There are songs, special songs, that can transport us back in time to a certain point, a specific memory. Leaving On a Jet Plane is one of those songs for me. I think I mentioned it once before in a blog post.
The song, written by John Denver, was recorded by Peter, Paul, and Mary in 1967. So, I imagine it was around the summer of 1968 or 69 when my cousin Paula and I sang it at the top of our lungs in the back of her parents station wagon. We, all us Graham/Denmark cousins, had been to the next town over to swim. We were headed home down a south Georgia two-lane, the summer air blowing our hair around as it dried our swimsuits, and I don’t remember if the song came on the radio or if we just started singing it. I’m not sure why this moment in time has stuck with me all these years. I think it was the pure joy of the moment, the carefree happiness of a childhood that was always made better when cousins were around.
A few weeks ago I reunited with Paula for a weekend in Arkansas. It was the first time, probably since that summer, that we had been together for any length of time. In fact, we’d only seen each other 4-5 times in the intervening years. But, there is something about the bond of cousins – the years made no difference – it was like we picked up where we’d left off so many summers ago. We have led such different lives, yet the bond of family and the bond of Christ has held us together. For that I am grateful.
“For the winds of the years have blown between us and the clouds of many storms have danced around us and it was said many times that we were parted, but distance matters not to friendship and there is no such thing as time.” (in a letter to his friend Cluster Baker)
This year I read Woody Guthrie: A Life by Joe Klein. I learned so much but not just about his life, one that was a combination of brilliance and mental illness, but also a lot of our country’s history. His son and his granddaughter followed in his musical footsteps. I hope you’ll take a listen to all three generations.
“Roll with it or get rolled over.” – Raven’s tattoo
I love the story behind this video and I really love the song. I am new to John Moreland, but this caused me to look up some more of his music. Take a listen to Slow Down Easy. And then watch the video below. Don’t cry…
“I have always found that I did not get so tired, and my day seemed shorter, when I listened to the birds singing or noticed, from the window, the beauties of the trees or clouds.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder