Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mary's sunset

Mary Travers has died after fighting leukemia for the last two years. There are tributes to her springing up all over youtube and this one, created by paultinsel, appealed to me.

Wednesday afternoon I had a really intense massage and when Mike and I met back at the house he agreed that Mexican food sounded good so we went to a restaurant in downtown Silverton that makes the best spinach enchiladas from the vegetarian portion of the menu. A surprise rain had hit our area around 4:30 p.m., but had stopped by the time we were seated in the front of El Toro by the windows. Over the top of a very old but newly renovated building on the corner I watched the sky change toward the coast range to the most beautiful blond color, not a common setting-sun shade around here.

While Mike was paying the bill up front I was looking at the various advertisements and etceteras around the cash register. One of those old stand-up boards with slots sliced into it just the perfect size for a quarter was up close, right in my face. I thought how frequently this kind of charitable appeal was once used and how rarely I see it anymore, as it seems more likely that someone would help themselves to the quarters donated on the board than to slide a quarter into one of the many empty slots. But I decided to pay attention to what organization still uses this and I read, below the black & white photo of a darling little girl, that these paltry donations were for an organization fighting Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma. I went to a silent place inside and thought a moment about my past love, Michael, who died of lymphoma in 2002........I thought I must make a donation to the group online. Now, as I search online to find a link to the organization I realize that there are two major organizations involved in research to fight blood cancer, and I'm not sure which one was represented by the restaurant appeal. They are The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (the oldest at 60 years) and Leukemia Research Foundation.

We drove home marveling together about the beauty of that sky. I described it as creamy. Before we made the eastward-facing right turn toward our neighborhood the pale yellow color drew me in. Lovely, memorable, unique, a blending of delicacy and dynamism, not splashy-loud but tonight a profoundly still sky.

It was Mary's sunset.



Bon'O said...

We ARE neighbors!! I had the same reaction to that uniquely velvety, pale apricot sunset last night. If I ever see one like it again, it will be with a nod to 'blonde Mary'.

Melinda said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Mary's passing--but hopefully she is now in a place where she won't have to suffer with the pain of leukemia. Peter, Paul, and Mary were one of the first groups I was ever introduced to as a child (I so remember "Puff the Magic Dragon"--it was such a favorite of mine). When I learned to play guitar, one of the very first songs I ever learned was "Leaving on a Jet Plane" which I still play to this day.

She had a rich and wonderful life and gave much to the world of music, which will never be forgotten.

This was a great tribute, Lydia!


Darlene said...

This is a beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady with a lovely voice.

Looking to the Stars said...

Good tribute. I loved Peter, Paul & Mary. THey gave us great music, my favorite was "No Name" which was on the "Leaving On a Jet Plane" album. I always wanted to be in a trio, I was in a lot of singing groups but not a trio (sigh). Mary will be missed.

Your resturant sounds yummy, I don't care much for meat. My husband is a big meat lover. When I lived in Calif. my favorite resturant was The Good Earth, yummy food and tea :)

Lydia said...

@Bon'O- It's thrilling to think that someone in my bloggy world was also inspired by the same sunset in our real world! Cheers, neighbor. :)

@Melinda- Thanks, and you know I would just love to hear you sing that song.....or any song, actually. Have you ever done that on any of your podcasts? I still must listen to one when I'm at your blog!

@Darlene- Thank you. It's wonderful sharing memories of her with you.

@Looking to the Stars- I learned something about you from your comments...that you are a singer! That's really cool.
Also, I have heard of The Good Earth, I think. Maybe it's renowned in that area. (You're smart to not eat much meat!)

Rhiannon said...

Thank you for posting this Lydia.

I, also did a post this morning dedicated to Mary Travers passing. I write about my experience with Mary's own seperate identity as a singer and artist as I've always just bought and have most of Mary's own albums...all great. I still have them and have been leafing through them today. I loved her deep voice and I also always loved the way she wore her hair!..:o)

I don't think many people realize the talent Mary had on her own as a singer and the way she interpreted others songs in her albums, were so special and beautiful, and yes also some of her own she wrote through the years. She sang "Indian Sunset" so wonderful.

She has a very special place in my heart and I shall miss her dearly.


Buddha said...

That is a beautiful tribute Lydia.
When people you love start dying you realize you are getting old.
Are more people dying or it just seems that way?

Lydia said...

@Rhi- Your deep appreciation for Mary is so touching in your post. Beautiful. My mother had one of Mary's single albums, and I'm not sure if it's one I got or one that went to my sis. I'll have to look through the stack. We have a really cheapo stereo and I rarely play records. Anyway, I always loved her song "For Bobbie (for baby)" -- I think it had the two titles, maybe not. I saw a public broadcasting concert by PP&M last year, recorded some years ago, and she sang that song to her granddaughter. It was a special moment.

@Buddha- Thanks for being here. Interestingly, your question relates directly to the report given on Nightly News at NBC on Thursday evening. A professor from Columbia University speaks briefly about what it means to us when we lose leaders in our generations. See if this link works (not sure if it will).

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

I'm terribly sorry to only know of her through Puff The Magic Dragon - but maybe that childhood memory of singing about a magical dragon in a seemingly endless summer is a fitting tribute?

La Belette Rouge said...

Those last two paragraphs really got to me. Really beautiful tribute.

Rhiannon said...

P.S. Ironic as this song you have Mary singing on youtube here "And when I die" is written and originally sung by another one of my favorites who passed on in the late 90's...Laura Nyro. "Eli's comin", "Stone soul picnic" "Wedding Bell Blues", "Save the country" and the list goes on with so many songs that Laura wrote and sang that so many had hits out of..but not Laura..needless to say the "fame" was never really important to Laura it was the "soul and the music" and I think Mary felt the same way.

Both Mary and Laura's Souls and talent will live on forever.

Phivos Nicolaides said...

Your warm words really meke it a beautiful tribute!

Lydia said...

@Pixies- I think your childhood memory is a perfectly fitting tribute and I bet she would love it.

@Belette- Thank you for being touched by this post.

@Rhi- I didn't know that about Laura Nyro. Thanks for adding the info.

@Phivos- How nice of you to say that. :)

Erika C. said...

My husband is a hematologist and oncologist so I know what you are talking about. Today he is up in Jamestown RI for an event where sail boat owners can take kids with one or both of their parents in prison sailing.

We didn't go (the kids and I) because it would have been too much.

Anyway, I am always reminded of what good work he does but sometimes it is tough to be the partner of someone like him whose life is such a mission to others.

My thoughts are with you,

Nancy said...

My husband sang her songs to our children every night at bedtime. Now he does it with our grandson. She left a legacy. Nice post.

Lydia said...

@Erika- I think you are special for sharing your husband with others who need him as you are doing now. The sailing sounds like a beautiful activity for those children whose lives are such a challenge. That's terrific! Thanks for your sweet thoughts, as always.

@Nancy- What an amazing legacy your husband gave to your children and is giving to your grandson now by singing Mary's songs at bedtime. I think that's wonderful.

Erin Davis said...

I've been feeling quite sad over Mary's death. I grew up with the music of Peter Paul & Mary; my dad bought the Peter, Paul, and Mommy album for my oldest right after he was born. I feel like something is missing...

Lydia said...

@Erin- You said it perfectly...I too feel like something is missing. Your tie to her music with the birth of your oldest is so tender.



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