A Good Day (with Jimmy)…

No, in fact, a great day, we had a great day yesterday.  And we didn’t do anything. I mean we ate our meals and brushed our teeth and had our bath, but mostly we played.  We played in the pool and on the deck.  We played with the floats and the water wings and the bouncy balls.  We played in the kitchen with the doll and the tupperware and the sippy cup. We played in the raspberry bushes, on the grass and with the dandelions.  And it was amazing to recognize the epic gift of a day like that as it unfolds.

As a full-time mom of a toddler, weekends and vacations tend to blend in with everyday life like the color that runs from a dark shirt accidentally thrown into the white laundry.  Even the word ‘vacation’ stares back at me now disingenuously as I type.  Because even on vacation, the child must be fed, diapers must be changed and travel and new surroundings disrupt hard-won sleep patterns.  Nevermind the new hazards not found at home, like the sparkling blue pool, the thorny thistle underfoot in the yard and Grandma Bonnie’s good china not quite out of reach.  But yesterday, with absolutely no activities planned, we managed to wrap up the necessities with an experienced efficiency, so that hours of freedom lay before us like a buffet of popcorn and cotton candy before a hungry child.

It was a Jimmy Buffett day.  No, we didn’t blast “Margaritaville” and drink Pina Coladas, but philosophically it was a prime day for the King of Kicking Back.  You see, Jimmy has made his way into my music psyche in an oddly profound way.

The truth is that there was a time that I despised Jimmy Buffett and found his music to be frivolous.  Indeed, “Cheeseburger in Paradise” used to make my blood boil.  I was young, at university and convinced that music must be powerful, meaningful and have a message.  I was smitten with the raw and unique albums of Ani Difranco and Tori Amos.

And then my brother gave me a live album of Jimmy Buffett when we were living out on Martha’s Vineyard and I actually – gulp – enjoyed it.  The songs told stories, some sweet & sentimental, some nonsensical, and some just plain fun. Many spoke with an insight that surprised me.

I’ve since been to the infamous “Parrothead” concert only twice – an  experience in pure summertime glee – and think back to those joyful, crowded parties with a smile on my face. It turns out there is a message and that message is to be sure and enjoy life when the opportunity presents itself.

This was a musical “boot to the head” for me and taught me another important lesson… that one can appreciate music in all its forms, it just depends onto which record you choose to drop the needle at that particular moment.  I still love Ani Difranco and the fight in her music, but some days are just meant for rolling around in the grass with your golden-haired daughter mashing raspberries and laughing in the sun.


extras: a couple more links to some Jimmy tunes I really love; “One Particular Harbor” always gets this winter girl dreaming of the tropics, and a good friend touched on how my career echoed so much in Jimmy’s words with “Son of a Son of Sailor” (well, not the part about the jailor, of course).

6 thoughts on “A Good Day (with Jimmy)…

  1. Sam, Just read all three blogs. What I may have felt while reading your blogs:
    A. Immense enjoyment
    B. Sweet sentimentality
    C. Pure pleasure
    D. Peaked interest
    E. All of the above
    Absolutely E!
    Really wonderful; especially the most recent installment. Hope you can keep it up.

  2. Hah! Glad Jimmy helped you discover your inner hedonist. I went through a serious Jimmy phase when I was 20 or so, rattling around in boatyards and sleeping on floors with other schooner bums. I was a little surprised, too. Since it was years before I didn’t feel too thrifty to actually buy my own music, my Jimmy phase became frozen in time, predating all the CD’s i currently own (which unfortunately have gone through another 12 year “thrifty” phase). So now, if I hear Jimmy, it takes me straight back to those care-free, rust-busting, jig-sawing, rum-and-coke drinking early boat days. Not a bad memory…

  3. I discovered your blog via a mutual friend on Facebook (who is, I think, going by Dutiful’s Pen here). I was thinking a less-eloquent version of your main theme yesterday afternoon as I drove with my girl down a country road and we were both singing along to Taylor Swift’s “Mean.” At 10, my daughter is bringing home lots of pop music for us to listen to. I’m more than happy that her Just!n B. phase lasted only a few months, I”ll admit, and I’d probably rather drive about listening to Erin McKeown, but singing along to some of my girl’s pop faves is not a bad way to spend some time.

  4. Hey Sam, wonderful! you are such a good writer. I hope you will assemble these chapters for your book. Your recall of past devotions is important. I remember you saying to me; “I hope I don’t get so old that I won’t love The Grateful Dead.” It seems that all of that past is still with you and you want to pass it along. Love, Dad

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