The featured photo is a screenshot of a photo I took in Key West, Florida, over Labor Day weekend in 2010.
I was pretty surprised the other day to read about Jimmy Buffett’s passing. I didn’t know that Jimmy had been ill. I get the sense a lot of regular people didn’t know he’d been ailing, although the singer-songwriter Stephen Bishop had posted on Facebook that he had a friend who was dying and he was going to pay him a last visit. Someone asked Stephen, who is very engaging on Facebook, if it had been Jimmy he’d gone to see. He confirmed that he did visit him on Friday and sang him a song, but he also had another friend (it turned out to be Gary Wright, of Dream Weaver fame, who died yesterday morning at age 80) who was dying that he planned to go see. Sir Paul McCartney also reportedly visited Mr. Buffett and sang for him one last time.
We sure have lost a lot of music legends this year. It’s reminding me a bit of 2016, when a whole host of amazing performers passed away in a short period of time. As a music fan, it’s sad for me, but I imagine it’s worse for those who know these luminaries in person, especially if they’re around the same age.
But yes… lots of great singers from my growing up years are moving on to the next big thing, whatever it is. I’ve been reading so many tributes to Jimmy Buffett, some from fellow celebrities who knew and loved him personally, and some friend my friends who loved him from afar. I have quite a few friends who were devoted Parrotheads and were genuinely distraught at the news that Jimmy Buffett’s rare skin cancer (Merkel cell) had turned into lymphoma. In Gloucester, Virginia, where there are many boats and people are decidedly southern, Buffett’s music was a natural soundtrack.
I always enjoyed Jimmy’s music, although I never managed to make it to any of his shows. I did have the chance to go a few times, but I think I was overwhelmed by the idea of so many people partying when I’m focused on the music. I’m not one for big crowds. However, so many of my friends went to his concerts and had a marvelous time. My college suitemate was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi, which is also where Jimmy was born. She happened to be there this week, as her beloved aunt who still lived there passed away. Apparently, my friend’s family lived in Jimmy’s old neighborhood and knew his family. She was really gutted to hear that Jimmy Buffett had joined her aunt on the other side.
As for me, whenever I hear Jimmy Buffett’s music, I’m reminded of being a student at Longwood University, a small school in a rural area, where, at least in the 90s, there wasn’t much to do but party. We played a lot of drinking games with Jimmy Buffett’s music in the background. It always reminds me of being in the South, which is, like it or not, my home… even if it is overrun with MAGA cretins. There was a time in my life, though, that I loved the South very much. I equated it with good times, southern drawls, laid back fashion, fattening food, fun music, and easy living. I still have those nostalgic memories, and Jimmy Buffett’s music is the perfect soundtrack for it.
Maybe it sounds strange to mention this, but when I heard of Jimmy Buffett’s skin cancer turning into lymphoma I was reminded of our last two dogs, both of whom had mast cell cancer (a type of skin cancer in dogs) that eventually turned into lymphoma. In fact, both dogs were diagnosed at this time of year– and one died just a week later on August 31, 2019, while the other got chemo for five months and died in the spring of 2023. I don’t know if skin cancer becoming lymphoma is a common thing in people, as it is in dogs, but it did cross my mind.
I guess Jimmy’s death from skin cancer one more reason to be very careful when you’re out and about in the sun, especially if you’re fair skinned. Bill had his first dermatology exam this year, because of some suspicious looking stuff on his skin. It turned out he’s okay. I probably should break down and get an exam, too. Maybe encouraging people to use sunscreen and get checked for skin cancer could be one more thing Jimmy does for humanity, besides writing gentle, poignant, funny, and comforting anthems for the world.
Anyway… I did enjoy a Margarita on Saturday, remembering Jimmy’s music, and how it made my youth better. Some of his songs never fail to make me smile, especially the live versions. I know it’s not the same as being there in person, but I can tell by the roar of the crowd on those live albums that Jimmy was one hell of an entertainer. He wrote books and ran restaurants, too. In fact, Bill and I had the chance to visit his Key West Margaritaville outlet, over Labor Day weekend in 2010. Naturally, I enjoyed a Margarita there.
And below is one of my favorite Buffett songs, ever… This one always makes me laugh.
And no tribute would be complete without this infamous song… 😀
I do like the music, but those crowds are insane! He made so many people happy, though! It just seems like the world is a dimmer place without a little Buffett in it. He had such a tremendous gift for spreading the fun to everyone. That is such a rare thing. So I can see why so many of my friends are so sad to lose Jimmy. He was one of a kind.
All weekend, I’ve been thinking about whether or not I wanted to do a musical tribute. I decided today I would try one of Jimmy’s songs… So here it is. I hope a few people like it.
As a child of the 70s and 80s, it’s hard for me to see so many great singers from my youth passing on. It’s a grim reminder that I’m no longer a spring chicken myself… especially as my sister, Sarah (who is 8 years older than I am), and I have both seen members of our high school classes pass away recently. In her case, the person was her first boyfriend when we moved to Gloucester County in Virginia, back in 1980. In my case, it was a guy I knew because we shared a lot of classes. I don’t think he liked me very much back then… and probably never thought of me again once we graduated. But I was sure saddened and surprised to see that he’d been ill and passed away at just 51 years of age. I guess these things are just a reminder not to sweat the small stuff or take things for granted. Because, before you know it, it’s time to move on to the next big thing yourself.
Somehow, it seems fitting that Jimmy Buffett would pass away on September 1. His music has always epitomized summer and good times to me… and especially Labor Day weekend, which is also special to me, because that was when Bill and I realized we were in love, back in 2001. So, wherever Jimmy is, I hope he’s at peace. His music will always bring back golden memories for me… and remind me of home. May God bless his soul.