I Owe It All To Jimmy!

With apologies to Jimmy and the Parrots for paraphrasing their song title.

I know there are a lot of people celebrating some pretty famous guy's birthday today but perhaps not the guy whom I would wish a most happy birthday to and give many thanks. In fact, just what people are doing to that other guy, now that I think about it.

Yeah, it's that Jimmy Buffett dude. Today is his 66th birthday.

Unlike the most devout of Parrot Heads, I have no idea how many Buffett shows I've been to. I'm not even sure which was my first one but I think it was after a Triple-A baseball game here in Phoenix. Jimmy played out on the field and we hung out in the stands and had a great time.

Gosh, I can't even tell you the first Buffett song I heard or when that was either. It seems like there was just always Buffett in my life. And, now my life is based a lot around Jimmy.

I officially joined the Arizona Parrot Head Club in 1998. The first meeting we went to was at a bar on the west side of town and there was this tall, skinny guy who invited us over to his house after the meeting for ribs. We declined out of social insecurity and fear because the guy was a little much. He's still a little much but with the nickname of the Goat, what do you expect? Looking back, we should have gone because the food would have been excellent and Goat and his wife Tammy are the bestest hosts around.

There was also a guy there who, when we all introduced ourselves, said his name was Wastnawa and he had just gotten off of parole. Or, was on parole, something like that. He had beads woven into his beard and I don't think anyone knew what to make of him.  He, too, turned out to be a dear friend with whom I've shared many adventures.

They asked for volunteers to work on some club committees and I said I would help with the newsletter. Carol, the secretary, turned that into "you're doing the newsletter, good luck". That's how I met her and her hubby, Moose. Again, great friends.

I think I met almost all of the local parrot heads because that's how I roll and I was soon voyaging to other events out of town. Each place I went, I met more wonderful people that I treasure. Whether it was Migration, the San Diego PHC Anniversary, Last Man Standing in Las Vegas, PHINS to the West or even Boats and Bars this year, the fun was endless and the people welcoming.

The jackpot of all places was the annual Meeting of the Minds which is in Key West, FL. I could spend all day counting the friends I've made from that event alone. The most fateful day was in a Regional Communicators meeting now many years ago when Dawnie and I realized we were the youngest people in the room and probably the ones most likely to be scolded so we hung together for solidarity. I spent a good deal of time with her Des Moines friends that trip and she has become one of my best friends. Ever. And, through her I've met Jim and the three of us have torn through Key West ever since. (Except for this year when she ditched us and we're all still sad about that.)

There are so many other really wonderful and important people that I haven't listed because I don't have all day and I'm afraid I'll leave someone out but I wouldn't know any of them if it weren't for Jimmy Buffett. Say what you like about his music and singing voice but the man knows how to create a following and I am really grateful for that particular skill of his.

So, happy birthday, Jimmy and thanks for all the fish! Oh, I mean thanks for all the friends! (I have to have a gratuitous nerd joke in there somewhere...)


John Marek said…
Kathy, I think there are a whole lot of us whom Jimmy has affected in different ways. Back in 1986 I hadn't thought a whole lot about Jimmy Buffett but was getting ready for a drive with friends down to Nogales where we would catch the train for a Memorial Day weekend trip to Mazatlan. I went to the record store to find a cassette with appropriate music and after searching forever found one called "Songs You Know By Heart". I didn't know all of them but I knew Margaritaville and Changes so picked it up. It wasn't long before I knew them all and went searching for more. Over the decades I met Parrot Heads and other people who changed their lives seeking Margaritaville and eventually made a transoceanic move myself. I've enjoyed Jimmy Buffett and other trop rockers for many many years and they've definitely had an influence on my life.

So thanks for the blog. It's brought pleasant memories and introspection. And Happy Birthday to JB as well!

Cheesehead said…
Nice story, John, thanks for sharing!

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