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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Flashback Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: Pete Seeger Singer, Songwriter, Sage's Powerful Weapon

Thought for the Day: The quote on Pete Seeger's Banjo, which a friend posted on Facebook yesterday has today's words of wisdom:
This Machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.
My father knew 3 people over the years who were famous. He went to school with Ozzie Nelson, the father of teen heart throb actor and singer, Ricky Nelson. His dentist was Felicia Rashad's (From the Bill Cosby show) father. When I was a teenager, the fact that he knew Ricky Nelson's father was pretty impressive. However, his third famous acquaintance, Pete Seeger, who passed away this week whose words of wisdom are on his banjo above, tops them all.

Pete Seeger, who passed away this year at the age of 94, was one of my heroes. Every time we saw him on TV or heard him on the radio, Pete Seeger's visit to our home would be discussed.  My father was a liberal lawyer who was politically active in Houston, Texas. My guess is that he and my mother organized a political fundraiser when Seeger was in town. I was just a toddler. The story goes that he sang with us and that I sat on his lap and sang along. I don't remember it, only the story and the sense of pride I always had that I sang with him. According to the family myth, Seeger was impressed with my musical bent. Years later as a teen, I learned to play the guitar and many of Pete Seeger's songs were and still are in my repertoire.

Two days ago, before I learned of Pete Seeger's passing, I posted a Travel Tip for parents on HealthTap:

Dr. Barbara Lavi shared a tip:

Singing with kids makes long car trips fun memorable family experiences that will last a lifetime.
Many of the songs that I have shared with my children on road trips were songs that I learned from Pete Seeger: "This Land is Your Land," "If I Had a Hammer," "This Train Is Bound for Glory," "Turn Turn Turn," & the list goes on and on.  (Two of my Saturday Songs for the Soul Posts include wonderful videos of Seeger as a young man and more recently: Love, Joy, Change and Hope and  Psychology & Music with Seeger accompanying Mimi Farina and Tom Jans). They have been part of the soundtrack of my life and my children's life that inspired me to believe in our ability to change the world and aspire for peace. We all can keep his vision alive by continuing to share his music. 
In 2009 my brother and sister-in-law were in Upstate New York & heard that Pete was performing at a small museum. They went and sang with him and took several photos. I wish i had been there. When I aksed Mike, if he asked Pete if he remembered our father, Mike had not. Mike was not at the house concert and had forgotten the family story!
Mike, his wife, margie son Dan and their friends with Pete Seeger
A great singer makes you feel as though they are singing to you. Pete Seeger sang and not only did he make you feel that he was singing to you and with you, he was singing to the whole world and asking you and all who heard his words to join him in his quest to promote all that is good in human beings. His voice was a powerful weapon against prejudice and hate. He will be missed.

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