The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #70103   Message #1194208
Posted By: Stilly River Sage
26-May-04 - 11:10 AM
Thread Name: Seeger's swan song?
Subject: RE: Seeger's swan song?
With all due respect to Big Mick and Seamus, I would judge that what Pete is worried about isn't "missing the odd lyric," it's much more complicated. In the old days missing a lyric would be cause for a chuckle or a slight groan from listeners. It won't mean the same thing now, and the social and physiological response is going to be more pronounced--confusion, pauses, discomfort, repetition, a whole pattern of behaviors that would make everyone uncomfortable, most of all, Pete.

I think we can rest assured that Pete won't just put down that banjo for all time, but certainly for public appearances. Not personally knowing the man or the complexity of his circumstances, I would conjecture that he'll still sing around the house, and probably with friends in small private gatherings. Does he still live in that wonderful little house up in Fishkill? Then maybe he'll putter around the cabin singing also. The woods will be filled with scraps of songs, and maybe he'll sing a chorus or two when he phones good friends or family (my Dad always used to do that!) but let him choose to retire from the stage with dignity.

I don't make this suggestion out of reluctance to look mortality in the eye--we all know we are seeing a giant of the folk world falter and decide to bow out gracefully. Those who have seen elderly parents make decisions regarding how they will spend their final days know that this is a particularly difficult path, that of choosing to stop what you've been doing, but is being weighed against the prospect of continuing on and stumbling more and more. It's what my social worker mother used to call "the summing up" that elderly people go through as they set their lives in order. We may not have heard the last of Pete--he may well turn to sorting and releasing papers, early recordings, etc. It's his call.

Here's hoping he's happy and comfortable in whatever he chooses to do to fill his days.