He said he made his living playing the banjo and he'd even written a song or two.
That was the end of the story of my first encounter with Pete on a Shorewalkers Great Saunter many years ago.
I first saw Pete Seeger, the Power of Song, at the Tribeca Film Festival premiere. I was standing in line with a bunch of documentary film makers who knew each other. It seemed like for forever. Pete Seeger and his family walked by us and then Pete's son came back to talk with one of my "new" friends. The festival didn't want to seat anyone until they seated Pete and his family. It turns out, they were all standing in line about 100 feet behind us.
I went to Pete's 90th at Madison Square Garden and to a more intimate benefit for the Clearwater at Symphony Space to honor George Wein. That was during Occupy Wall Street. At the end we all (including Pete) marched singing down Broadway to meet Occupy Wall Street folks at Columbus Circle. I confess I didn't go the distance because I had work the next morning but the energy carried me beyond 86th Street.
In recent years, I saw Pete talking about his latest autobiography and leading the crowd in song in Bryant Park on a very very hot summer day.
And, last year, Pete hosted a benefit for a future folk exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York. It wasn't "the strangest dream". I was there.
RIP Pete Seeger. To Every Thing There is a Season. Long before I knew you, you performed at a End the War Now event in Madison Square Garden organized by my now almost 99 year old friend Marie Runyon. She marched with you a lot of those years. If anyone knows more about that concert, I would really like to hear about it.