Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for...

Cats in the Cradle...Harry Chapin, 1974.

A Serenade of Seventies songs, from the soundtrack of my life, is my theme for the A-Z challenge this year.

Oh how I loved this song when I was a child, young enough to be excited by the notion of a yarn game and some nursery rhyme lyrics. Back then I thought the message had something to do with it being okay for fathers to be busy.

"Can you teach me to throw?" 
I said "Not today, I got a lot to do" 
He said "That's okay."

The concept was a little foreign to me still, as my father didn't live with me by the time I was four, but I never once felt like he was too busy for me. We always had a good time when we were together, so I just figured these people would as well. One of the things we did a lot was sing. My father taught me so many absolutely incredible songs, some of which will show up later in this challenge. Sometimes we even had the words right.
My dad, his awesome outfit, me, and my grandfather in 1975.
 As I got older, and started paying attention to the second half of the song, I found it to be one of the saddest ones I had ever heard (aside from Taxi). Still, I never stopped singing and loving it. Harry Chapin's ability to tell a complete story while pulling us into his world in four minute bursts was incredible. 




The a-z challenge is here! Thanks for stopping by for a few bars. 
I will be responding to comments via email when available, and here in comments when it is not.

47 comments:

  1. Aww. sweet post. Its funny how when we are young, we can know the words but not yet have enough experience to understand their full meaning. That is such a great photo too.

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  2. Glad you have such memories with your father. Honestly, this song ought to be required listening for all new parents for the incredibly powerful message it tells.

    I love your photo!!!

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    1. One of the best things is that now my kids get to sing in the car with him!

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  3. With everyone working so hard these days just to pay the bills, I'm sure this song still resonates with so many, even all these years later. Poignant and pointed. Great choice!

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  4. Such a beautiful and sad song.
    I don't know how they would sing it without getting choked up!
    HMG

    Heather M. Gardner
    The Waiting is the Hardest Part
    Stormy's Sidekick
    Blogging from A to Z April Challenge Co-Host

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    1. I felt much better watching the clips that revealed that this song was not actually a reflection on his childhood.

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  5. This is still so valid today, families not making time for each other. Such a sad song.

    Eileen @ In My Playroom (also doing the A to Z Challenge)

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  6. I always listen to this song all the way through when it comes on the radio, but it is SO SAD - for both the father and the son. If one male relationship is improved by hearing these lyrics, I would feel better, but I've never heard any discussion about that. Good choice to remind all of us that it's the way we engage daily with our loved ones that matters.

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  7. Oh, I am loving your posts and song choices. This was another wonderful song!

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  8. Man, all these songs so take me back to my earlier years. They are so great, and I love them Iike you do. These artists were true storytellers. We don't have that anymore. Thanks for the memories!

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  9. You enjoy the music when you are happy, and you relish the lyrics when you are being thoughtful! Nice one :)

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  10. Yep. Your caption is my favorite part of this post. Lol! You crack me up.

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    1. I was hoping someone would catch it! ;)

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  11. Yep. Your caption is my favorite part of this post. Lol! You crack me up.

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  12. So true about Harry Chapin telling a complete story in 4 minutes! Every time I hear the song I get sad too, thinking about it. Great song. So moving. And I gotta say, LOVED your caption in the photo. The outfit is so 70s!!! LOVE! (btw, i was directed to your blog by Marci at http://fuzzyundertones.com/ . She pointed me to you because my post today is C is for Concerts. Those were the days!) So glad she referred me! Can't wait to come back everyday...

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  13. I always liked this song too! Awesome! ♥

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  14. I always thought it was a really sad song. Unfortunately now all i ever sing is the Bob Rivers' Twisted Tune, "and the cat's in the kettle at the Peking Moon, the place where I eat every day at noon..." It goes on, "I swear I heard it mew, and that's when I knew.....

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  15. Isn't this also the name of a children's game with string, I wonder if that's where the idea came from ? A xx

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    1. Yes! Hence the yarn reference...lol...two people make a series of patterns with a piece of yarn tied into a loop!

