Monday, December 22, 2014

Holiday Prayer

I have recently re-found something from my past and I am thoroughly enjoying it immensely.

You see, I used to be a Jimmy Buffet fan.  A "Parrot Head", as we are called.  In my 20's and maybe into my early 30's when my children came around, I would pack up the car with friends - always a different bunch - and head off to the summer concert.  It was like Mecca.  [OK, it wasn't much like Mecca except for the annual-ness, the spiritual fulfillment and the long trip.]

As the years rolled along, I found myself getting annoyed at the concerts.  People didn't dance anymore and a whole bunch of them didn't even know the words [blasphemy!].  Buffett had become corporate, or at least the Parrot Heads had become corporate.  Talking through the quiet songs and standing still through the lively ones.  Dancing in the aisles had all but disappeared.  How do you talk through "Come Monday" and not dance to "One Particular Harbor"?  Finally I figured it out.  These people, some still wearing their business suits [seriously?!?] were not attending to be filled with Key West-ern joy.  They were there to explore the coral reefer and be able to say they were there.  [The same thing happened at Fenway Park too, but that's another issue.]

So, Jimmy had sold out.  He had given in to greed and "gone mainstream".  A more appalling thought there could not have been.  My hero had turned into everyone else.  Shit.  I started to hear it in his music, I heard cheap echo-chambers and I noticed that he really doesn't have the best singing voice, and my soul wandered.  I never really stopped buying his albums, but I had demoted myself from Parrot Head to simply "fan".

This year I finally made my trip to my own personal Mecca - Key West.  Duval Street, Mallory Square, Captain Tony's, all the places that I so romanticized that they could not possibly have lived up to my expectations.  They did, they did, they did, and while I was there, my soul rediscovered Jimmy Buffett.

I have an iPad now, so I set it on random and let it play all of his music in no particular order.  Slowly, I came to realize that he, in fact doesn't really have a great signing voice and the production quality of his studio albums is a little iffy.  But they all were.  The new ones, the old ones.  What I realized was that his work really didn't change when all those suits started showing up to the minstrel Margaritavilles, rather it was me that had changed.  I had become a picky, high maintenance, judgmental shrew.

Well, I am back now.  I'm even thinking of buying the Parrot Head license plates from the state (if only I had a car upon which to put them).  I have shed my negativity and let the music and its spirit embrace my soul.

So my Holiday prayer for me and for you this season is that we find ourselves able to shed whatever it is that is holding us back from letting something or someone's spirit embrace our soul, or embrace our soul once again.  My joy is entirely up to me.

Happy Holidays.

[PS...If Santa is listening, another trip to Mecca wouldn't be a bad thing either.]

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