My mother hated Jimmy Buffett. Being a musician herself my mother was an elitist, especially when it came to a particular artist’s booze habits. For instance I didn’t even know about Sinatra until I moved out of the house, but Jimmy Buffett’s music caused a pretty visceral reaction in my mother, one that often caused involuntary, spastic swipes at the radio dial until she connected with a button–any button–that would change the station. Well, when my parents came back from their 30-year anniversary trip to Maui raving about their favorite restaurant in the entire world, called Cheeseburger in Paradise, a restaurant chain owned by–you guessed it–Jimmy Buffett himself, I did not say a thing.

I know what you’re thinking; “But Russell, what an opportunity to finally bring awareness to the futility that surrounds musical bigotry.” Let me assure you, I completely sympathize with your point of view. In fact it was all I could do to keep from roflcoptering (do people still say that?), but my mother was a zealous woman. She fell head-on into whatever she believed in and at that moment she happened to believe in a burger joint on the island of Maui. Later she would believe in the intelligence and memory of the “stupid crows” that incessantly squawked in their driveway, something that science was just scratching the surface on. Even later she would believe in getting a flu shot to protect her from the H1N1 virus, which she would contract anyway opening the door for the pneumonia that took her life. So when she told me the name of her new favorite restaurant, ignorant of the fact that it’s named after one of her musical nemesis’ most popular songs, I simply didn’t have the heart to break her spirit. She needed to be excited, and I knew that.

Years later our whole family took a vacation to Maui, and we ate at Cheeseburger in Paradise. As we ate, the sun was setting behind a sailboat and behind my mother the live band began to play Jimmy Buffett’s hit, “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” I expected my mother to flip the table or at least throw a french-fry at the band, but nothing happened–she just smiled and ate. I still don’t know if she was aware of the connection between the song and the diner, but either way I grabbed these coasters on my way out–two of them. One for the restaurant and the second for the song.

P.S. Too bad she never saw this:


~ by russell jander on January 21, 2012.

7 Responses to “Coasters”

  1. I am tempted to search Spotify for Jimmy Buffet songs (I don’t believe I have ever heard him) but I am too worried that I will not like him so much that I will be unable to function for the rest of the day.

    Is (was?) he that bad?

  2. You are a much stronger person than I am if you throw those coasters away — which is why I boarder on becoming a true hoarder and you, obviously, do not.

    What a wonderful story and wonderful memory of your mother!

  3. I lost my mom this past year and the memories her things evoke are magical to me. I couldn’t keep them all, just a few to keep her close to my heart and conjure up her sweet face when I needed a motherly hug.

    Actually, my mom’s death was the impetus that started by blogging. Beverly Ann Dances On is a love song to her.

    Thank you for sharing your loving memories of your mother. It’s a bridge we all must cross; nice to know there’s light on the other side.

    And the crow video – Mot had told me about it. Glad you posted it.

    • I applaud you for being able to access those emotions so quickly and tangibly. I still don’t have enough perspective to accurately depict my mother as I remember her, so I write about coasters. And Jimmy Buffett. But keep up the work. Grief is a confluence that we will never stop learning from.

  4. […] the same trip to Maui that I stole the coasters, I also stole one of their clouds. There was a sign at the visitor’s center at the top of […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: