Monday, July 21, 2008
Puff, the Magic Dragon
We had the pleasure of driving out to the Barnes and Noble on Nesconset Highway by the Smithaven Mall yesterday evening to see Peter Yarrow (of the folk group Peter, Paul & Mary) perform. He has coauthored a picture book and CD of Puff, The Magic Dragon and nominally was at B&N for a book signing, but the real draw was the performance. He sang songs and talked and related with the children watching in a way that was just magical. You could see everyone was hanging on his every word, the kids were smiling and singing and clapping along. He spoke of the present times being a return to the ideals of the sixties, where if we all just pull together we can change our world to one where peace and justice reign. That he held everyone in thrall is just the only way I can think of to express what went on.
The line for the book signing was pretty long--we waited around 40 minutes, I think, and were about halfway down the line. Part of the reason it was so long was that Peter spoke to everyone, signed the book or mementos they'd brought, gave hugs and took photos. I honestly think he is about the most sincerely caring person I have ever had the pleasure to meet. It was obvious that he was genuinely glad to meet each person, not just going through the motions as I imagine many celebrities do. He looked right into your eyes as he spoke, he put his hands on the children's hair or hands, and his hugs were real rather than perfunctory. Just talking to him for a few moments was amazing.
Anyway, I just wanted to share because it was a really fun evening, and I guess I'm a bit star struck. I think he put it best when he noted, "I wrote this song in 1959 (Puff) and the fact that four year olds know all the words never fails to amaze me."