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My Brush with Greatness

On a cold January morning in 1980 at Watertown (NY) International Airport, I was working
at the Flight Service Station.  The commuter airline ticket agent came upstairs to get his morning
coffee and asked me if the name Harry Chapin sounded familiar.

I said he was a pretty famous singer/songwriter.  The agent said he was booked on
the first flight out, and was curled up downstairs trying to stay warm.

I went downstairs.  Harry roused as I approached him. 
I asked him if he'd like a cup of coffee.  Harry said that sounded good.

He'd played a show in Kingston, Ontario, Canada earlier that night, and friends had brought him
over to Watertown at Oh Dark Thirty so he could catch the flight to Syracuse and on to NYC.

Harry was familiar with Watertown, having played a couple of shows there over the past few years. 
He often introduced the song "Better Place To Be" by relating how he wrote it "after spending a week
in Watertown one afternoon."  The line always got a laugh.   Harry had a lot of friends in Watertown,
and always played to a packed house.

We talked for a few minutes until the commuter pilot called in to check on weather and runway conditions. 
I told Harry that was his flight, we shook hands and he headed downstairs.

I watched Harry and a couple of other passengers board the plane.

A year and a half later, on a beautiful July day, Harry would die in a collision on the Long Island Expressway.  
For me, it's another one of those "I remember where I was and what I was doing when...." days.  

Harry was one of the good guys.
 Palmetto Yankee


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