“… and it’s funny because the song (Deportee) still means something today. On the one hand it’s great that sixty-five years later it moves people. On the other hand, the world still sucks.”
That was Arlo Guthrie last night telling one of his many great stories in between his many great songs. In too many ways that last part is right, which is why I was so thrilled to meet him after the show. I and my friends, and people like us around the world, work to make it so the world does not suck anymore, and for me Arlo, his dad, and their friend Pete Seeger were a big part of that. I might not be doing any of that with out Arlo’s influence, so getting to see him and tell him so was one of the best things that ever happened in my life.
Of course that was not all that was great last night. Circumstances forced my brother-in-law to bow out of joining us, he and my sister could not get a sitter, and as much as he was missed, it made the night extra special. My brother, sister and I had never in our adult lives got to do something just the three of us, so being able to do that meant a lot. We sat way in the back of the balcony, where a bar table and stools had been set up, drank Corona’s and sang along.
We sang the songs that we grew up with. The songs we huddled around our parents’ stereo on the weekends to listen to. This was the music of our youth. Lyrics that encouraged folks to envision and create a better world. Ballads that taught us of the past. Anthems to the heroes that stand up and fight for those that cannot fight for themselves.
A raucous but reverent time was had by all and folks joined in with the songs they knew, and when we could, the songs that were new to us. We clapped we cheered, we laughed at his stories. We cried tears of joy listening to him sing his father’s song to HIS mother. It reminded us of our mother’s voice. We wished, a little that she and dad could be there.
Being able to tell one of your heroes how much they have inspired you is a rare privilege and I feel so lucky to have been granted it. I feel lucky to have had a childhood that, for all its challenges, presented me an opportunity to see a world where we make the world kinder through our actions and our words. I am truly blessed to have two amazing siblings to have shared that childhood, and last night, with. Last night I was reminded that while the world may indeed still suck, there are corners of it that do not, and we have it in us to spread those corners everywhere. I look forward to making good on the promise I made Arlo, to spread his words to the next generation. I look forward to making more memories, by sharing music and my words.
- ‘Deportee’ mystery finally solved (VIDEO) (goerie.com)
- 94-Year-Old Pete Seeger Sings “This Land is Your Land” at Farm Aid (openculture.com)
- Fresno memorial unveiled with deportee names from 1948 crash (fresnobee.com)
- wherever she may be (beopbeopbeop.com)