Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Peter, Paul and Mary

Peter, Paul and Mary burst into music all over the airwaves when I was just starting high school. PPM seemed a permanent fixture in American culture.

The album "Ten Years Together" was released in 1970. I never owned the vinyl LP, but I inherited the CD from our daughter Hilary while she was still in college. Hilary has always had a broad range of muscial tastes. I salute her for that.

Back when "Ten Years" came out, ten years seemed a long time to me. After all, my life at that time was only 2.4 times as long. Ten years took forever to pass. So it seemed. The four years of my life owed to the U.S. Air Force were an eternity for a young man to give up.

So, at the time, ten years . . . Wow! That was huge! When PPM disbanded in 1971, well . . . What more could we expect? They'd already been together forever.

1970. That was the year I met Jean. After a LONG and COLD winter in Syracuse, New York, the spring and summer of 1970 were such a God-send of change. Warmth. Green leaves. Love. And tension in the air. Campus unrest. National Guard troops enforcing martial law. Shootings at Kent State University. Four dead in Ohio. Marches and rallies in Washington, DC.

PPM would sing before many gatherings of Americans seeking an end to war or simply looking for an evening of peace. Music--and the lyric of the song--were our national dialogue on subjects we could not discuss with our leaders or our elders or, too often, with our own parents.

I remember one PPM performance at the Onondaga County War Memorial auditorium in Syracuse. The trio had barely made it to Syracuse after one of those Washington, DC gatherings. They were physically exhausted but inspired by the energy of the movement and the overwhelming sense of importance that they and we continue to seek an end to war and a way to build peace.

That was 39 years ago, 3.9 times the duration of ten years together. "Who knows where the time goes?" Judy Collins used to sing. Indeed.

Thank you, Mary, for all you gave us over all those years. God rest you now and always.

Pastor Roger

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