Jimmy and Me

I found myself having my coffee this morning and listening to a Jimmy Buffett mix on my iPod, and reading my newspaper. It seemed like forever since I had given Jimmy a listen. I found myself smiling.

People can say whatever they want, for me at least the thing is Jimmy’s music just makes you feel better. It can be the dead of winter and there is a foot and a half of snow on the ground, it’s single digits on the thermometer.  I put on his music and I smile. I’ve had some rotten days, but I put on his music and have a cocktail when I get home and I smile. It’s got that sort of power on me.

First song I ever heard was “Margaritaville” and I was hooked. Jimmy always seemed a part of my life in college. You couldn’t walk into any bar, attend any party, without hearing his music.

The first album I ever heard all the way though was “A1A”. It was not only the first album I ever heard,  but it is still my favorite.  I put that any morning, noon, or night and I smile.

I first saw Jimmy back in 1989 with my best friend.  We saw Jimmy Buffett with special guest The Neville Brothers at the old Poplar Creek for $15. Now a days $15 does not even pay for parking. The scene in the parking lot and on the lawn was like nothing I had ever seen. It was a sea of Hawaiian shirts, leis,  and people singing along. I felt like I found a place where I belonged. It was kind of nice.

Jimmy’s first book Tales from Margaritaville came out in 1989. He had a way with words and could tell a story for me, like his music just made me smile. I own all of his books. I’ve read them so many times, they are starting to fall apart. Like the music the books take you to another place. I’ve read Where is Joe Merchant 27 times. A part of me wishes I could be Frank Bama who is the hero that saves the day and gets to live happily ever after. His books mean that much to me. Great reads every one of them.

For as much as I loved Jimmy, somehow I managed to marry someone that hated him. I would take her to concerts and she was to busy moaning and groaning about the girls in the bikinis to actually stop and look around and realize the bigger picture and what she was missing out on. In my next life, a prerequisite is that I’ll meet a girl that feels the same way I do about Jimmy

My hound dog, Margarita actually takes her name from Margaritaville.  The simple rule being- you’ve got to have a long name for a long dog. Can’t think of a better name for a Basset Hound then Margarita. I think Jimmy would approve.

After my marriage ended and I moved out in 2009. The first thing I did was treat myself to a ticket to see Jimmy at Alpine Valley. I went up there with some old friends, made some incredible new friends. The weather sucked, but the music was amazing.

I’ll probably never meet Jimmy. If I did, I shake his hand and say thank you for being such a big part of my life. It’s made me laugh and smile. It’s helped me heal. It’s been wonderful


Who I really am

Adversity shows us who we really are
– Anonymous

I heard that quote today. Not sure who to credit it to, but it really rather struck home for me.

I wish I could say that I was one of those guys that stared adversity in the face and did not back down. Truth be told, there have been times when the going got tough. I actually did back down because I just was not strong enough to fight back.

When I was a kid I was one of those kids that was bullied. I was tall and not terribly athletic.  I would rather talk about Star Wars and model airplanes and music then who was starting for the Bulls or Bears. I was an easy target because I wouldn’t fight back. Then one day I fought back and took a bully down ( Meadowbrook Elementary 1980). And the Bullies did not bother me anymore.

Since I’ve been on the Healing Road, I’ve found myself staring adversity in the face more often then I would prefer to. You find out people who you loved, are no better then the bullies you grow up with. It’s so tempting to fight back. Then you look at yourself in the mirror and your realize- you’re tired, struggling,  and broke. You slink away when you should stand up and fight. That guy in the mirror stares back at you and says “not today” and so you slink off.

Adversity has shown me that I am not Superman or Mr. Fabulous or anyone else but just a really tired man. A man that would like to make the turn and put the horrors of the past four years behind me.

Calzone Saturday Quote

Daddy, I like Calzone Saturday more then I like Pooping Cow Day- Francis J. Romano V (aka Frankie)

Frankie has three favorite non traditional holidays.

3) JP’s birthday- my youngest nephew JP is 6 months younger then Frankie. They are best friends. JP has a birthday in June and for the past few years, it’s been held at Arlington Race Track. A day of family and playing the ponies. Frankie got to go to his first party at the track last year and he loved every minute of it. From cheering on the horses, to riding a pony, Frankie loved that day. I felt bad explaining why he couldn’t have his birthday there ( his bday is in January). It’s good for Frankie to be around other kids his age and having fun.

2) Pooping Cow Day- “Cowabunga” is the actual name of this event. It’s a fundraiser at my sister’s parish. They mark an area off with a grid. Bring a cow in, if the cow poops on your square. You win big money. It’s another fun day for kids. They have pony rides and all kinds of stuff for the kids to do. He just gets out there and has a blast with kids from my sister’s neighborhood. I know he’s had fun because he falls asleep on the way home

1) Calzone Saturday- I had written how much that day meant to me yesterday. This was the first Calzone Saturday he had been able to attend since he was 2. And it’s kind of fun to watch him interact with his older cousins. He knows all their names and thinks they are “really cool”. This year they had an Easter Egg hint for the kids,although he did not win the big prize. He was quite happy to walk away with lots of candy.

First thing he said to his mom when I dropped him off on Saturday night is how much fun he had and that he made a new friend.

I had a chance to reflect on what Frankie told me on Sunday. I thought about all the things in this world I want to give him but I can’t.  Yet in a different way, I’ve given him new memories. Stuff like Pooping Cow Day and Calzone Saturday and how maybe someday he tell stories to his kids of days like that and what they meant to him

You can be creating amazing memories and not even know it