It was 1979, and as a 19 year old fan of Gordon Lightfoot, Harry Chapin, Neil Diamond, Credence, and more… I attended a few concerts. Each time feeling special that I was getting to just be there.

I had come from a poor family who had to scrounge for whatever we had, but, on a fluke, I got a good job when I was just a teenager. I could afford records, decent clothes, and concert tickets. It was such fun I would always buy extra tickets to take my friends to the concerts as well. I really enjoyed feeling like I was special to be able to go when just a couple years earlier, I didn’t have a chance.

There on stage was this Harry Chapin person who sang great songs that were about real people with real life problems and real life feelings. He not only sang like he cared, he donated much of his efforts and money to others who really needed it. It wasn’t just cool, it was right. I was honored, and lucky to be a fan.

Then Harry went to sing the song “Mail Order Annie” and the stage lights dimmed. He climbed down off the stage and as he walked slowly past the first few rows of seats, to the left hand aisle, he told the audience that he’d sing the song a cappella. He then stopped walking as he started to sing just as he got to the row I sat in. He sat on the arm of my chair as he sang the words. He seemed as calm as I was not.

It was so very special to share that moment with him and the clear, sad, words of the song. Harry convinced me that some rough old farmer really appreciated this person coming into his life. Then as he finished and the crowd was giving him the applause he deserved, he turned to me and simply said, “Thanks for letting me crowd you here.” It was me who should have thanked him. I have never forgotten that song, his face, or his realism.

Thanks Harry!

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