This column first ran in a newspaper on May 3, 2011.


My wife was mad at me, which was not exactly unusual.

It was Friday night, and I had decided not to return to Carthage to retrieve our tickets to the Saturday night Jimmy Buffett concert that I had left at our home. We were 10 miles north of Nevada when I discovered that I didn’t have the tickets, and my wife wanted me to turn around, which I did. But then I changed my mind and turned around again. I told my wife that since I purchased the tickets online, I could reprint them.

“All I need is a computer with a printer,” I said.

I was hungry, and going all the way back to Carthage would cause us to get to Kansas City too late to eat dinner at the nice steak place where we had reservations. See, the trip was part of my birthday celebration, so my wife had to cut me some slack.

“Fine,” my wife said. “Do whatever you want.”

I knew I was in trouble.

My wife called the restaurant and pushed our reservations back half an hour, which gave us time to get to our room so our 13-year-old daughter, Emma, could do whatever she does to her hair before she goes out in public.

We walked into the restaurant right on time, and a nice woman led us to our table. On the way, I glanced over at a booth to our left. Sitting in the booth were a nice-looking older couple and a man who looked just like Jimmy Buffett.

“Hey,” I said to myself. “That guy looks just like Jimmy Buffett. But what would Jimmy Buffett be doing in Kansas City?”

Then I told myself I was a moron. Then I called out my wife’s name.

“What?” my wife said.

“Look,” I whispered as we sat down at our table.

“What are you talking abou … OH, MY GOD!”

“This is what I’m saying,” I said.

I have been trying to meet Jimmy Buffett for more than 30 years. Not in a creepy way, but — you know — in a “hey how’s it going?” way.

I was the one who suggested that my wife and I get married in Key West. Not, so much, so we could get married, but so maybe I could meet Jimmy Buffett. (That’s just between you and me, by the way.) One year, some friends we met in Key West gave us directions to Jimmy’s house, and we drove by. I have a picture of my wife standing at the gate to the house.

OK , that sounds creepy.

After a few minutes, Jimmy and the nice-looking couple stood up. The couple started walking out first, followed by Jimmy.

I started to say something to my wife when I noticed that she wasn’t in her seat. Instead, she was talking to Jimmy. Jimmy listened to my wife, looked at me, nodded his head, walked over to our table, stuck out his hand and said: “Happy birthday. But you’re still a young man.”

I stood up and coolly replied.

“Blurxkkk, wixhyc, Blecahhy,” I said.

My wife told Jimmy that I was a moron because I forgot our tickets to the concert.

“You forget your tickets?” Jimmy said with a laugh.


“He thinks he can print them off,” my wife said.

Then I must have mentioned something about a concert of his that my sister Kate helped put together in Hong Kong a few years back because Jimmy talked about Hong Kong for a few minutes.

“Wabahhh yadda bada bingo,” I said.

After a few minutes, our chat came to an end. Jimmy shook my hand again, and as he walked away he stopped and said, “Hey, good luck with those tickets.”

I smiled, waved and said, “Thackky zackxiz uch.”

After Jimmy left, I sat back down in my chair, and looked at my wife and Emma.

“I think I handled that pretty well,” I said.