As I read the many stories on this site, I sit and cry.
I was just a child, probably 7 or 8, when I was first introduced to Harry’s music, admittedly very reluctantly. I remember it so clearly. My father came home in the Volkswagen station wagon and told my mother & I that we had to listen to this new tape he had bought. I didn’t want to sit down and listen, I wanted to run and play. I remember my father growing more frustrated that I just wouldn’t listen. To be honest I don’t remember exactly when I did start listen, but once I did I never looked back.
I was lucky enough to see Harry Chapin twice in concert and stand in line after the concert to meet him. I thought I was so special because he gave me a kiss (who knew?). We had tickets for a concert in Terre Haute for a few weeks after his death. I can remember being so excited to see him again.
And then of course I heard the news. It amazes me how clearly I remember it all. Jane Pauley on the Today Show made the announcement, they played Mr. Tanner, I fell to the floor and began to cry, much as I am now. How could a mere musician touch the heart of a young girl? The thing is he was no mere musician, although not a God like man to be worshiped. Harry was the kind of human being all of us wish we were, but somehow with all our excuses never quite manage to become.
As I was graduating high school my mother told me that my father had admitted to listening to “Tangled Up Puppet” and crying. Now I have a young son and “Dancing Boy” has a whole new meaning to me.
As I grow older and listen to the same songs I have listened to for 20 some years, it amazes me the meaning I find in Harry’s songs. It was always there of course, but as you experience life you realize more and more clearly what Harry was trying to tell you all along. My one wish for my son… to always keep in mind:
“If a man tried to take his time on earth and prove before he died what one man’s life could be worth. Well I wonder what would happen to this world?”
With this in mind how can he fail?
Harry, I miss you.
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