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Slowing down in Margaritaville

| Wednesday, September 6, 2023

I grew up the child of “Parrot Heads.” For those of you who are unaware “Parrot Heads” are diehard Jimmy Buffett fans. They are the equivalent of “Swifties” to Taylor Swift.

Driving home from school or really driving anywhere in my dad’s green Ford Explorer we only had two options, either listen to the purple CD with green spots that played songs from the singing purple dinosaur or the silver CD that played songs about a place called Margaritaville that was “Paradise.” Even at 4-years-old, I knew Buffett was better than Barnie.

I had memorized the words to songs like “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere” before I even walked into first grade. Singing about “tall and strong hurricanes” before I even understood what I was asking for. It was also the only time I was allowed to swear.

When you ask other girls my age what their first concert was, oftentimes they’ll say something like Taylor Swift or even One Direction. I used to be embarrassed about what my first concert was, but now I answer “Jimmy Buffett” proudly.

My sister and I were lucky enough that my parents wanted to share their love of music and Jimmy Buffett with us. Most parents would have just got a babysitter so they could go to a concert and have fun but not ours, they wanted us there.

They wanted this to be our first concert experience. And in the early 2000s at what used to be called Toyota Park in Chicago, two toddlers joined their parents and their friends to watch the original Parrot Head play songs about relaxing and having a good time on the beach.

It is definitely one of my core memories. Dancing to “Sweet Home Chicago” and “Volcano” at the top of the bowl of the stadium.

On Saturday morning I woke up to a text in my family group chat from my dad that said, “Jimmy Buffett just died.”

I’m not going to stretch the truth and tell you that this will alter my life and that we are all sitting vigil for him. Well, my dad might be, but it’s definitely the end of an era.

In truth I forgot about my Margaritaville roots. In high school I stopped driving around with my dad and started listening to my own music while driving my own car. I didn’t remember how much of an impact Jimmy Buffett had on my young life until I was at dinner with my friends on Saturday night. As we were leaving the stadium we were singing “It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere” and I remembered all of the words. Later at dinner, I told them the story of my first concert and the many stories of vacations spent in Key West when I was younger. It’s sad that it took his death to remind me of his impact and music.

To me Buffett’s overall message was to slow down and enjoy the little things like good people, beautiful beaches and good drinks. I’m glad that my parents tried to instill the idea of slowing down to look around and enjoy life in me from a young age.

I think that’s a message we should all remember, especially here at college when it feels like we’re constantly moving and working toward the next thing. Despite the sadness of his passing, that is what I am choosing to take out of his death.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Meghan Lange

Meghan Lange is currently serving as the Saint Mary's News Editor for her second term in the position. She is a junior from Saint Mary's College. When she is not working in the News Department, Meghan can be found in the Photo Department working as a Photo Journalist, shooting the many different sporting events and Lectures on the tri-campus.

Contact Meghan