Simon and Garfunkel’s song, “El Condor Pasa” had been a favorite since 1971. Then, and now, the words remind me of Larry and of flying, both literally and spiritually. The lyrics also reflected my gratitude—gratitude that I had been discharged from the Menninger Clinic and no longer lived on a locked ward. After leaving the Clinic, I could decide where Laura and I went, where and when we ate; I could even choose to go to Lake Shawnee for a picnic. Those types of decisions had all been made for me when I was hospitalized. For those reasons, “El Condor Pasa” became my personal hymn for the way it mystically tied together my new freedom, Larry’s love of flying and the music he recorded in Vietnam.
The song is also connected to another memory, my trip to Peru. Peru is breathtaking and its mountains are home to the famous Andean Condor. When I traveled there in 2015, I was determined to climb to the top of Machu Picchu. I had postponed plans to visit two years earlier, when a pre-trip physical required a three-day stay in the hospital and two stents instead. I had worked hard in cardiac rehab and was in great shape so, when a second opportunity to travel to Peru presented itself, I was all in. Listen to Simon and Garfunkel’s “El Condor Pasa” here.