Thursday, September 17, 2009

RIP, Mary Travers

Mary Travers died yesterday. She was one-third of Peter, Paul and Mary, the folk trio who gained fame in the 60s with protest songs and anthems. I have always favored songs with good lyrics, melodies and harmonies, so I have always loved PP&M.

But a tall, blonde woman and two goatee’d men (all three aging) with two guitars singing of civil rights and protesting a war that is only known in history books do not sell records anymore. You only heard of PP&M when they went on a reunion tour or had a special on PBS. Last year I watched a PBS re-run of one of their ‘reunion’ tours. I sat and sang along, mostly with tears in my eyes. My son saw me and asked, “why are you crying, mommy?”

“Because this song is so beautiful, sweetie.”

“Don’t cry, mommy.”

They were playing Puff, the Magic Dragon. I wasn’t thinking of a dragon but of a battered yellow fish and a pink and green bear, both a bit ragged as the softness has been loved off of them. I looked at my sweet boy and knew that soon these two little stuffed animals will wind up stuffed in a box somewhere just as Jackie Paper’s dragon was. E won’t want to sleep with a bear and a fish anymore and I will lovingly store them in a box somewhere awaiting a time when perhaps my son’s child will need some comfort as he sleeps.

“Yes, my sweet, this song makes mommy cry.”

And it probably always will.

A dragon lives forever, but not so little girls. Rest in peace, indeed, Mary Travers.

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