Puff the Magic Dragon

Every once in a while, I get a teary phone call from my dad. When I answer the phone he start with the usual "How are you doing?" question, then immediately with a lump in his throat tells me that he just wanted to hear my voice because he just heard "Puff the Magic Dragon" on the radio and he thought of me. I don't remember this, but he tells me that when I was little, I cried when Little Jackie Paper grew up and stopped playing with Puff, because I felt sorry for Puff. I'm sure my dad cried then too. He is, by FAR, the most soft hearted person that I know!

All grown up now, I don't really have direct memories of the song or story, and really just remembered the first few lines of the song, but have memories of it through my dad's stories. Because the song touches my dad so much, when I saw the book at the library last week, I picked it up and checked it out for Annabelle. The book comes with a CD with the title song on it, sung by "Peter" himself. And it's a darn good thing that it came with a CD because there is no way I could read the whole thing myself... due to the huge lump in my throat that snuck in there as soon as the song started! Just hearing the song makes me picture my dad and how he'd react to it, so I start crying now too. I was able to contain myself enough that Annabelle didn't notice since she was looking at the book which beautifully illustrates the story with a page for each line of the song.

The first time that I "read" the story, it tore me up so much that I didn't really encourage Annabelle to read it again. I was happy with the just memory of how it affected me because of my dad, and didn't want to relive the lump in my throat again. But tonight, Annabelle insisted on reading it again. So we did.

This time I tried to just not really think about it and explained what was happening in children's terms because Annabelle had lots of questions like "What's a Honalee?" But when it got to the part where Little Jackie Paper grew up and stopped visiting Puff because he was too big for imaginary play anymore, that lump snuck back into my throat. This time it was because I was now thinking of the story from the position of being a parent realizing that before I know it my little ones will be big enough that their imaginary stories will start to disappear. I know Corgan's stories haven't really started yet, but Annabelle's have and it breaks my heart to think about that innocence disappearing and being replaced with the harsh realities of life. So now, just like my dad, I'm sure any time I hear this song in the future, I'm going to be crying too!


Angelle said...

This was such a sweet post. I think about that all the time, but you put it so eloquently.

Nikki said...

I love that you share this with your dad.

Becky said...

Keri, I read your blog because I found it through Laurie's...through Angelle's...a long time ago...and I think you do a great job. I definitely have the same fond memories of Puff the Magic Dragon with my parents and will have to look for the book. The song definitely chokes me up. Thanks for sharing that!

ljkolumbus said...

ok, now that I have wiped away the tears.. I am so glad that you and Annabelle have found this book and that the sweet memory is passed along! Yes, everything you say is so 'right on' but the joy is knowing that after the innocence has disappeared and reality has set it.. you see the adult you have raised.. and pride grows .. and then you get to share the innocence of your grandbabies!! Life is GOOD! We are proud to be your parents and couldn't love you or our precious grandbabies more!!!