In Perfect Harmony

By Rose Ann Sinay

In Perfect Harmony

When the folk-rock duo Simon and Garfunkel split up, my teen-aged heart broke in half. I cried and prayed that they would mend their relationship. I didn’t think there were any other singers that were as introspective and talented as they were. It was a huge crisis in my young, impressionable life.

Of course, I had their most recent album, Bridge Over Troubled Water, to help me through the pain of their parting. It was my most treasured possession – one of the only four records that I owned. I played it over and over again. When the black vinyl became so scratched it started hiccupping Paul and Art’s words, I bought my first compact cassette tape.

Years later, it was replaced with a shiny, silver CD and played, full blast, every Saturday and Sunday morning. My children would start their day with “Wake up Little Susie,” (wake up!) and “Baby Driver” to get them moving.

Sometimes I feared I had spoiled folk-rock for my kids with the weekend barrages of my favorite oldies. Country-western music had filled my parents’ home when I was a child, and I disliked it – it was their music.

Fortunately, my kids loved the songs that I sang along with at the top of my lungs: “El Condor Pasa (If I Could),” and “Keep the Customer Satisfied.” I clapped my hands and tapped my feet in time to “Cecilia.” I would unconsciously sing “Scarborough Fair” while rubbing those herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme) into the skin of the roasting chicken I was making for dinner. We all knew the words to those songs by heart.

“Why don’t you have any Beatles records?” my son once asked as he and his sister went through my meager collection of albums and 45s. “Weren’t they the most popular group back in the old days?”

“Music is personal and timeless,” I explained. “Simon and Garfunkel spoke to me then, and they still speak to me now.”

“Are you saying they “sang” to you personally,” he joked.

I smiled. “You should know that “Bridge Over Troubled Water” got me through those long, agonizing hours of labor bringing you into this world. It was the first, pure sound you ever heard. I would say that was very personal.” My son’s face turned red as he backed out of my line of fire.

I turned up the volume.

The years passed. I continued to play my music on the weekends, but now it was punctuated by Nirvana, Radiohead, Metallica and Jessica Simpson. I learned to enjoy the kids’ music (some of it), but perfect harmony, it was not.

In 2003, Simon and Garfunkel temporarily reunited, and I learned that they were in the concert line-up at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut, not far from where we lived. I was so excited; I rushed home with the news. After all the years of listening to their music and sharing them with my family, we were actually going to see them in person. I called our friends; it would be a celebration – a party. I would officially be a groupie!

When my husband came home, he looked at his calendar. “I hate to tell you this,” he said, “but we leave for our trip during that week.”

Nooooo! How could this happen? They may never sing together again – ever! I’d forgotten about the business trip/vacation. “The Sounds of Silence” filled my head. I contemplated staying home. Ireland would always be there. Simon and Garfunkel would not.

So…we went to Ireland. I sulked and was sad for a few days, but who could be unhappy for long in the land of leprechauns, shamrocks and a pot of gold for a lucky soul. We made plans to visit the Blarney Castle. I knew I could make a wish when I kissed the Blarney Stone. I felt a bit of guilt as I held onto the metal rails, dropped my head back, and kissed the famous rock. I probably should have wished for world peace, or that our plane wouldn’t crash on the trip back –but, well, you know what I wished for.

Time went by, our children grew into adults, and the music became the background for our lives. My secret wish, silly and frivolous, was forgotten.

On my son’s wedding day, after the nuptials and toasts (ah, it was a beautiful wedding), he pulled me from my chair and led me to the dance floor. When the music started, it took only a few notes to recognize the song he had chosen for our dance. It was the song that had greeted him into the world, and it brought tears to my eyes.

Art Garfunkel’s beautiful voice gave life to Paul Simon’s lyrics in “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” My family had gone full circle, kept together by strong threads of love, values and yes, music, melded together to set that bridge firmly in place. We sang along with those words like they were our own – in perfect harmony.

About this writer

  • Rose Ann Sinay Rose Ann Sinay is a freelance writer typing away in sunny North Carolina. Her articles/stories have been published in The Carolinas Today, The Oddville Press and The Brunswick Beacon.

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

12 Responses to “In Perfect Harmony”

  1. Erika Hoffman says:

    Loved it. Could identify with the feeling and the songs! You wrote a beautiful piece, and I think you should send it to those Singers of the 60’s– who created the background music for our youth.

    • Rose Ann says:

      Imagine–those singers had no idea that their songs would be so meaningful and stay with us for a lifetime! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. Mary Ann Miller says:

    I have ALWAYS LOVED Simon and Garfunkel so I can certainly relate. Ahh, Rose Ann, you’ve done it again – put into words, in PRINT, those long lost, and current, I might add, feelings and memories of a time and bond we share. Too bad you missed the concert! And “bravo!” to Terry for that wonderfully memorable wedding dance!

  3. Judi Ghattas says:

    loved it. Music touches our soul like no other.

  4. Pat Marino says:

    You have a way with words! I have goosebumps! Beautifully said!

    • Rose Ann says:

      Pat, thanks for your kind words. So glad that you enjoyed it and were at the wedding! More memories to attach to “Bridge over Troubled Waters”!

  5. Kathy Strunk says:

    You did it again, brought tears to my eyes. That was my fathers favorite song and I too heard it so often, thanks for bringing me back to a special time as well. Kudos to Terry!

  6. Colleen Wenthen says:

    How many tears were shed over this song? You did it again, bought me back to a few of my own. How thoughtful of Terry! Well done 👏👏

  7. Those songs and your essay touched my heart. Music is wonderful.

  8. Tammy Rohlf says:

    What a beautiful story! Love how music can “bridge” generations! Our family as well would take trips up to the mountains for long weekends. The Simon and Garfunkel tapes would come out and we would all be singing. Wonderful memories!

Leave your mark with style

Comment in style

Stand out from the crowd and add some flare beside your comment.
Get your free Gravatar today!

Make it personal

avatar versus gravatar Close