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  16. yeah, that's a great song
    and sad

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  17. Yes, this is one of the saddest songs ever! A definite cautionary tale.

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  18. I miss old-school singer-songwriter story-telling. Great story, great song. I'm going to go play with my kids now...

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    1. Be careful, those guys play rough!

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  19. Man Andrea, you do know how to pick all the songs that mean something to me! I've always found this song to be so incredibly sad, and it often makes me tear up. The Engineer is a very busy man, and when the kids were little and couldn't "help" with his evening inventing/projecting/researching he frankly didn't spend very much time with them. So there was a (rare) time when the radio was on (he hates background noise) and this song came on. I got weepy. He looked at me and said, "Wow, that's me isn't it. Good thing I'm just at the toss a ball stage. I still got time." He devoted himself to being a father AND all those other things at that point.
    I'm glad you had good times with your Dad, and singing together is always fun. The Swede and I can't sing though...so it would be a totally different experience. We sailed and went to hockey together, though.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

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  20. I was a child of the 80s, but discovered a lot of 60s and 70s music in high school. Simon & Garfunkel (your previous post) was one group that I learned to adore in my teen years. This was another song that I found in high school and still love. I, too, think this is one of the saddest songs ever. It's about how we repeat cycles. And don't understand what we've lost until it's gone. Very profound stuff.

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  21. I loved that song too! I also love your photo and story about you and your dad singing. Can't wait to hear what other songs you sang together!

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    1. My kids sing completely different songs with him. Maybe because now his car has a radio...lol

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  22. I loved that song, too, but thankfully, I grew up with a wonderful dad, so I have good memories. Couldn't relate to the song, but always felt sad when I listened to it, and I think it helped me want to be a good parent to my own children (who are grown up now!).

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  23. Oh wow! This is a tearjerker for me! and yeah! isn't it funny to think about what we actually thought the words were!??

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  24. I was sad when he died.

    Love,
    Janie

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  25. Still makes me cry every time I hear it. So glad you're doing the challenge again.

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  26. It's a beautiful song, and I don't think I caught the truth of it until I became a parent myself.

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  27. Visiting from A/Z; you have featured great songs from my younger days here. I do remember listening to this song and how sad it was, and absolutely loved Bridge Over Troubled Water when it first came out, but haven't heard it in years, and I think I still know all the words to American Pie years later. Great them for the challenge. Good luck with it!

    betty

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  28. What a stunning post. I love your candour. You have a new follower from the A-Z challenge.

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  29. You're such a cutie patootie in that photo with the two handsome men!

    Yup, that song makes me cry every single time.

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  30. This is a sad song. It's one that I tried to keep in mind as my own kids were growing up. I treasure the time I spent with my daughters and now they tell me how much they appreciated my spending a lot of time with them.

    Lee
    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

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  31. You are picking the BEST songs! (Well, with the exception of Billy.) This is one of my very favoritist songs ever. I love this song. Even if it makes me sad.

    -andi

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  32. I cannot listen to this song when I'm hormonal. Every time I was pregnant, I'd bawl my eyes out if I caught this on the radio or wherever, lol!

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  33. Not only is it sad, it had a poignancy that's hard to find these days. Speaking to emotions and who we are...

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  34. Harry Chapin is one of my all time favorites. The whole catalog.
    Excellent C word :)

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  35. "Cats in the Cradle" was always a poignantly sad song to me, although I had a father who doted on me and was my primary care-giver from birth. My mother and I were never really close when I was growing up. When Chapin died, I was in Ann Arbor, doing some grad work, playing viola madly and I was saddened in the way Lennon's passing saddened me, and Roy Orbison's as well. Some musicians are so influential and burn so brightly for so brief a period, we are lucky to have them. Thank you Andrea. Now, to completely switch gears, but I do that, I forgot to mention, you really rocked that "Love Boat" outfit in your "B" post. That should be emblazoned about 40 feet high somewhere like Times Square! I totally love it! Mary

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  36. One of the master singer/songwriter/story-tellers. Miss him still.

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