Things I’m Thankful For

LET IT BE    

Monday night, with about 31,000 of my best friends, I saw Paul McCartney give the best concert I have ever seen in my life. I don’t say that casually, because I have seen a lot of concerts. A lot. I’ve seen Neil Young, many times, the Moody Blues even more. I’ve seen James Taylor and Bob Dylan, and the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac, and Mumford and Sons, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and Led Zeppelin. I’ve seen great concerts. But none like Monday night.

Monday night I saw a Beatle. My life is complete. I can die now. I have seen Paul McCartney. I have heard Paul McCartney. He did the best concert ever. Even the staid Winnipeg Free Press gave it 5 stars out of 5. You can read their review here.

I had given up any hope of seeing the Beatles after their 1970 breakup. I thought, though, that I would one day see John Lennon perform, and McCartney, and maybe even George Harrison. My hopes were dashed when Lennon was gunned down in New York. I remember the night well. December 8, 1980. A Monday night. I learned of his death from, of all people, Howard Cosell, as did a few million other Americans who were watching Monday night football. Just as the game between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots was ending, Cosell announced Lennon’s death, without even cutting away from the game. As the camera rolled while New York was preparing to kick a field goal (you can actually watch and hear it here). Cosell told us that Lennon had been shot. His announcement ended with the words “Dead. On. Arrival.” As only Cosell could deliver them. To this day, I still do not know who won that football game. I was lying on my bed in a hotel room somewhere, and cried myself to sleep.

And the occasion never came to see the others, until this summer. The concert was announced. Tickets went on sale. We bought them. We traveled to Winnipeg with our regular concert-going friends Jeff and Linda Weispfenning. And there he was. Sir Paul. He played all the songs we knew. He played for three hours, with one of the best bands I have ever heard. He played 39 songs. Jeff counted. He did three encores, each 3 or 4 songs. It seemed he would never quit. He’s 71 years old, and he wanted to play all night long. At the end, I was more exhausted than he was, I am sure.

I have had great experiences in my life, but nothing like that. Maybe it was 50 years of anticipation, thinking about the Beatles off and on ever since I first saw them on that Sunday night long ago, Ed Sullivan announcing “Ladies and Gentlemen, from Liverpool, England, here are The Beatles!” All I know is, about an hour in, when he got to Let It Be, I turned to Lillian and said “This is the best moment of my life. I’m watching Paul McCartney sing Let It Be.”

Today, on my computer, on some website, I learned that this is the 78th anniversary of Social Security. On August 14, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the bill that created the best program the United States Government ever gave us (hang on, there’s a segue here). Today, as I was frantically playing catch-up in the garden after being gone for three days, McCartney songs were still running through my head. When I took a break to sit down at my computer and was reading about Social Security, the lyrics to Let It Be were my current earworm, and as I’m reading, I’m hearing in my head

And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted
There is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be.

            And then

And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me

Shine on until tomorrow, let it be

And I thought, how appropriate those lyrics are, today, on the birthday of Social Security. One website said when Social Security was passed, 50 per cent of elderly Americans lived in poverty. Today it is 10 per cent. There will be an answer.

To all those politicians of today, trying to dismantle Social Security to make some political point, listen to Paul McCartney as he sings the words that he and John Lennon wrote, and Let It Be.

Okay, maybe that was kind of a corny connection. I wish I was a better writer so I could better explain to you how I felt at that moment, when I was reading about the beginning of the greatest social program ever, and listing to McCartney and Lennon’s song of hope in my head. I guess you just had to be there.

THANK YOU, BOB

I’m thankful for one other thing today. SNAPS®. You may have read my earlier blogs about them. And how I’ve been mostly going without them since the big recall last fall. Today my longtime friend Bob Martinson proved what a good friend he is. Ring, ring, went my phone. “Jimmy, I was in Minneapolis and I was going by a candy store and they were selling SNAPS®. I bought you two pounds of them.”

No kidding, TWO POUNDS! If you’ve never seen two pounds of SNAPS® before, well, I was going to put a picture here, but I’m thinking I’m going to leave it to your imagination. Well, actually, you only have to imagine about a pound and a half now. Thank you, Bob.

FOUND THAT LOST SHAKER

Arriving at my doorstep a week or so ago was a small package from an address I did not recognize. I love surprises, so I ripped it open. There was a carefully wrapped salt shaker. You may remember I wrote about salt shakers a while back as well. (Okay, I write about weird stuff here. But I don’t get paid very much, so I get to write about anything I want.) It was a very thoughtful gift from the daughter of a cousin of mine (I think technically she would be my first cousin, once removed), a young woman by the name of Diane Lochner. It was a clear glass shaker with a shiny metal top. Painted on two sides of the glass are margarita glasses. On one other side it says “Searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt.” On the fourth side it says “Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, Key West.” I will treasure it forever. Thank you Diane, Oh, by the way, did I mention I’ve been out looking for a nice ’57 Chevy? Can’t seem to find one anywhere.

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2 Responses to Things I’m Thankful For

  1. Greg Ness says:

    A wonderful, well-wrtten post Jim. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now if we could just get Sir Paul to play Red Rocks!

  2. Michael Kane says:

    To a most thought filled friend, a tip of the hat, and a nod with a wink. Thanks for your caring to share bright bits of a life well worn.

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