I don’t remember when I heard Harry first, but I vividly recall when he opened my eyes. He came to The State Theater in New Brunswick, NJ in the late 70’s and my wife and I went. After all, we lived there, and Harry did have some notoriety. Who couldn’t appreciate Cat’s In the Cradle? When Harry began his show, the place warmed immediately. We were all Harry’s friends at once, and as he weaved his stories, we laughed and cried and cheered uproariously. When the show was over (probably two hours later and much too soon), Harry bounded right up the aisle past me to sell and sign stuff for WHY. He came again to the same theater the next year and we were in the fourth row. Fabulous again!

Living in the NYC area, I saw lots of coverage of Harry’s death, and I cried for days after it happened. It rained hard, which made it even more devastating.

A few days later, I took the same exit on the Long Island Expressway where Harry had died and found a place to park the car illegally. As I surveyed the very spot where the car had burned, with a wreath placed in honor and memory, I found and kept a small car spring and the top piece of a clipboard. They were charred and, to me, they were obviously from Harry’s car and his notepad. I still have them in a safe place.

I play a little guitar and sing, and I have performed many of Harry’s songs in public. Since I never get paid in the places I play, I guess everyone is sitting in the cheap seats. Anyway, Harry has touched me in so many ways, I can’t count.

As I write this, I am listening to a World Hunger Benefit concert, taped from the radio. If you never saw Harry live, you miss the audience interaction that is mostly cut from his live albums. I have this and a ton of memories.

Someone wrote that this world is a lesser place since Harry left it. True, but it is a much better place for him having been here. All agreed?

Kelly Barry

kvbarry at aol.com

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