My grandfather was a huge fan of newspaper columnist Lewis Grizzard and tucked into his book collection was a particular title that always caught my attention: “Elvis is Dead and I Don’t Feel So Good Myself.”
I was a kid. I didn’t get the title at the time.
Now, as a 53-year-old, it rings oh so true.
Jimmy Buffett is dead and I feel like a part of my young adulthood is gone. There are no more Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The pirate won’t see 80. The people our parents warned us about are now at or past retirement age.
And to think, his death occurred just ahead of the Labor Day Weekend Show. Hushpuppies or not.
We mourn celebrities when they die as if we knew them and they were part of our family. They aren’t, of course, but Jimmy Buffett in particular seemed to feel like that fun uncle who showed up and whisked us off to a different, more exciting place. Maybe it was Pascagoula. Who knows?
The truth is we did little more than dress up in fun colorful shirts and wear beads and feathers while we sat in a concert hall or amphitheater and listened to Jimmy transport us to a different place full of soothing waves, sandy shores and boat drinks.
None of us actually were regularly soaking up the sun on a tropical island or were being shot at while flying over Jamaica after being mistaken for a drug smuggler. We were parents, workers, 9-to-5ers and beyond with a lot more on our minds than what Jimmy Buffett was singing about on stage.
But for those times, whether in person, at home or singing along in our car, we were part of that world. His world. It was escapism and it was wonderful.
To quote Jimmy:
“I want to be there
Want to go back down and lie beside the sea there
With a tin cup for a chalice, fill it up with good red wine
And I’m a chewin’ on a honeysuckle vine.”
And now, Jimmy Buffett is dead and I don’t feel so good myself. But I am grateful for the experience.