Can I rightly claim the title "Parrothead"? I suspect not, but I also suspect Jimmy Buffett would never have asked me or anyone to produce a membership card or state their case with evidence. I have been a casual Buffett fan since high school. Growing up in Greater Cincinnati, it was hard not to be. Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefer Band visited Cincy's River Bend outdoor concert venue for multiple-night stands year after year. I attended two of those River Bend concerts in the 90s and saw Buffett with my husband and some friends at Wrigley Field in 2005. I've visited Key West on three occasions (not that I ran into Jimmy Buffett there, but I associate him with the place and its spirit). I have a magnet purchased at a Cheeseburger in Paradise burger spot, but for the life of me, I can't recall when and where I sampled that famous burger. I remember that I liked it, as is true for most of my cheeseburger encounters.
I'm not a deep tracks Buffett fan, but every track on the album Songs You Know By Heart is ... a song I know by heart. I'd probably be fine if I never heard "Margaritaville" again and I reached my max on "Cheeseburger in Paradise" a few summers ago when I introduced it to my kids and we ended up blasting it in the Odyssey almost daily.
I never thought about how I'd feel when Jimmy Buffett passed away, but turns out, I felt pretty sad and then, after days of listening to my favorite of the songs I know by heart, pretty grateful. My forty-eight year old self couldn't help but marvel at the cleverness and wisdom of the lyrics. My friend Kristin (who introduced me to Buffett because she had cool older siblings) and I have been texting about Buffett songs and it's been fun to connect about this music we both love, appreciate, and understand. It's been over a month since his passing, and no one asked for my deep thoughts on Jimmy Buffett's life and work. I don't know that I have many deep thoughts, except to reflect that if you've created music that has brought people joy and hope and fun and community and escape from everyday drudgery, you've made the world a better place. I wanted to record the Buffett lyrics that mean the most to me in the hopes that I'll remember to press play on Buffett when I need him. Here they are ...
From "Changes in Latitude"