bought for a second the revisionist history the Puff wasn’t pot driven. It just didn’t matter.

Come to think of it, the impetus behind that question hasn’t changed, either, just the name of the war. The worst part of the 60s manages to live on—and continues bringing our young back in flag-draped boxes.

The answer, my friends, is (still) blowing in the wind.

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