Celebrating your life, Betty MacDonald

Monday, August 30, 2010

The town you loved, loved you right back, Betty. In so many ways.

Tuned you in on the radio. Came to your house for violin lessons. Followed your career with pride when you interviewed and then performed with some of the greatest jazz musicians of our time. From Fathead Newman to Dave Brubeck. Watched your travels from New York, to Key West, to Europe and Asia.

When we found out you were dying, we sang at your window. Day after day, till you left us so gracefully early one morning. By nightfall a hundred and fifty folks had gathered on the Town Green, right in the middle of Woodstock, to sing some of your favorite songs. To feel the sorrow and finally, to dance under the stars. Powered by our emotion, our clapping hands and stomping feet.

And then last Saturday evening, I played a show in Woodstock. When I had booked the show, I had expected you to be in the band as you have been for 35 years. But you weren’t and we missed you over and over again. Light in you Eyes. Wheel inside a Wheel. Omy. Move Up To The Country. Each song felt the loneliness. The hollow emptiness of your missing violin.

But I want you to know, Betty MacDonald, we celebrated with all our heart and soul. Sent all our music to you with love and affection. Folks told Betty stories. I wrote and sang a song for you. And then finally, it was tequila, the bright half moon and the beautiful Woodstock family that danced ecstatically. Celebrating your life, Betty MacDonald. Oh what a life it was…and is.

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