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Buffett’s songs offer buffet of wisdom

The other night I was driving home and a song came on the radio that made me smile. It was “Come Monday” by Jimmy Buffett.

That song always makes me smile. It’s not just because it is a beautiful song, is by one of my favorite artists or it was one of Buffett’s hits. It’s the sentiment behind the song that brings a smile to my face.

It was June 12, 1994. The day I married my husband. It was a Sunday. We had spent months planning the big day. Naturally, we expected everything to be perfect. Naturally, it wasn’t.

Before the ceremony even started, the beautiful, custom hand-blown glass cake topper we had designed fell off the top of our wedding cake and shattered into pieces on the floor. We managed to salvage one of the two lovebirds and surrounded it with fresh flowers to decorate the cake. It worked, but …

Then, as the ceremony was starting, one of the four friends my husband had asked to participate in the service had to leave to catch his flight home. We found a stand-in, but …

And as the ceremony concluded and we were supposed to walk down the aisle to a piece of Native American flute music, but …

Instead we hear “Come Monday,” with Buffett singing “Come Monday, it’ll be all right. Come Monday, I’ll be holding you tight.”

From that day on the song became our answer to everything that doesn’t go quite the way it was expected to go. We knew that as long as we were together, we could face anything and that come Monday things would have a way of working themselves out.

In fact, much of my life can be defined and has been shaped by Buffett’s music.

Sure, he is most commonly known for his anthemic hit “Margaritaville,” which espouses a relaxed, sit-by-the-beach-and-drink kinda lifestyle. That’s OK for the weekend and vacations.

But mixed in with his hundreds of other songs are nuggets of wisdom that make a lot of sense.

Along the same line is his song “Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On,” written after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. It teaches us that some things are beyond our control and we just have to accept them and get on with our lives.

His somewhat silly and appropriately named “Fruitcakes” says that “human beings are flawed individuals” and that the “cosmic baker took us out of the oven a little too early.” That could easily explain a lot.

In “Off To See the Lizard” he sings that sooner or later “you gotta face your fears.” And his “Permanent Reminder of a Temporary Feeling” makes me pause before making any important decisions to ensure that it’s something I really need or want to do and won’t have lasting repercussions that I will regret.

Another example happened this weekend when we joined my parents at the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Successful Aging Expo. There, among the thousands of senior citizens, we fought our way to the front of the multiple booths to gather whatever they were handing out.

Some of the stuff we collected was valuable information. We even enjoyed a piece or two or three of candy. But we also brought home things that we will never have a use for but had to have because someone was giving it away. Prime example, the red rubber fire hydrant now sitting on my desk.

It brings to mind the song “We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About,” a song about becoming the type of person your parents didn’t want you associating with.

So do the times when I find myself repeating things to my children that older generations have said to me. You can’t help it. And I’ve tried.

For my husband, the song “Son of a Son of a Sailor” has a lot of meaning. Aside from being the son of a son of a Saylor, and being A. Saylor, it says: “As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man, I have chalked up many a mile. Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks, and I’ve learned much from both of their styles.”

He said those lines sum up his lifetime of adventures, both those he has experienced and those he has read about. Together, they make him the person he is today.

There are dozens of other songs, each holding a special meaning to me either because of the lyrics or where I was the first time I heard them or how they affected and altered my life. Whenever faced with a challenge I take solace in knowing that I can find a solution somewhere in his song book because “Come Monday, it’ll be all right.”

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