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January 29, 2014
Folksinger Pete Seeger’s death on Monday at the age of 94 prompted Merritt reader Jim Root to share a memory of a car ride with the musician.
Back in the mid-1980’s I was a State Trooper assigned to the protection unit for Ohio Governor Richard Celeste. Governor Celeste and Pete Seeger were longtime friends and Mr. Seeger stayed overnight at the Governor’s Mansion.
The following morning I got a call from the Governor asking me to take Mr Seeger to a halfway house in Columbus Ohio where he would perform a free concert for the folks who were there.
Mr. Seeger was just a delight to have in the car, and often asked about me and my family, particularly my kids. He traveled very light, just carrying a few clothes and things in a loose back, and of course his banjo. After 15 minutes we were talking freely with one another. He was just that type of guy.
As we got near out destination I asked him what he thought ‘life was all about.’ I’m not sure why I did; I guess he just brought that out in people.
He picked up his banjo, then paused for a moment. As he got ready to get out of the car he smiled and said, “life’s like a complicated piece of music” and plucked a few chords. “About the time you get it figured out… it’s over..”
He smiled, thanked me, and walked on to his gig.
OSHP Lieutenant Jim Root Ret.
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