My Way

jazz saxAnd now, the end is near;
And so I face the final curtain.
My friend, I’ll say it clear,
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain…

To say I’m not a fan of Frank Sinatra is an understatement.  And so it irks me to think that people might credit him with having written this song.  (In fact it was written by Paul Anka!)  In any event, I doubt it was ever sung with more authority than last night when I heard it sung—in person—by the jazz/blues frontman, George Rankin:

I’ve lived a life that’s full,
I’ve traveled each and ev’ry highway.
But more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

George and Ruby

Ruby Hinton and George Rankin

To say that old George ‘owned’ the song is a cliché that isn’t much bettered by saying that he did it “his way”.  But that’s my theme, so I’m sticking with it.  It might have helped that Rankin had the perfect audience—patrons of Pedro y Lola’s in Mazatlan’s centro historico

Pedro y Lola

If I’m typical of old Mazatlan’s gringo population, then you can believe me when I say we’ve happened upon this backwater paradise by virtue of having eluded the kind of enviable financial security that often comes with doing things “other people’s way”.  Yes, okay, in a way we are blessed failures.  Isn’t that… amusing.

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried.
I’ve had my fill; my share of losing.
And now, as tears subside,
I find it all so amusing…

Look, all I really want to say is this—which I remember feeling so strongly last night—that we so enjoyed this special session (with not only George Rankin but also Ruby Hinton reinventing some old favourites with all her heart and Jock (“man of steel”) Budelman on sax and Rob Lamonica on keyboard) because I feel safe in saying that one of the things many of us residents of old Maz share is a common answer to the question, “Your money or your life?”

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels;
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows—
and did it my way!

Is there meaning in my way?  The skeptics will nay say.  Let them.  They don’t even do so at their own peril.  Reason being: when a person is living their way, the organism falls so in tune…is so tuneful…that even the skeptic will attribute it to being “true to himself”.  Though he won’t want to talk about it.

 And then George put his heart into “Old Man River”…   

He don’t say nothin’
But he must know somethin’
Cause he just keeps rollin’


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  1. Sarah says

    Wonderful post, PJ. I could imagine myself at Pedro y Lola, listening to these songs. Paul Anka? I had no idea.

  2. says

    You captured quite succinctly the feeling that is “My Way” when my dad sings it, and I never tire of hearing him. Old Frank isn’t that bad, but yea dad does it better and with a more genuine feel. I’m glad that you had the opportunity to experience what his kids and grandkids never tire of; “Papa’s” soothing yet dynamic voice.


  3. says

    Soothing yes…but wow… he woke us all up with his first bark as he stepped on the stage. He knows how to command an audience. I sure hope George comes back next year. Til then…

  4. Joelle Rankins Goodwin says

    Dad made his final curtain call on 19 August 2013 at the age of 86. He will be missed.

  5. Myrna says

    So sad to hear of the passing of George Rankins. His soulful beautiful personality and voice will leave a void in many lives. My husband does not like trekking around much, but he never refused to go where George and Rubye Hinton sang in Mazatlan. We send our sincere condolences to his family.

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