Columns LaFayette Sun


My daughters are keeping me up to speed on the outside world since I’ve decided to boycott the news here at the Arbor Springs Old Folks Hotel. I can hear Fox News blaring from multiple rooms, and I’m suspicious that one reason we are not doing all that well is because the President running the country is as old as us. Whatever the case, Traci brought in the news a few days ago that Jimmy Buffett passed away. As old and sober as I am, I have fond memories of singing “Margaritaville” with a makeshift band I put together for my 84th birthday.

I had Traci read some of the lyrics: “Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville/ Searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt/ Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame/ But I know it’s my own darn fault.” She read me something he said about that song, and I want credit for at least attempting this in my 94 years of life. He said: : “It’s pure escapism is all it is. It’s really a part of the human condition that you’ve got to have some fun. You’ve got to get away from whatever you do to make a living or other parts of life that stress you out. I try to make it at least 50/50 fun to work and so far it’s worked out.”

I find it funny that Jimmy’s telling us all to take a break from trying to make a buck, but that very song inspired restaurants and resorts, turning Buffett’s alleged desire for the simplicity of island life into a multimillion brand. At the time of his death, he was worth more a billion dollars.

My daughters have a Spotify playlist that they play for me through Amazon Alexa, the secret lady robot that spies on me at night. I asked Traci to add Margaritaville to the playlist, and even now I can belt out “lost shaker of salt” at the right time. Music is like magic. Nothing stays in my brain better than an old melody or song from my growing up years. I know I’ve written about Hank Williams Sr. before, but the music book I put together for that Hootenanny band on my birthday included songs from the Eagles, Elvis, the hippie who wrote Blowin In the Wind, Waylon Jennings, Jimmy Buffett, and Moe Bandy. Of course the songs I remember the best are all the hymns I sang in the 85 years of attending church. Traci asked me what was my favorite, but there are too many to choose from. I do enjoy singing the call back parts on songs like “In the Sweet (in the sweet), By and by (by and by)”.

Lately, I’ve been looking at a lot of videos of me playing guitar and am amazed I knew how to change chords without sheet music. I’m simply pointing out to enjoy the talent you have while you have it, because not only will you not be able to do it someday, but you won’t even remember that you could!

Jimmy used his talent to make the world just a little more fun. I think he stepped away from his faith that he had as a kid, but I hope he found his way back. Meanwhile, I think I’ll turn up the volume here at the old folks home and drown out the news channels in the background. I’ll be tapping my foot and singing bad harmony the next time Margaritaville comes on.

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