Floridays - My Life as a Parrothead
For the first several years of my life, the only music that existed and mattered was the music of two artists: Frank Sinatra, and Jimmy Buffett, influenced by the love and admiration for those artists by my dad and mom, respectively.
Other than seeing Fred Penner and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in concert, I know my first many concert experiences were seeing Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band. I have no doubt that I attended a concert in utero.
I have a distinct memory of being in the car with my family as a kid and seeing a sign for a Buffet at a restaurant and saying, "Look, Jimmy Buffett is over there!"
It took a long time to realize that not everyone grows up listening to Jimmy Buffett music, and dressing up in tropical attire to attend his concerts every single year - even getting taken out of school for a long weekend to see Jimmy Buffett in Las Vegas.
My mom's the oldest of nine kids, and I have over 20 first cousins on that side alone, and we're all Parrotheads.
On a family trip out west on a houseboat in Lake Powell, we grazed in the sunshine with Jimmy Buffett music blasting and even Jimmy Buffett-themed food days: Come Monday, Hump Day on de Island, etc.
Jimmy Buffett's music reminds me of all of those times, as well as summers spent at our family cottage in Ortonville, Michigan. Live concert CDs like "Feeding Frenzy" and "Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays". It reminds me of family weddings, singing every word to his live cover of "Southern Cross" or the old standard, "Margaritaville".
And when we spend time in Florida, I like to imagine that we are breathing the same gulf air that he is, swimming in the same water that his boat is skimming over. Of all of the music artists I could meet, one of my biggest wishes is to meet Jimmy Buffett someday. To tell him how much his music has been a part of my life, all 26 years of it.
To tell him how much joy he has brought into my life and the lives of my family members.
So as I get ready to head down to Florida, and as summer is preparing to unveil itself for another year, my Jimmy Buffett instincts are kicking into high gear.
I'm back to living Floridays, blue skies and ultra-violet rays...