PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON
Forty-one years ago I stood right next to her as she waited to go on stage. As I was waiting in the wings with her, I never thought that forty-one years later the lyrics to her (their) biggest hit would carry such an emotional blow for me. I am speaking of Mary Travers, of Peter, Paul and Mary fame.
As one ages, or at least for me, there are occasions when I would like to freeze time, and today was one of those times. I have referenced in many of my previous ramblings about taking our grandkids to my coffee place. All six of them are well acquainted with what the smaller ones call the cookie place.
Today my wife began her day like most Sundays; up, hustle around and off to church. We grab a bite to eat afterwards and then on with the afternoon activities. This afternoon saw me taking our six year old granddaughter, Delaney, and her four year old brother, Jake, for cookies and juice.
As we drive to our location we often have a routine. We look for flying elephants, lions and tigers behind rocks. We often talk about clouds, yes, and often the three of us sing. We have a cd of
children’s songs and I’ll put it on and we all join in; Old MacDonald and all the farm animals, etc.
Surprisingly when I bought this cd the song, “Puff the Magic Dragon” appeared. I have heard that song hundreds of times, but today I really “heard it.” Most of you are familiar with the song. There is a dragon named Puff and he and the little fella, Jackie
Paper, are buddies. It says that Jackie loved this rascal Puff. Further lyrics describe how they have good and special times together, kings paid attention to them, and pirate ships would lower their flags when coming into their presences. Pretty heavy credentials one might say.
But the last verse says that “one night it happened.” Jackie came no more, he was gone, and it had a devastating effect on Puff. He quit roaring and he bowed his head in sorrow, his scales fell like rain, Puff would no longer play or be happy. It got so bad that ole Puff just went off into a cave and was never heard or seen again.
The line that hit me, as I looked in my back seat to see those two little ones strapped in their car seats both singing along:
“A dragon lives forever, but not so with little boys. Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys.”
Today, June tenth, is also the birthday of our oldest grandchild; he is 24 years old. A dragon, well, the song tells us that dragons live forever, but not little boys. “They don’t stay little forever,
they make way for other toys.”
I don’t want to hear that, don’t tell me that, I don’t like the thought of never having a small grandchild in my life. A child
brings something to the lives of all of us like nothing else. I know the thought of them never growing up is selfish on my part, but today, just today I wish Puff and Little Jackie Paper were together again.
Dragons live forever, but not little boys and girls.
June 10, 2012