In the summer of 1981, pop performer Harry Chapin (1942-1981) took time off from his family"vacation" on Oahu's North Shore to perform three benefit shows at Anna Bananas, a small local night club.
I was fortunate to be there for one of his shows, an intimate, unforgettable gathering where Harry played his heart out. (And gave me a nice kiss when I spoke with him after the show.) A week later his big heart literally gave out while driving in Long Island on his way to another benefit show.
Known for marathon concerts and "story songs" like Taxi (1972) and Cat's In The Cradle (1974), the charismatic songwriter was born on this day in New York City. He described his family as "a large, exciting, sprawling, multifaceted brood...(with) all the love and stimulation I could absorb."
Harry was a celebration of humanity and lived to make a difference. "I'd rather make a mistake than do nothing," he once said.
With superhuman stamina, he fought to end world hunger and invested much of his time and energy into raising awareness. Half his concerts were benefits and he tried pasionately to get others to join his crusade.
"Be involved with the people with the live hearts, the live eyes, who are committed to something," he encouraged.
In 1986, Harry was posthumously awarded a Congressional Gold Medal for his vigilant humanitarian advocacy. "There's enough food to feed everyone on this planet twice over," he once implored, "why, why, why are people going hungry?"
Years down the road, The Harry Chapin Foundation continues his vision...
The journey IS worthwhile.