Musical Caribbean Dreams
by Brook (husband)
“Lately, newspapers mentioned cheap airfare.
I’ve got to fly to Saint Somewhere.
I’m close to bodily harm.
Twenty degrees and the hockey game’s on.
Nobody cares. They are way too far gone,
Screaming, “Boat Drinks!”
Something to keep them all warm.”
I am sitting here on a snowy day in mid-America. I am not a fan of winter! The cold and short days do not agree with me! My moods and energy worsen as the season drags on. I am fortunate enough this year to escape for a week aboard a Disney cruise to the southern Caribbean. The closer it gets, the more excited I get. It’s not just about escaping the cold (although that is huge!), but it also takes me back to my youth and my Caribbean dreams. As a high school and college student, I was a huge Jimmy Buffet fan. I owned all of his pre-Floridadays CDs (his later stuff is not as good, in my opinion), went to his concerts, knew his songs by heart, and strummed them on my guitar. I have never been and still am not a country music fan, but Jimmy Buffet clicked with me.
One Particular Harbor
‘But I think about the good times
down in the Caribbean sunshine’
His songs wove tales and painted pictures of this wonderful life in the Caribbean. At that point in my life, there was no place that I would rather have visited. His songs filled my mind with romantic notions and images. His remake of Harry Belafonte’s Jamaica Farewell brings it to life.
‘Down the way where the nights are gay
and the sun shines daily on the mountain tops…..
….Sounds of laughter everywhere
and the dancing girls sway to and fro.’
Tin Cup Chalice reinforces these Caribbean dreams. Can’t you picture this?
‘The sun goes sliding’ ‘cross the water.
Sailboats, they go searchin’ for the breeze.
Salt air, it ain’t thin.
It can stick right to your skin
and make you feel fine.
It makes you feel fine!’
I had been to Florida, but his descriptions of the islands were foreign and enticing.
‘And the lady, she hails from Trinidad,
Island of the spices.
Salt for your meat, cinnamon sweet,
and the rum is for all your good vices.’
Many of his songs told stories about people from familiar places like Cincinnati, Nashville, and even here in Kentucky. This certainly made my Caribbean dreams seem realistic. The song Fins is about a girl who “came down from Cincinnati” to the Caribbean.
“She sailed off to Antigua
It took her three days on a boat.
Looking for peace and quiet;
Maybe keep her dreams afloat.’
The life that he painted was a certainly a draw. I actually had two friends who quit college, joined the Coast Guard, and were lucky enough to get first assignment in Key West; just to get the closer to the life he described.
‘Give me oysters and beer
for dinner every day of the year,
and I’ll feel fine.
I’ll feel fine!’
A Pirate Looks at Forty
‘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;
arriving to late.’
Life seldom seems to go as you plan. I met the right girl, got married, settled down, and had a family. Now, over two decades later, my wife, kids, and I are your fairly typical suburban, American family. I am not complaining! Life is good! I would not change it. I have still never been to the Caribbean, though. With that about to change, it has brought about reflection. I am thankful to share this experience with my family. My wife and I will celebrate our anniversary on board.
While the Disney Wonder may not be a pirate ship, there is a Pirate Night and Party aboard! I can dress up and sing, “Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!” I am really a peaceful guy; so, cannons and plundering were not a good fit anyway. We will get to visit Antigua mentioned in the song Fins. Our Saint Somewhere will be Saint Kitts. In addition will be Grenada, Martinique, Barbados, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. This sample should give me a good taste of my Caribbean dreams and, hopefully, we will be able to return and explore more places or explore these more in depth.
He Went to Paris
‘Now he lives in the islands, fishes the pilings,
and drinks his Green Label each day.
He’s writing his memoir and losing his hearing,
but he don’t care what most people say.’
Just as 25 year ago, I could not have predicted where I would be or what I would be doing now. I doubt that my visions for 25 years from now will be any more accurate. But….I can still let Mr. Buffet paint more Caribbean dreams of retiring someday to warmth and sunshine.
‘After eighty-six years of perpetual motion
if he likes you, he’ll smile and he’ll say,
“Some of it’s magic; some of it’s tragic,
but I had a good life all the way.’
Thank you Jimmy Buffet! And thanks to my wife for putting up with me!