by Laura Sillerman

Jimmy Buffett gave a party for a few thousand people on the island of Anguilla on Saturday. Well, to be completely accurate, a few thousand people each donated a hundred dollars to charity in order to attend the party.

Part of his Concert at the End of The World Tour, this blistering afternoon was as cool as music gets. From a perch above the crowd, one could see the usual Coral Reefer regalia: fish hats, hula skirts, full parrot uniforms, and lots and lots of skin. Coupled with stacks of cups that count as notches on the belt of the serious margarita worshipers, the scene could have amounted to madness, but instead a kind of benevolent sanity reigned.

As a boom camera dipped and swooped over the crowd in a pattern matching that of the pelicans over the sea, just a palm fringe away, several tons of humanity moved gently.  Even shouting with joy, they were benign.

What do these nomadic fanatics have in common? Each one knows every lyric, every cue to participation, every inch of the territory of a Jimmy Buffet concert. They aren’t so much an audience as paying back-up singers ready to travel — to the very ends of the earth — for this man and his philosophy of equanimity.

And what does that have to do with us? They are us. A Buffett crowd is probably the best place to see the balance of our demographic. In the front row was a woman who was surely of grandmother age — pretty and fit, smiling and into it. She wasn’t taking a stroll down memory lane; she was making a memory — one it appears she’s made in many forms before.

Recognizing that she was the "only bait in town" was another woman in what we used to call a muumuu. Big straw hat, gray curls, bright eyes, perfect rhythm and no doubt a stand-out on a dance floor. Lots of these women were with friends, not mates. Most had traveled great distances to be there.

One look at them and you recognize we are not about to be hamstrung by what society says we can do or be.

Part guru, part imp, Jimmy Buffet knows the past is rich and doesn’t mind acknowledging how far back his goes. He gives his fans permission to go back with him. For a couple of beyond-generous hours, everybody is proud to have so much experience and to have made as many mistakes as they have in the interest of getting smarter and celebrating the dumb parts.

No wonder there were hundreds and hundreds of what used to be called "women of a certain age" there. They’d earned their places in that Caribbean sun. As the lyric goes, "If we weren’t all crazy, we would go insane." We’re not all into rock and roll on an island afternoon, but most of us are into something that keeps us a little crazy and a lot more sane. Let’s make a point of acting on that really soon.

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