We’ve had news of the death of several public figures this year: Gene Wilder, Alan Rickman, Harper Lee, and Elie Weisel to name a few. You may have missed the news of the death of a folk singer back in August. Glenn Yarbrough, whose 77th birthday is coming up January 12, began singing in college after some encouragement from his roommate, Jac Holzman, and Woody Guthrie, who was a visitor and eighteen years Glenn’s senior.
Glenn sang the lead song in the Rankin and Bass production of The Hobbit. I’d like to say–I think I’d like to say this–that I internalized “The Greatest Adventure” and made it my life song. I don’t think a fair perspective on my life would say I had broken the mould of my life and created someone new. I’m not like Bilbo was before his adventures, but I’m not like he was afterward either. It’s very likely that I have not “stopped thinking and wasting the day.”
The bridge of Glenn’s song has always held me. I’ve even nicknamed myself Raindream because of these words.
A man who’s a dreamer
And never takes leave
Who thinks of a world that is just make-believe
Will never know passion,
Will never know pain,
Who sits by the window will one day see rain.
I have needed this kick in the pants repeatedly, but like the believer who loves to feel conviction while neglecting to repent, I can’t say I’ve acted on it. At least, not often.
I know I’ve heard more of Glenn’s music, but I don’t remember the context. Perhaps my parents had one of his records. Maybe I heard it through Pandora at some point. I hope he died knowing the Lord.