Sometimes in my normal course of a business day I see some interesting sights. This regular run of the mill granite monument marks the place of burial of James Delaney “J.D.” Buffett, Jr and Mary Loraine “Peets” Buffett in Fairhope Alabama. This particular monument got my attention this afternoon. I’m not sure how many other children this couple had but one of their offspring turned out to be a rather famous guy. Jimmy Buffett.
As in THE Jimmy Buffett. As in the Margaritaville Jimmy Buffett. The real Cheeseburger in Paradise.
Jimmy Buffett was born on Christmas Day 1946. I would say he has done pretty well for himself. This singer, songwriter, film producer, author and restaurateur earns about $100 Million per year. I don’t know what it is but when I run up on a normal looking grave of a couple whose son earns $100M a year I have to stop and at least take a picture.
Jimmy grew up along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay which is exactly where I took this photo today. I learned that he graduated from McGill Institute for Boys in Mobile and later attended Auburn University. He started playing the guitar while at Auburn then transferred to Southern Mississippi where he joined the Kappa Sigma fraternity and received a bachelor’s degree in history. After graduation he moved to Nashville and worked for Billboard Magazine.
While in Nashville he began his music career as a country artist. During that time he could also be found on the streets of New Orleans playing and singing for tourists as they walked by. He eventually went to Key West and sang on the streets there. He stayed there and established his beach bum persona that made him famous. Normal moved into abnormal. Extraordinary abnormal.
The truth is Jimmy Buffett is another example of the American dream. His dream is probably not your dream and that is perfectly fine. But the point is he started as a normal guy. He attended college and got a degree in history for goodness sakes. He had no way of knowing what his future held. He just went for it a step at a time. He took some risks along the way.
And his dream became his reality when these famous words were moved from his creative (or drunken) mind to a sheet of paper and into a song:
Nibblin’ on sponge cake. Watchin’ the sun bake; All of those tourists covered with oil. Strummin’ my six string on my front porch swing. Smell those shrimp they’re beginnin’ to boil. Wasted away in Margartiaville. Searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt. Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame. But I know it’s nobody’s fault.
Pour me somethin’ tall and strong. Make it a Hurricane before I go insane. It’s only half-past twelve but I don’t care. It’s five o’clock somewhere.
Today it was five o’clock in Fairhope AL when I took a picture of the grave of the parents of Jimmy Buffett. Today it was Fairhope. Tomorrow who knows. But it is always five o'clock somewhere.