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Jimmy Buffett, at 76, drops anchor at last

by Bob Wisener | September 5, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
FILE- In this Nov. 4, 2011, file photo released by the Florida Keys News Bureau, singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett performs before fans on Duval Street in Key West, Fla. Buffett, who popularized beach bum soft rock with the escapist Caribbean-flavored song “Margaritaville” and turned that celebration of loafing into an empire of restaurants, resorts and frozen concoctions, has died, Friday, Sept. 1, 2023. (Rob O'Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau via AP)

With sadness, one contemplated life Saturday in a world without Jimmy Buffett.

Hopefully, the entertainer located that lost shaker of salt he famously misplaced in one of his most famous tunes. And that one who "made enough money to buy Miami but (well, whizzed) it all away" carried enough loose change to pay any outstanding bar tabs.

That it is last call in Margaritaville, and so soon, may be more than some Parrotheads can handle right away. Especially coming on a holiday weekend honoring the working man. A cheeseburger in paradise, and something to wash it down with, for everyone in the house -- and a designated driver for anyone in need.

Buffett, or at least the image he projected, appealed to any American who feels constrained by convention. Someone who might, at day's end, and in private, fire up a joint or crack open a beer to take the edge off a trying week at work.

Cancer claimed him Friday, age 76, and one just knew it wasn't work-related stress. He did not, like Ernest Hemingway, another famous former resident of Key West, Florida, some 60-odd years ago, put a gun to his head and end it all. Though he had been in declining health, Buffett had too much living in store to consider a self-snuff like America's greatest novelist.

Buffett died at home Friday night "peacefully," a report said, "surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs," almost as if he chose time and place. His last visitors included Sir James Paul McCartney, the ex-Beatle now 81, another who could take a sad song and make it better.

McCartney, like Buffett, made one believe in yesterday. Jay Gatsby, from F. Scott Fitzgerald's most famous novel, believed mistakenly that one could relive the past, meeting his demise at the gunpoint of a jealous husband in a case of mistaken identity and without Daisy Buchanan at his side.

Butffett appealed to the fellow in the crowd who believes it's five o'clock somewhere and all the girls look better at closing time. These ne'er-do-wells socially (males especially) contribute to a high national divorce rate and some are known to miss a child-support payment. Country singer Bobby Bare expressed that they might smoke cigarettes, teach a Sunday-school class and keep a weekly assignation with "Margie at the Linkin Park Inn."

Within his music, one senses a sadness in Buffett, a life of missed opportunity yet one, that Humphrey Bogart espoused, everyone is two drinks behind. We have lost a musical giant to rate with America's best and in whose memory even us teetotalers raise a glass.

Print Headline: Jimmy Buffett, at 76, drops anchor at last

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