My dad’s birthday inspired a memory that inspired today’s iTunes purchase: Simon & Garfunkel’s Scarborough Fair/Canticle. When I was a kid in Idaho, I spent hours in front of the stereo, playing the few records my parents had at the time. One record was The 5th Dimension, another John Denver, and another Simon & Garfunkel. I used to nap on the carpet, wondering what the hell the duo meant when they sang “I’d rather be a hammer than a nail …”
Of course, to a 10-year-old, Scarborough Fair was cryptic, too. “Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme”—in our home, with my mom unable to smell, we didn’t have these herbs. Still, Simon & Garfunkle sing well, and I always felt at peace on the living room floor.
In high school, I was the editor of the literary magazine, New Pennies. I decided to give two pages to my friend Rob Deemer and his arrangement of Scarborough Fair, a tune the high school symphonic band performed that Spring. I believe Rob went onto earn a doctorate in classical composition (music, of course). New Pennies earned a Pacemaker Award, the top award for student publications.