With the recent passing of Jimmy Buffett, we in Parrot Head Nation are living through grief, even as we ask ourselves and each other the question “what’s next?” While the grief is natural and inescapable and difficult, the answer to the question is easy because Jimmy himself answered it: “Keep the party going.”
When Jimmy and Parrot Heads talk about a “party,” it means more to us than to most. Yes, we will have fun, dance, sing and have drinks with umbrellas. But our party comes with many purposes. We Parrot Heads have created, in the words of Jimmy’s wife Jane, “the world’s most joyful community.” It is built on love, kindness, generosity, charity and smiles, and its soundtrack is the music of Jimmy Buffett and the many musicians inspired by him.
And in this season, our party will also be about honoring the man whose own kindness and joy and generosity made it all possible. And we will cry and laugh together and support each other as members of Jimmy’s “big, boisterous family.”
This year’s Meeting of the Minds takes on new and deeper meaning with Jimmy’s passing. For the first time, we gather in the place of Jimmy’s birth and childhood after a quarter century of meeting in his Key West stomping grounds. For the first time in many years, there will be no mystery and no rumors about a surprise appearance. And yet ironically, it will be a gathering at which Jimmy’s presence and spirit will be felt more than ever in the sights and the sounds of the event and especially in the hearts of those in attendance.
It is important to gather in grief and celebration of life, to reflect and reminisce together, and to share a healing hug or two or three thousand. We invite you, whether you have been just once or twice or never before, to join Parrot Heads from around the world in Gulf Shores next month. It’s a new location, but it will feel like home. After all, you’ll be with family.
Bill Brehm, President
Parrot Heads in Paradise