I’m crying as I type these words. It was the last phrase in the New York Times obituary for Mary Travers: “People say to us, ‘Oh, I grew up with you music,’ and we often say, ‘So did we.’” So did I – and so did my kids. When our family gathers, we sing “Puff, the Magic Dragon”, “If I Had a Hammer”, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “I Know An Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly”…. The list could fill the page. Peter, Paul and Mary sounds filled our home from the time our oldest was born in 1962, through our year-long retreat to Montreal, to the backseat of the car as we celebrated our 50th anniversary.
Mary Traverse made long, straight hair sexy and not something to be ashamed of – and I grew up a little more. The trio sang freedom songs and stood proudly before thousands so I could raise my voice in protest without flinching – and I grew up a little more. They joked, and played with music, and taught me to laugh at myself – and I grew up a little more.
We have our original albums, some new tapes, and maybe even a CD, but I don’t need any of them. Today, I’ll mourn and remember and sing every single song that flows through my body as surely as blood and oxygen. I’ll change the words a bit, because that’s what our family does and because,
I “have” a song.
I’ll sing it in the morning,
I’ll sing it in the evening,
all over this land
I’ll sing out danger.
I’ll sing out a warning.
I’ll sing out love between my brothers and my sisters,
all over this land.
Won’t you sing with me?