AJ (aka GumboPirate) has had a rough time lately. Both of his parents were diagnosed this year with stage IV cancer. His father passed away on November 23rd, just a few days before Thanksgiving. A benefit that was planned for his parents still went on as planned and a surprise guest “Fingers” Taylor would be performing along with the band “Fins to the Left”
Jimmy Buffett contacted AJ on Friday December 5th to send his sympathies. Here’s AJ’s account of his call with Jimmy:
As I was practicing a few of the songs this past Friday December 5th which I was going to perform with Mr. Taylor, my cell phone rang. Private number. I debated whether to answer, none of my friends have private numbers. Still, I picked it up …
“Hey, AJ. This is Jimmy Buffett. How are you doing today?”
I was in shock. It couldn’t really have been him. He then proceeded to tell me how the story of my family eventually ended up on his desk and how he came into possession of my phone number. He sent his deepest sympathies and talked about how he got through the difficult year when he lost both of his parents. We talked a little about the benefit and a little about life. We talked about my dad and how the rest of the family was doing.
He then asked me what he could do. I told him to keep doing what he has been doing–his music and tours have been a cornerstone of our family and bring us more joy than he will ever know. He then asked if it would allow him to have our family as his guests at a show on this summers tour. I told my mom and she started balling. My little siblings were jumping up and down. I told him it would be our honor. I told him how much the phone call meant to me, and thanked him for taking the time out of his busy schedule to put a smile on the face of a fan who could really use one. He asked if there was anything else that he could do, and I asked if he could leave my outgoing voicemail message (got the idea from reading the story of Keith’s Anguilla trip and phone call a year or so ago).
He did, and it now says: “Hey. You have reached AJs phone, and this is Jimmy Buffett the answering machine. Leave AJ a message and he will call you back if he is not lost in Margaritaville somewhere. Don’t forget to have a Merry Christmas and a happy new year.” (listen to AJ’s voicemail message)
While I lost my dad, the past 48 hours have shown me that he is still with us. I talked to my idol, played with Fingers Taylor, and got engaged to the most wonderful woman in the world, all within a 2 day span, with my dad beside me every step of the way.
For more details: Read AJ’s post on the BN discussion forum