Almost two weeks have passed now since Mary Travers died. I listened to Peter, Paul & Mary as a child because my Mom liked them. I came back to them again when I was an undergrad because of their political lyrics and their commitment to social justice when off stage. I found them again last fall when I was searching for music that was both aesthetically pleasing for the adults and appropriate to share with Henrik. I had heard an announcement on OPB radio that Peter, Paul & Mary were going to be on OPB TV for the pledge drive. We dug out the TV, plugged it in and watched part of the show until bedtime.
Other than a few Rick Steves’ travel episodes, our son had not watched TV. This was a new experience and he loved the music and getting to see the musicians play. He was hooked on their music. We watched a few Peter, Paul & Mary videos on YouTube the next day and the enchantment continued. We checked out a copy of Peter, Paul & Mommy at the library and he started memorizing the lyrics. When Puff comes on he will often stand next to the CD player and press the back button over and over and over. Usually on the fifth or sixth time we will have to ask him to give the CD player a rest.
My heart has saddened, since Mary’s death, each time Henrik spontaneously started singing Going to the Zoo or Puff. It usually warms my heart when he sings Peter, Paul & Mary’s songs. I haven’t told Henrik of Mary’s death yet. He took it pretty hard a few weeks ago when he found out the John Lennon and George Harrison are both dead. He is also a huge Beatles fan and he had planned on seeing them in concert. I had looked at Peter, Paul & Mary’s website at the beginning of the year to see if there was going to be a concert on the West Coast sometime during summer break. I learned that Mary would not be performing in the summer due to her illness and that Peter and Paul were only performing on the East Coast.
I guess I didn’t really consider the possibility that Mary would not be returning to the group. So many cancers have become more survivable in recent years. I just assumed that she had enough of the strength that she had shared so generously for so many years left in her. But the strength she gifted to the world lives on in my heart and in many, many other’s. I am waiting for the day in the near future when the sound of my son’s voice singing Puff will warm my heart again. Thank you, Mary, peaceful journeys.