A Thought for Today
Letters will always be necessary. No one
is collecting Walt Whitman’s computer readouts.
One of the great things about
the job I do here at ASPTL is that over the past few years I've assembled
a collection of McKuen "stuff" any serious
collector would sell their mother-in-law for. Thanks to Rod's generosity I now have a pile of books, albums
and memorabilia, some not generally available, to which I refer almost
daily while compiling and editing the Flight Plans.
This wasn't always the case.
Prior to the launch of the web site I had just two books and a handful of
old, very worn vinyl albums in my possession. Strange how things disappear
- a book lent here, an album there and before you know it there's not a
whole lot left of what was once a pretty substantial collection.
At the time I was extremely
distressed to find a whole pile of McKuen documentation missing. Articles
from local media following his 1975 tour to this country, the program from
the concert itself and my most prized possession, a letter from Rod
written way back in 1970.
It may surprise some of you to
know our association goes that far back and none will be more surprised
than Rod himself as he has absolutely no cause to remember that letter. As
a young, aspiring singer I had written to Rod telling him how much I
enjoyed his work and that I used a lot of his material in a folk singing
job I had in a local bar. At the time I wasn't sure he'd even heard of
South Africa and I certainly didn't expect a reply.
But a reply was what I got and
boy, was I impressed that not only had someone had taken the time to type it out,
Rod himself had signed it. I treasured that letter for years and was
devastated when it went missing.
You can imagine my joy when
daughter Nicola unearthed the letter just yesterday along with a whole pile of
old Stanyan mailings and Christmas cards. There's a lot to be said for
moving house; it forces you to sort out stuff which has lain hidden for
years and that's exactly how Nic got her hands on this treasure trove.
It's all still intact, if somewhat moth eaten, and by way of celebration I
thought I'd share the letter with you today.
Rod, with that letter you made
one helluva impression on a young kid 30 years ago and nothing's changed
to this day. Thank you.
To close I thought it fitting
to post the lyrics to one of the first McKuen songs I ever heard. No
prizes for guessing it was sung by the incomparable Glenn Yarbrough and it remains one
of my all-time favorites.
Next week, a lovely letter
from Dolores reminding us of how important animals are in our lives.
Meantime, if you have a favorite McKuen
song or poem you'd like to share, let me know about it by dropping me a
line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll do the
- Ken, Johannesburg,
Booking for "An Evening with
Rod McKuen" at the Riverton Rendezvous is open! Click below for
Riverton Concert Details