Let Your Voice Be Heard
"Seeger liked to tell a story about two frogs: 'A farmer once
left a tall can of milk with the top off outside his door. Two frogs
hopped into it, and then found that they couldn't hop out. After
thrashing around a bit, one of them says, "There's no hope." With one
last gurgle he sank to the bottom. The other frog refused to give
up. In the morning the farmer came out and found one live frog
sitting on a big cake of butter.' Like the second frog, whose efforts
had churned the milk into butter, Pete Seeger refused to give up."
Even people growing up unaware of Pete Seeger have probably
heard at least one of his songs, many of which are adaptations of folk
tunes. Where Have All The Flowers Gone? was popular at the Girl Scout
campfires of my childhood. A South African folk song he adapted made
in into the movie, The Lion King. We Shall Overcome is as relevant
and needed now as it was in the 60's.
Quite fortunately, Anita Silvey was a huge Pete Seeger fan
during her teen years. One of the best moments of her life was when
Seeger himself gave his blessing to her to write his biography.
Knowing that he would probably die before she finished, he instructed
her to take her time and write a good book.
In my mind, Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life And Times Of Pete
Seeger is an amazing book. Through a beautiful combination of text
and photographs, the reader gets to see Seeger as:
*a child who learned from his father about the plight of the very poor;
*a young man who tried to become an artist when he couldn't make it as
a reporter and went on to become a musician when he couldn't make it
as an artist;
*a pacifist who enlisted when his hatred of Hitler became stronger
that his wanting to stay out of the war;
*a performer who, after many years of money problems, made it
financially only to be made persona non grata when he was put under
suspicion by the House Un-American Activities Activities Committee...
Pete Seeger is a really relevant role model on the twenty-first
century. His respect for the beauty and validity of the culture of
the poor, his dedication to causes such as the Civil Rights and
environmental movements, and his faith that no matter how strong evils
are, good will win out with a lot of hard work are traits most of us
could stand to cultivate. Let Your Voice Be Heard is an excellent
introduction to his life and work.
On a personal note, I had a wonderful Valentines Day. Eugene gave me
a dear potted plant in a cunning critter pot and a lovely card. He
took me out to Ruby Tuesdays for supper. Neither of us had been there
before. The food and service were really good.
A great big shout out goes out to Eugene.
Sent from my iPod