Sail On, Jimmy Buffett; Itís Been A Lovely Cruise

I was surprised on the morning of September 2 when I heard of the death of Jimmy Buffett. Ever since the mid-1970s when I first heard his song “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and *bleep*”, I was hooked on his music. Since his first album after leaving Nashville in 1972 after his first two albums didn’t sell, he has released 29 studio albums with most of the songs being new material with a new studio album scheduled for release in November. Along with the many concert recordings and collections, he has become one of the most prolific recording artists of the past fifty years.

He began touring in 1974 as a means of selling more records and building a base of fans. His band was a group of pick-up musicians that he called the Coral Reefer Band with a nod to the tropical setting and a wink to a term for marijuana. Since 1974, he has toured just about every year and performed in numerous venues around the world. Some of the musicians in his band have been in that band since the beginning.

He has performed at Blossom Music Center 28 times, the most times by any popular music performer at Blossom. His first concert there was on July 25,1977, and his last concert there was on September 25, 2021. I lost count of how many Jimmy Buffett concerts I have attended. His live concerts have become a day long beach party without the beach (unless he is playing at a beach).

His brand of tropical rock with tales of pirates, scoundrels and tales from the tropics provided some much-needed escapism for most of us tied down with making a living. Along the way, he took his only top ten hit “Margaritaville” and turned it into a business empire of restaurants, food, beverages, clubs, resorts and even retirement communities. In the process, he became a billionaire. But he wore flip flops, Hawaiian shirts and shorts instead of a suit and tie.

Listening to his songs transported the listener to the tropics. Here are some lyrics from his song “Boat Drinks” from his 1979 album “Volcano.”

“It’s 20 degrees and the hockey game’s on. I don’t care, I’m way too far gone. This morning, I shot six holes in the freezer. I think I got cabin fever. Somebody sound the alarm. I want to go where the pace of life is slow, could you beam be somewhere Mister Scotty. Any old place, here on earth or in outer space, you pick the century and I’ll pick the spot. I know I should be leaving this climate. I got to go where it’s warm. Waitress, I need two more boat drinks. Then I’m heading south before my dream shrinks. I got to go where it’s warm!”

Now, who here in northeastern Ohio hasn’t felt that way in the middle of winter?

Another of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs was titled “A Pirate Looks at Forty”. It was about a man looking at mid life and not liking what he saw. Here are some lyrics from that song.

“Yes, I am a pirate, two hundred years too late. The cannons don’t thunder, there’s nothing to plunder. I’m an over forty victim of fate. My occupational hazard is that my occupation’s just not around. I made enough money to buy Miami, but I *bleep* it away too fast. Never meant to last.”

How many of haven’t felt like that in our careers or job?

Before Jimmy Buffett sang about Margaritaville, I never had a margarita. Now it is one of my favorite drinks and I know how to make the perfect margarita.

Another song by Jimmy Buffett is a song about his grandfather that was recorded on his first album in Nashville that didn’t sell and is almost impossible to find. It was later recorded on one of his later albums. It is titled “The Captain and the Kid”. His grandfather jumped out of a second-floor window of his home in Halifax Nova Scotia and made his way to the dock. From there he made a career as a merchant seaman, eventually becoming a steamship captain. He would regale his grandson of the tales of being on the sea and of the places he had been. The final line from that tribute to his grandfather went “he’s somewhere on the ocean now, a place he wants to be with one hand on the starboard rail, he’s waving back at me.”

Also, it is a travesty that Jimmy Buffett has been ignored so long by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

So, sail on Jimmy Buffett. As another one of his songs went “it’s been a lovely cruise.”

Photo taken by me at his concert at Blossom Music Center May 27, 2018

Lee Kamps

Lee has been working with Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance since he began working at the Erie County Welfare Department in January 1973 where a major part of his job was determining eligibility for Medicaid. He went into the private insurance business in 1977 with Prudential Insurance Company and within a short time had become one of the company’s top sales agents. In 1982, he was promoted into management where he managed two field offices and as many as thirteen sales agents. After leaving Prudential in 1986, Lee decided to become more focused on health insurance and employee benefits. He has advised many local employers on how to have a more cost effective employee benefit program as well as conducted employee benefit meetings and enrollments for many area employers. The companies Lee has worked with ranged from small “mom and pop” businesses to local operations of large national companies. Lee received his B.S. degree from Kent State University where he has been active in the local alumni association. He has completed seven of the ten courses toward the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist designation. He has taught courses in employee benefits and insurance at Cleveland State University and local community colleges. In addition, Lee is an experienced and accomplished public speaker. He has been a member of Toastmasters International where he achieved the designation of “Able Toastmaster – Silver” in 1994. He has also served as a club president, Area Governor and District Public Relations Officer in Toastmasters as well as winning local speech contests. Lee has also been a member of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association’s Speaker’s Bureau where he was designated as one of the “official spokespeople for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” prior to the hall’s opening in 1995. He has given talks and presentations before many audiences including civic organizations, AARP chapters and many other community groups. With the implementation of the Medicare Modernization Act (Medicare drug bill) in 2006, Lee has shifted his focus to Medicare and helping Medicare beneficiaries navigate the often confusing array of choices and plans available. As an independent representative, Lee is not bound to any one specific company or plan, but he can offer a plan that suits an individual person’s needs and budget. In addition, Lee is well versed in the requirements and availability of various programs for assistance with Medicare part D as well as Medicaid. While he cannot make one eligible, he can assist in the process and steer one to where they may be able to receive assistance.

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Volume 15, Issue 10, Posted 1:36 PM, 10.01.2023