Around these Florida parts, we still us the same refrigerator, microwave, and oven and walk on the same carpet we did in 1983. The appliances haven’t changed, but the gusto with which my parents live has. They filled their empty nest with trop rock and true friends, and I like that they remind me of no one I know, that they’re all the good parts of crazy. Sometimes, I look around and it seems like everyone looks alike or everyone’s having the same conversations, but never at 8016. At home, I squabble with my dad about politics and I scoff when my mom says I should brush my hair or iron my clothes, but because of them, I know what I need to know—how to be myself and how to love.
I wrote this awhile back about my parent’s house concerts and my old backyard, dubbed “The Yard,” and, again pushing midnight, I can’t think of a better way to say how proud they make me:
“Living my own dream in Alaska, I haven’t had the chance to attend many of my parents’ concerts, but the ones I’ve been to have made an impression. I have never seen my parents as happy as they are when they are contributing to the trop rock music scene, which is more of a lifestyle than a style of music.
I remember the night Jimmy Buffett’s steel guitarist Doyle Grisham played with John Frinzi. The crowd sat bathed in the warm glow of the red and yellow Christmas lights hanging from the stage while Grisham and Frinzi told stories about their songs and about lives lived at land’s end in the Keys. From the back of the audience, I saw couples holding hands, my dad kneeling on the ground and smiling at the stage, my mom laughing with my aunt, and two men singing songs about shorelines and slipping away to an unnamed paradise. A good friend of my parents says about a night at The Yard such as this one, ‘When we are all there, there is a feeling of escapism and the stress and reality of everyday life magically disappears.’ Many places may conjure the same feeling, but at The Yard, the magic is in the paradox: The Yard is a dream of faraway places made residential where guests escape life by trying to live more fully.”
Here’s Clara in front of my parent’s concert pavilion where trop rock musicians play every couple weeks (when daughters aren’t getting married).
A totem pole of the artists that have played at The Yard:
The outdoor bathroom:
Above the sink for the outdoor bathroom:
Where the men go to bathroom (and, yes, what they use to flush):
My mom’s stump for dancing.
The nearly finished guest cottage that concert-goers can name after themselves with a winning raffle ticket.
The stage and tiki hut where artist CDs and t-shirts are sold.
The lighthouse porta-potty my dad built for tailgate parties.
And, of course, it’s always . . .