Monday, April 23, 2012

Forever Young

Folk legend Neil Young wrote the song Sugar Mountain when he was only 19, lamenting the end of his youth.

"Oh, to live on Sugar Mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons,
You can't be twenty on Sugar Mountain
Though you're thinking that
You're leaving there too soon"

His friend Joni Mitchell, upset by the defeated tone of the lyrics, responded a few years later with her own coming-of-age song, Circle Game.

"So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through"

My Dad, on board the Joni Mitchell train,  found the end of Puff The Magic Dragon, similarly upsetting.

When he sings it, he concludes the song like this:

"Yes Jackie left forever, to grow and be a man.
Puff the mighty dragon swore he'd never rise again.
But from the cavern entrance a familiar voice there came.
A child's hearty laughter loudly calling out Puff's name.

From unknown depths he clamored, and rose to see the sun
Young Jackie smiled, tipped his hat, and waved the dragon on.
Again the boy will vanish, his manhood to explore.
But each child will return to Puff to hear that fearless roar!"

Each summer, as a child, I took it upon myself to explain to the nouveau hippie music director at my beloved camp that this is the real ending to the song.

But now that I'm adult, I might have to do a little re-write myself.

As much as I love Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and of course- my Dad, I married a man who vowed to me on our wedding day, that he will "keep me young, as we grow old". And as I watched his 82 year old grandfather and his 90 year old brother taking tequila shots and boogieing on the dance floor with their multiple generations of progeny, I knew that it was promise he intends to keep.

Someday, we'll have a "Young Jackie" who we'll take, hand in hand in hand, to meet Puff and the pirates, kings and princes. But until then, we'll continue to have our own magical adventures, perched side-by-side on that gigantic tail.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE this soooo much! Omigosh! Please add pictures! Shall I send you a photo of someone from camp with a guitar?