The Answer is Blowin' in the Wind

Monday, January 16, 2017

Peter, Paul, and Mary. A folk singing trio that was a religion in my home. My parents discovered them during their youth and introduced them to me during mine. At 13, we all attended their concert at the Midland in Kansas City and you couldn't help yourself from singing along. And when the show was over, a large group of people were making their way from their orchestra seats and taking a place on stage. We didn't know what was happening, but my dad and I knew we wanted to be a part of it. The two of us gathered with the crowd, leaving my rule follower mom in the audience to fret. The group, with two stragglers, found themselves backstage with Peter and Mary, however I was a little distracted knowing my mom was still waiting nervously in the theater. As I continued to look over my shoulder, Peter asked me, "What's the matter, muffin?" I told him that we had left my mom behind in the theater so he walked me to center stage and asked, "Muffin's mom? Come join us" The three of us made our way backstage with the others. What an incredible experience. We spent time with them, listening to Mary (who drank red wine) and Peter talk to us all as if we were old friends gathered together in their home. The only one missing was Peter.

My dad had brought along the cover to their reunion album in hopes of having all three sign it. We had success with Peter and Mary. We lacked Paul's. Again, we wandered off in the search of our trifecta and found him as he was making his way out of the theater. My dad approached gingerly and Paul obliged. It was night we three will never forget.

Since that concert in the mid 1980s, we have seen the trio seven times. And again, we found ourselves backstage at their concert at Wolftrap in VA. And again, Peter referred to me as muffin. We were home.

In 1963, during the March on Washington, Peter, Paul, and Mary performed two incredibly poignant songs. Blowin' in the Wind, written by Bob Dylan, is best known as a protest anthem. But really, it's a song that asks questions. It searches for answers. Answers that may never come.

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind
Yes, and how many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, and how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind
Yes, and how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, and how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take 'till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

We must continue to ask the questions. We must continue to search for the answers. I will continue to find faith in the religion of Peter, Paul, and Mary. I will harbor this religion in my home with my child and his children after him. 


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