Various meanings behind the song “Closing Time”

Published 11:12 pm Saturday, October 22, 2022

By Jan Miller Penton

Light peeked around my curtains this morning giving me a hint it may be time to wake up, but I lingered a little longer. I’ve noticed several of my retired friends lately are joining the workforce again, but my slow, easy morning routine suits me just fine. Actually, I wonder how I found time to work outside the home because I always seem to be busy, and this morning was no exception.

The song “Closing Time” the rock band Semisonic made famous in 1998 sprang into my mind, and I couldn’t keep my face from breaking into a grin. “Closing Time” was and is used in countless bars closing for the night, but my smile was from excitement that my favorite youngest son was closing on his first home today.

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He and I both had a lot of running around to do. There was a lot of last minute paperwork and such, but my prayers were answered, and things proceeded smoothly. I was a little surprised at how joyful I felt when the last of my children signed on the dotted line and become a homeowner. As usual, when cool things happen with the kids I hope their Dad is watching from heaven.

Ryan’s new home has a wood-burning fireplace so I somewhat selfishly gifted him with two loads of firewood. That seemed like a nice house warming gift, but there was something that I hadn’t taken into consideration.

“Ryan, I found a guy selling firewood so I bought you a couple of loads. You know it will be turning cool enough for a fire soon.”

“I appreciate it, Mom, but you know I’m having some work done before I move furniture in.”

Hmmm. I guess I jumped the gun a little in my excitement, but he will have plenty of firewood when the time comes. There is something so cozy and relaxing about a wood-burning fireplace, and I’m glad he will have one to enjoy. When I see that smoke curling from his chimney I may just happen to stop by.

Now “Closing Time” is stuck in my head, and I’ve been humming or singing it all day. I looked up the song to make sure I had my facts straight and found that I had been a little off on the meaning. Dan Wilson wrote the hit in only 20 minutes. At the time Wilson and his wife were expecting their first child. The underlying sentiments were the end of one time in his life and the beginning of fatherhood. He seemed to realize that the selfish life of partying and closing up bars would need to change in order to fulfill his duties as a father.

At first glance we can often be mistaken. Something as simple as song lyrics help prove that point to me. When I look a little deeper I may find that my first conclusions were incorrect. That probably has something to do with that don’t judge thing in the Bible. We rarely have the whole story.