Long Time Passings 2009

As the lists begin to roll out at the end of the year, I was struck by how differently we are all affected by the deaths of heroes, stars, celebrities, politicians and others who have gained some notoriety during our contiguous time on the planet. I looked over several of those lists and found two names that saddened me.

Mary Travers, known by most as the female member of Peter, Paul & Mary. These three came together in Greenwich Village in 1961 and included on their first album, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, 500 Miles and If I had a Hammer. Their signature song Puff the Magic Dragon came out in 1963. Together as a group for only eight years, the three often got together for social justice causes in the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s. Mary Travers was 72.

Soupy Sales began his 'Lunch Time with Soupy' on WXYZ-TV in Detroit in 1953, which put me in the 1st grade. At lunch every day, I would walk the half block home from St. Joseph's and have a bowl of Campbell's soup and a sandwich in front of the television and Soupy. White Fang, Black Tooth, Pookie the Lion, Hippy the Hippo and Willie the Worm were household names where I grew up. Soupy also did an 11 o'clock show that featured jazz musicians who were doing shows in Detroit and later New York. I can't say I remember the late night show. Soupy was 83.

Thirdly, I want to get a bit patriotic (you may not agree with that label) but also damn angry, because thousands of U.S. military have been lost this year in the vain and futile abhorrences our government is carrying out in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of those soldiers have died in their late teens or early 20s. If you agree, it is time to speak up to your elected officials. Stop the Wars Now!