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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Jan 20, 2017

“Are you going to Scarborough Faire?”

Well, yes, we are, indirectly. Last fall my wife and I saw that Art Garfunkel would be performing in the auditorium of the local community college in Mason City.

We bought two tickets. Friday the 13th was our lucky day.

On that cold January evening we made the half-hour drive to the college campus, then carefully taking small steps on the afternoon’s dusting of snow, we walked carefully across the parking lot into the auditorium.

We were part of a capacity crowd of more than 1,100 people who took their seats that evening to see and hear the man whose songs he sang with Paul Simon we first heard 50 years ago.

“I bruise you. You bruise me. We all bruise too easily.”

Art Garfunkel is a 75-year-old man who makes no attempt to hide his age.

His trademark Afro-styled hair from 50 years ago is now a halo around the back of his head, partially encircling his dome of a bald head.

He wears glasses to read his poetry to us, written on several sheets of paper.

A loose-fitting shirt covers a paunch at his belt line while his steps across the stage are not as energetic as they were in his younger days.

Rather than stand on a stage and simply sing one hit song after another, Garfunkel mixed his music with his poetry, another side of his love of creating and performing.

He told us of places he has been and of the things he has done.

It was obvious his heart and his home are on a stage in front of an audience. Like a farmer who knows he belongs on the seat of a tractor or combine, Art Garfunkel belongs on a stage performing to a crowd.

We heard while he sang that age has diminished some of his vocal ability such as hitting those high notes from years ago. A slight wispiness had replaced what was once solid.

I could not see a person in the auditorium under the age of fifty. I am sure all of us were missing not being able to hit life’s high notes as easily as we did years ago.

Like Art Garfunkel, life may have diminished us physically, but our hearts and souls are as strong as ever.

“The sound of silence …”

I was caught up in my observation that in a large room of more than 1,100 people the only sound during the entire performance was when the silence was punctuated by an occasional cough (hey, it’s January in Iowa).

Art Garfunkel must have noticed it as well when he paused during one of his readings of his poetry, looked up from his sheet of paper and said to the audience, “Your attention is sublime.”

The show lasted around two hours with an intermission. After Garfunkel, his guitarist and keyboard accompanists left the stage on their final song, the crowd stood up and applauded and applauded and applauded.

The trio returned on stage for their encore, a song Art Garfunkel had written using the childhood prayer Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep for much of its words.

Then the house lights came on, this time for good. We grabbed our coats, slowly made our way out of the auditorium, and shuffled across the parking lot to our vehicles.

Then we were “Ho-ome-ward bound.”

“Home where my thought’s escaping, home where my music’s playing, home where my love lies waiting, silently for me.”

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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