“Yes, it’s been quite a summer.
Rent-a-cars and westbound trains…”
It’s fitting that news of Jimmy Buffett’s passing came this past weekend. After all, summer didn’t truly come to a close until he played his infamous Labor Day weekend shows, whether at Jones Beach, Great Woods, or in East Troy, Wisconsin.
I discovered the Parrothead lifestyle later than most. In fact, I attended my first Buffett concert at 29, and was instantly hooked. It was at that first concert that I heard one of my (now) favorite Buffett songs, A Pirate Looks at 40. At the time, and on the brink of 30, I found the song entirely unrelatable. Little did I know that I would spend decades following the man and his music.
“Changes in Latitude, changes in attitude, nothing remains quite the same. “
I’ve been fortunate to see Buffett perform in various places, from Las Vegas to Paris, from New York’s Jones Beach to Boston’s Fenway Park. I watched much of the Atlantic City show submerged in the ocean waters; the stage was on the beach and it was 100 degrees easily. The water made it more than bearable…enjoyable. My most memorable concert, however, took place on September 6, 2008, during Hurricane Hanna. The wind and rain were so intense that the lawn at Great Woods (Mansfield, MA, USA) turned into a mud luge. And yes, I had lawn seats.
“Watched the men who rode you switch from sails to steam…”
Buffett’s music carries a certain wistfulness — a sense of understanding that as we grow older the world evolves around us. It’s an acknowledgment that summer doesn’t last forever…and that we must accept and even embrace what’s to come — family, career, life.
“Mother mother ocean, I have heard you call…”
Jimmy Buffett’s legacy goes far beyond his music, and I encourage you to read or listen to the beautiful tributes that have been posted over the past weekend. You can start here and here. He transcended genres, generations, and geographies, touching the hearts of so many. I am saddened by his passing.
And yet, there is a beautiful message to take away: enjoy every moment of life, perhaps with a boat drink in hand, and never, ever turn down a cheeseburger. Life is too short and extraordinary to miss out on the things that bring us happiness.
“But there’s this one particular harbour
So far but yet so near
Where I see the days as they fade away
And finally disappear”
I wish you success and happiness in all your endeavors. Fins up.