Farewell Pete Seeger

peteListening to the news in bed this morning, a short piece said that Pete Seeger had died at age 94. I guess we all had to admit that this day was coming, but as years turned to decades and this remarkable man kept singing, speaking, and nudging us into better people, we wondered if this fellow hadn’t somehow stumbled onto the secret of immortality. Perhaps he did.

I fell back asleep, and when I got up, all three fires needed attention. This took over an hour for some reason (cold chimneys?) Once I was sure the smoke was all going up the chimneys, I did my exercises, then started on breakfast. It was 11:00 by now, and as I was dicing the onions and peeling the potatoes, I switched on the kitchen radio.

As luck was have it, Tom Ashbrook, host of NPR’s On Point is also a Pete Seeger fan, and he devoted the last half of today’s show to his life. Tom had interviewed Pete 10 years ago, and replayed much of that show from 11:00 – 12:00 today.

Now I am a creature of habit. I make my breakfast, sit down in front of the computer, and browse as I’m eating. Today was different. With tears streaming down my face, I brought a chair into the kitchen and ate my breakfast enveloped by this good man’s thoughts, words, songs, and wisdom.

If I could have a few private words with Pete, I think I’d thank him for:

encouraging me to buy a banjo, and do my best to learn to play it.

providing a model for how a good man can make a difference in the world.

teaching me the power behind music.

making sense of the saying, “if you can speak you can sing; if you can walk you can dance.”

showing by example that decency is a better model for a man than mean spiritedness.

teaching me that the world is of full of mean people, but that being mean back to them puts you in the boxing ring with them without any gloves, with cataracts, and with kitten muscles. Being nice changes the whole dynamic where everyone wins.

My advice for people searching for a way in this crazy life is: find yourself a model and do your best to live up to their example. I bid my model Pete Seeger farewell. Your life touched many lives including mine. If I can share a tiny fraction of the goodness I absorbed from your life, it will have been worth it.

One Response to “Farewell Pete Seeger”

  1. Dina Ariel says:

    b’h
    What a marvelous list of accomplishments. Even one of them would have given his life meaning in this world. And even though he is gone, his influence and works can still live on, through our words and deeds. I believe that he’ll be singing and dancing in the next world, too, with all that to his credit.

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