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Jimmy Buffett, 1946-2023
I have long felt that life is like a series of links in a chain. You might be driving down the road, and you hear a song on the radio, or see a picture, and you feel a memory. Something triggers within you that reminds of a different time and place than where you are right now. You reflect and discover the attached memories, perhaps a totally different time in your life.
Perhaps you lived in a different place. Perhaps you were surrounded by different people. Perhaps a different job or completely different friends. You recognize those memories were constructed like frozen moments in time. They became individual links in the chain in your life. That song on the radio takes you back to that link.
We never actually realize, in the immediate moment, when one link closes and another link begin. But when we look back, we can clearly see distinct points where things changed, the link closed, and a new link began. You see, the links are only visible in reflection.
No singer, songwriter, or musician is as deeply embedded in the links of my life, as Jimmy Buffett. This one hurts.
In the video below, Jimmy Buffett is wearing my shoes.
The historic Sanibel Lighthouse survived Hurricane Ian, albeit with damage last year.
The light keeper’s house was totally destroyed, as were all the buildings around the Southern tip of the Island, but the Lighthouse remained standing. There’s a metaphor and a message in that outcome.
Since 1884, every twelve seconds the Sanibel lighthouse beacon blinked twice, creating a sequence of four navigational alerts per minute.
Ask me how I know that, and I will show you the clock of my childhood.
I learned how to read a sextant on the front porch of the Lightkeepers house.
I traded Mr. Brennan 4 fresh trout from Dixie Beach flats for the lessons, there were two (one day and one night), on using a sextant. From that moment at the age of around ten, I was known as “Trout” when I came back. It wasn’t funny.
Long before there was a ‘city glow’ on the eastern shore, the Sanibel beacon remained my waypoint in life. Twelve seconds, blink twice, four per minute. I spent tens of thousands of minutes with the comforting beacon at my six. I was always safe when I could see it and I never strayed beyond its reach.
My first bull shark took me for an almost 1,000 blink-long tour of the back bay inlet during a particularly memorable night.
I also ‘caught‘ my first Silver King within reach of the beacon at sunrise. Recording the moment by removing (then laminating) the trophy scale which to this day sits in an old cigar box filled with buttons, wire, ribbons, weird metal bits and mysterious childhood treasures.
That particular morning was exceptionally memorable because I proclaimed myself a ‘king fisher.’ Unfortunately, it was a short-lived moment of ego quickly deflated by an unusually furious mom – because I was going to be late for middle school. “King Fisher” shouts I, dashing out the door, while hearing “fisher fool” chasing my ear from behind.
Yup, Jimmy Buffett is attached to more of my memories than any other artist.
… always will be.