Monday, July 23, 2007

Puff

A new book was released the other day...no, not that one, this one. I've got to get me a copy and see how close to right they got it!

[Let me clear up one thing before I go on: this song is NOT about smoking pot. Check it out here and here if you don't believe me]

I have a very vivid memory of this song from my childhood. I was about 5 or 6 years old. It was a warm & sunny spring afternoon and mom had let me out in the back yard to wait for my brother to get home from school. He always walked home and came in the back. Seemed like it was a half a mile from the house to the back gate to my kid's legs (it really was a big yard, though...almost 3/4 of an acre). I usually just puttered around on the swing set. I didn't swing so much as I did the see-saw since I didn't know how to swing by myself. We had one of those custom made swing sets that had been left by the people who lived there before us. It wasn't the flimsy, fancy painted kind you see at the stores these days. This one was made out of left over steel pipe and fence posts. It could have held up an elephant. This particular day I sat on the swing, pushing off the ground with my feet. I'd wait for the motion to stop and then I'd do it again. One time as I swung forward, for some reason, I pulled back on the chains and found that I went out a little further than the time before. Maybe I was onto something here! I tried it a few more times and each time I would swing out more than the time before! This was cool! Soon I was swinging as high as the top rail that the chains were attached to! I was flying!

As I enjoyed my new found freedom from having to have someone push me I began singing the song we had learned in our kindergarten class. I began thinking about the words as I flew along singing and it struck me: I'll bet the reason Jackie Paper quit coming to see Puff was because he'd grown up. Wow. What a terrible thing to do to his best friend. Now, I had spent a good deal of my young life wanting to hurry and grow up...be a big kid so I could do big kid stuff, or better yet be a grown up so I wouldn't have to listen to anybody and I could do what I wanted and I could go where I wanted when I wanted and I could get anything I wanted! But it started to seem to me that people changed when they grew up...there was Jackie Paper and there was my brother. My brother was in 6th grade and I had noticed him changing a lot lately. Seemed now all he cared about was looking in the mirror, coming his hair, talking about (yuck!) girls and he was disgustingly clean all the time. I knew by the way that my shoes and clothes kept shrinking every few weeks that there probably wasn't anything I could do about getting bigger. But, I made up my mind right then and there that there was NO WAY I was going to grow up and leave a best friend like Puff behind and forget about him! I said "Puff, you can count on me, buddy, I'll always be there for you".

When our children were born and I began watching them grow I was reminded of this lesson all over again. I have made every effort to not 'grow up' and if the opinion of Daughter #2 means anything Puff and I are still best friends and we manage to 'play along the cherry lane' most every day...

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Little Jackie Paper loved that rascal Puff,
and brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff.

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail
Jackie kept a lookout perched on Puff's gigantic tail,
Noble kings and princes would bow whene'er they came,
Pirate ships would lower their flag when Puff roared out his name.

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys.
One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
Without his life-long friend, Puff could not be brave,
So Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave. Oh!

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

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