It was just the other night- I was out on a limb, looking for someone to help me back in. That SOMEONE was Harry Chapin.
I used his songs from Heads & Tales and Short Stories as crutches just to get me through. It wasn’t long before I was infatuated by him. I dreamed I’d marry him someday. Sorry, Sandy.
Anyway, I was fortunate to have seen him in concert a couple of times. Once when we were sittin’ out on the lawn seats at Temple Univ. in Ambler, Pa. and we snuck inside by climbing a fence. I sat in the second row and gave Harry and his band a standing ovation when they started playing Taxi, my personal favorite. Harry looked right at me and smiled to say thanks and I instantly melted.
Another summer I remember my mom buying me tickets for my birthday and taking me and my best friend, and my best friend’s mom. How many concerts can you go to with your mother? My mom was the best.
Another time I remember driving myself and sittin’ on the lawn and waiting till Harry came out to meet him with a kiss, and I stepped on poor Jason! I had my last $4 in my hand, so when I shook Harry’s hand I would slide it to him and the next thing I knew, after I kissed him, Josh was there and I ran into him and Harry turned around and said to Josh, “Watch where you’re going” and then he said, “uh, thanks” to me after realizing I handed him money. I was wondering if Harry bought ice cream for Josh with it or if he gave it to World Hunger Year.
The last time I saw Harry in concert he invited everyone back the next day to watch a softball game he and the guys were going to play against the Philadelphia Orchestra. I rode my bike some 10 miles to see it. It was an ungodly hot day and I remember my friends going with me, saying this better be worth it, and it was. We were caught on the news that night, and I’ll never forget cheering the guys on when they were up at bat and telling Harry he’d made a good play and this and that.
I did see him in the winter once at Valley Forge music fair. The stage revolved in a circle and it was a great concert. I wish I could’ve hung around for that one but my sister insisted on leaving right away. I’ve been listening ever since. It’s kinda sad that the places I’d seen and heard him are gone now. I go to college in the era of punk and I bought his sequel album and my roommate razzed me about it and I told her to get bent. I also told her that Harry was better than anything she could ever fathom playing like, David Bowie and Eno and Talking Heads and Zappa. Although I like them too, I have very diversified musical interests, Harry was just too down to earth for her I guess.
Harry continues to be a part of my life now that I’m in my later 30’s (ouch) and I hold the thought in the back of my mind that I am as old now as when Harry died.
It brings good memories of his concerts I went to with family and friends. I want to say thank you, Harry for everything, and to the band too. I think he is up there watching all of us, his friends, family and loyal listeners. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t have a thought with him involved somehow and to leave that kind of impact on someone truly is astonishing.
I can’t say that I’ve earned any medals or done anything outstanding with my life because of Harry, but he’s in my heart and thoughts regularly. He continues to make me feel sooo good.
If Josh ever reads this, I’m sorry for knocking you over that night back in 77 or 78 or 79. You were only 5 or 6. I hope you realize what a great person your daddy was.
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