She sat looking at the words written so long ago – the paper yellowed by time – the ink faded on the page – the chords for the guitar barely visible. She remembered when her dad had written this song and how proud he was to share it with her.

He was the ultimate “parrot head”. He had every Jimmy Buffett album – could tell you the album, side of the record, and track on the side of the album of any song you mentioned – proudly sang along when he played them because he knew every word. And to unwind, he often played the songs on his guitar – doing his best to capture the joy of the drinking songs and the emotion of each ballad. To this day, she envisions him sitting on the bed in shorts and a tee shirt playing his guitar when she hears a Jimmy Buffett song on the radio.

The day he finished his song, he could not wait to play it for Mom and her. He carefully checked to ensure his guitar was in perfect tune – took a sip of his drink to wet his whistle – adjusted the page so he could clearly see the words he had worked on for so long – then he started to play. His fingers gentle picked the stings and the beauty of his ballad washed over me. It was exactly what he had been striving to accomplish for so long. He was singing his tribute to Jimmy Buffett though a song that sounded like Jimmy had written it himself.

She sighed. The music had stopped long ago. Dad was now in a facility that cares for Alzheimer’s patients – just another way he was like his mother. But today when she visited with him, a Buffett song played on the radio and for a second, it seemed that his expression reflected the man she had admired growing up. She missed that man. It was so hard to see his face but to know her Dad was gone.

She looked at the words. The tune for the verses escaped her but the chorus – they had sung it together so many times – surely she could remember it. She played the chords on the piano as she allowed the words to tumble through her head. Finally, without thinking, she started singing.

And I sing these songs to Jimmy with love.
I sing these songs for us to pass some time.
I sing these songs to join our wondering hearts.
To Jimmy, with love.”

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Len Bernat
LEN is a leader groomed by 20 years of molding and shaping by some of the finest leaders in the United States Marine Corps. Their guidance helped Len realize his full potential as he moved from an enlisted Marine to becoming an Officer of Marines. Len became known for being the leader who could turn any lackluster organization into a strong, functional unit. Upon his retirement, Len worked in several positions before finally starting a second career in governmental procurement. His experience and leadership skills enabled him to be recognized as the 2011 Governmental Procurement Officer of the Year for the Governmental Procurement Association of Georgia and opened doors for him to teach at many of the association’s conferences. Len was also called to the ministry and was ordained at Ashford Memorial Methodist Church in November of 1999. Today, Len is the Pastor of Maxeys Christian Church in Maxeys, Georgia. Len has been married to his wife, Hazel, for 36 years and they have three daughters, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Grab your copy of Len's new Book – Leadership Matters | Advice From A Career USMC Officer. Using his life experiences as examples, Len takes the eleven principles of leadership and the fourteen traits every leader should possess—which he learned during twenty years in the Marine Corps—and teaches the reader how he was molded and shaped by some of the best leaders the Corps had to offer.
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Great story, great writer and great friend. From Larry

Johnny Johnston

Dang Len that is exceptional! A troubadour yourself you have mastered the art of storytelling. I love it! J

Larry Tyler

Len do you have my phone number? I would like to Chat a moment.

Johnny Johnston

Outstanding! Had me almost in tears. So moving and such a tribute. I pray my children remember me as her eyes remembered her daddy. Excitement in his voice, joy in his heart and a song on his lips about something he loved. Dang Len, there’s the tear!