Friday, May 01, 2009

May Day

Because it is May Day, the traditional workers holiday, and because there is a big concert in New York this weekend in celebration of Pete Seegar's 90th birthday, I will tell my favorite Pete Seeger story.

It seems that Seeger and Woody Guthrie were doing some union organizing in Minnesota's North Woods in the 30s; and they were doing a show for a bunch of Scandinavian American loggers in a logging camp.

They played some music and told some jokes; and the loggers just sat there with stony faces. So they played some more music and told some more jokes; and no one even cracked a smile. And so it went. No matter what they did, they could not get a reaction from the loggers. Finally they got nervous, and they wrapped the show up early and got off the stage before people began throwing things.

The next morning at breakfast, the camp cook said to them, "The boys really liked your show. You could have played all night."

I've always thought this was a funny story. But it's also sad. The guys did not get the full concert they wanted, because they were too tired and too Minnesotan to react.

I hope Pete and Woody stayed another night and gave them another show.

Happy May Day, and Happy Birthday to Pete.


Blogger Arthur D. Hlavaty said...

There's a similar New England story: a comedy troupe performing to a stone-faced audience, and afterwards someone says, "It was all we could to keep from busting out laughing."

5:37 AM  

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