Ithaca Blog

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pete Seeger, Not Stopping

The New York Times last month reported on folk singer Pete Seeger, who at age 89 doesn't appear on concert stages much anymore, but can be seen every Saturday on Route 9 near his hometown of Beacon, New York, keeping a roadside anti-war vigil with hand-painted signs for peace.

It's not a rally at the Lincoln Memorial. But that's the point.

"You do a little bit wherever you are," Mr. Seeger says.

He brings his banjo along and plays for people who stop to join him, or just recognize and want to meet him.

We had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Seeger two years ago, representing Ithaca Hours, the local currency system. Mr. Seeger wanted to start a similar system in Beacon and asked us to address a group he formed for the project.

Mr. Seeger had a particular goal in mind: to fund, with the new revenue stream and increased economic activity of a local currency, the creation of an aquatic pool cage that could be put in the Hudson River near Beacon for summer swimming for children.

It was a productive meeting, though we did mention to Mr. Seeger that a local currency takes a long time to develop. He asked, deadpan, why we would mention the issue of time and duration to him.

We sure retracted that remark. We said (and meant) that we hoped to be at 67 as he was that day at 87. (Mr. Seeger had organized the meeting, and arranged our participation, and his wife Toshi and he cooked dinner for the group of twenty people.)

Since last month's piece in the Times about Mr. Seeger's public vigil, we saw another news article about Beacon.

It announced a new pool cage in the Hudson River for summer swimming for children.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

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