It was October of 1998, almost twenty years since I last attended a Chapin concert, and over twenty three years since I was introduced to Harry’s incredible music as a sophomore in college. His music still lives in me, and in my children who have become as familiar with Harry’s music as some of their own, despite the fact that each one was born after Harry’s terrible crash.
In my Story of a Life, divorce has become a fact, my girls are in their teen years, and serenity has become a “creased and wrinkled dream” that I pull out from time to time. I guess as any father with a 15 year old, it gets confrontational, but with my 15 year old, it seemed we had been battling for months, with no cease-fire in sight.
After a particularly brutal week, I had begun to question whether the relationship had died completely, and wondered about alternative living for my oldest daughter. I was tired of the fighting, and so was she. Yet, I remembered her as a child, and the relationship we had then, I realized true pain and loss. Then before drifting off to a troubled sleep, I remembered another father and daughter, and a song I used to sing to my Regina in her early years. And in a moment of stark realization, it hit me that she needed me to sing that to her again, sort of. I left my bed and headed for the computer and my favorite lyrics sight. In minutes the printer was recanting the lyrics to Tangled Up Puppet, and I cried as I read them. I taped them to her bathroom mirror so she would be sure to see them when she awoke the next morning. And she did, and she cried.
I am not saying that was the miracle cure for our relationship, but it did put us back on level ground….which is the only place to build. And we have a mutual respect in our connection to that song, and things have gotten better between us.
Though Harry has been gone a long time, his music still has impact and is as vital now as it ever was. I miss Harry, as you always do a loved one, but it is comforting to know he is there when you need his special insight.
“And the more that I keep dancing, and spinning round in knots…the more I see what used to be, and the less of you I’ve got.”
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