Driving down the road the other day, I was struck by how wonderfully beautiful a day it was. A nice blue sky, done fluffy, white clouds. It’s at times like this that a guy thinks, wow, what did I do to deserve this? Cruising down the road, wind in my hair… Alright. So I look over to my radio, all good times like this need a soundtrack, and start dialing in the tunes. Now here’s the really good part, I’ve got one of those new Sirius satellite radios. Now– I’m sitting here thinking, “what would be something good to listen to”? Let’s make a short list; end of summer wide open highway, no place special to be, good lookin’ Senorita ridin’ next to me. Easy… Buffet.
You’ve heard of him right? This guy is what summertime, and just general good times, is all about. So what I did dialed Jimmy’s station on my radio. That’s right kids, he’s station, and it’s called “Margaritaville”. Neat, huh? Now, first this all doesn’t sound like a commercial for Sirius. Secondly, please excuse me if inadvertently plagiarize Jimmy Buffet. The thing is, I will have to talk about them both, along with some other stuff.
So here we go, I tune in to this station, 1 think its channel 31, and what they are doing is replaying a Buffet concert. As it happens, they do this once week, from noon till whenever the thing’s over with. So this concert is a replay of the one in Detroit, technically Clarkston, MI, from June 13, 2000. And Į don’t know, I guess as soon as I turned it on, I started reminiscing a little. First of all, they flash the date across the bottom of the screen the whole time: 6-13-00. Remember what that was like, that was before 9-11-01.
Remember what things were like before all that happened? A little different wasn’t it? There are those who say that things were already screwed up, before 9-11, well that may be true. However, it does not help my story, so shove it.
Anyway… I’m driving down the road, and this song “Come Monday” starts playing. The first line in that song says, “Headin’ up, to San Francisco, for the #Labor Day weekend show”. It’s a song that’s all about him being away from his girlfriend because he’s always away doing music. The whole thing is that he’s out here, traveling around with a band, but the whole point is getting back to the girl.
It’s kind of pretty, and sad, all at the same time. The thing about this ļ song, is that I actually heard it on time when I was on my way to San Francisco. So that makes it personal to me. Today, I’m heading up towards Fort Wayne, IN, with cornfields on my side. Meanwhile, in my mind I’m heading up to San Francisco, with Seaside Mountains along my side. And the whole thing that’s going through my mind… Is making my way back home. There’s something to that though, I don’t know if you can ever get back, to where you came from anyway, and that’s what keeps the song great,
I think it must be that way with a lot of songs, and things, here and there. While “One Particular Harbor” was playing, I looked out my window, outside it is definitely starting to look like autumn. Every once in a while you can see a farmer’s combine slowly making its way through a golden field. With each passing night of cooler temperatures, the formerly green leaves of the trees tum to brilliant colors– growing brighter and yet ever so scarce day by day. Makes you want to try and stash it all away someplace, someplace warm and safe, “One Particular Harbor”.
Then Jimmy started playing a song called “Trying to Reason with Hurricane Seas “. This little gem talks about a bar-hopping journey that he and a friend undertook sometime in the 80’s. He talks about waking up from his drunkenness in a hammock on the beach and squinting out to sea watching storm clouds rolling in. there is a line in the chorus that talks about needing a bloody Mary, and that” I can’t run at this pace very long”. But that this lifestyle, however harmful it maybe, “helps me to go on”. I’ve felt that way too. Long, long ago, back in the days of my youth, the party would sometimes last for days. Those were fun, weren’t they? It’s the after-effect that you’ve gotta watch out for.
So I don’t know, you tell me. I realize that in a few paragraphs, I am not going to be able to express to you exactly how it was that I was feeling –relaxed, maybe; energetic, yeah, that too. Music has a funny way of being able to transport someone back to a certain place, it helps if the scenery is nice too. I think that in some ways a person can actually relive a certain moment, if a song reminds them to do so. The really strange part though, and one that you have to watch out for, is that the memory will be nothing at like the remembered event. No, the memory will always be 100 times better!
Jimmy finished this concert with a number of encores, the last of which damn near made me cry. It was kind of a rare little tune called “#California Promises”… This one is all about a young man, and woman, parting ways on the shore. They make all kinds of promises to be true to one another, and that she’ll be back, and so on, and so forth. Long story short, she never comes back, and this poor guy is left all alone… waiting. The whole thing is supposed to be that California promises never get kept, with or without the girl. That there are things that people; all of us I suppose hope for, and sometimes– I guess you hope for too much.
I have a picture on my wall that I took a long time ago. It was taken at sunset, looking out over the Pacific, up the coast a little towards Monterrey. The really great thing about that picture, is that there are a bunch of sailboats tied up, just kind of bobbing around, and that it is at the end of the day, when everything is real calm. I #love that picture… I treasure it. It’s the last thing that I look at just before I go to bed at night. I think that mostly it reminds me of how I would like to be able to look out on the world, with everything always as calm as it appears in that photograph.
Thinking about it now, I can also hear the song to go along with it. I can envision the “changes in latitudes”, and the “changes in attitudes”. All of these were necessary to bring me through my own hurricane seas, and set me down gently across the harbor. I remember the picture, the day it was taken. I remember the way I felt the first time I saw it… The printed picture. How I knew that it would be with me forever, with or without the actual picture, certain things are like that. I realize that, like I said before, you can never really get back, to where you came from anyway. Hey man, I’d just like to get close. I also realize that there are those who might agree with the gist of the song, that promises aren’t kept, and the reasons they were made are forgotten. That time and space are just too much.
Well, that could be…
In my story, and more importantly in my mind the song is still playing. And although the promises may not always be kept, they still feel nice to remember– as does the warm, California breeze.