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      Adela's Blog

      That Day We Met Jimmy Buffett in Cayman

      That Day We Met Jimmy Buffett in Cayman

      It was more than 25 years ago, but I clearly remember my first impression of Jimmy Buffett when we met him on Grand Cayman. It was Christmas Day 1996. James and I were at the beach with the girls for sunset, a Christmas tradition, when one of the Hyatt managers told us Jimmy, who was booked at the resort for the night, was about to land at the airport.

      We wanted to watch his plane, the Hemisphere Dancer, land so we packed the girls in the car, along with our friend Hal Phillips, and hurried to the airport. We arrived just in time to see the seaplane land and taxi to customs. It was impressive.

      Before we knew it, Jimmy walked out of the building carrying a backpack, a diaper bag, and he had a toddler in tow. It was his 2-year-old son Cameron Marley.  I expected someone else to emerge from the building, but no,  it was just the two of them.

      "Here's a confident and happy Dad on a boys-only adventure with his little boy,"  I thought with respect.

      Jimmy spotted us, walked over, and with a big smile asked "Are you with the car rental company?"  We laughed and introduced ourselves.

      While we chatted, and waited for his rental car, the kids started playing together, as kids do - chasing each other around.  An excited Jimmy started taking photos of them.

      "I'm writing a book," he explained. "Look at this - we've just arrived and Cameron has already found two island girls!" The new book, he said, would document his journey through the Southern Hemisphere to celebrate his 50th birthday. It was that very day - Dec 25 is his birthday! Something I didn't know at the time. Cayman was a fueling stop on their way to Costa Rica.

      When the rental car still didn't arrive, we offered to give Jimmy a lift to the Hyatt, it was on our way home. He quickly took us up on it, and said his pilots could wait for the rental car. (We never saw them, but i understand there were four of them along for the journey).

      We were driving my little Toyota, so it was a tight squeeze. James drove (right hand drive), Jimmy sat on the left passenger side with Cameron on his lap. The girls and I rode in the back. I know it was a nerve-racking drive for James, but it was a nice chance to visit with Jimmy.  He explained that his wife and their girls were meeting them in Costa Rica the next day, but for now it was just him and Cameron.

      I found Jimmy to be very relaxed and engaging. He had a ready smile, a twinkle in his eye, and I could tell he was enjoying this trip with his son immensely. The world-famous entertainer and entrepreneur was kind, friendly and polite, a credit to his parents, I thought. (These are the observations of the journalist in me)

      Jimmy laughingly told us that the Caymanian air traffic controllers promised not to shoot at his plane when he radioed in his approach. Not being a parrot head, I didn't know what he was talking about, so he explained the Jamaica Mistaka incident. He said he, Chris Blackwell and Bono decided to fly to Jamaica for jerk chicken when this happened!

      Before we got to the hotel, Jimmy said the pilots were going to have to draw straws to see who would babysit Cameron while they went to dinner. I offered to do it and he was genuinely surprised when I did.

      "I might have to take you up on it," he smiled.

      "With two kids of our own, what's one more?" I answered. 

      So we agreed, but I had one condition - to bring my camera and take photos. I didn't think anyone would believe that we met Jimmy Buffett without proof.

      Sure! he said.

      James and I went home to get my camera and pick up some toys and videos for the kids. We arrived at the Hyatt villa to see Jimmy changing Cameron's clothes. He opened the door with a smile. He had ordered pizza and french fries for the kids and beer was in the fridge for James.

      Everyone posed for pictures and off Jimmy went to dinner.

      Cameron, a handsome little fella with red hair and bright green eyes, had some adorable children's books with him and a baseball. James played ball with him and the girls watched a movie. I marveled at Jimmy's trust in us, but I guess we had honest faces!

      When Jimmy returned from dinner we visited a bit more. As we got ready to leave, he asked if they'd see us again. I reminded him that they were leaving in the morning. Oh yeah, he said.

      As it turns out, we did see Jimmy Buffett again - several times. But that is another story. 

      Jimmy wrote his book - A Pirate Looks at 50 - and he included a chapter called "The Island Girls."  Those island girls are our daughters Hallie & Katie, who were 3 years old at the time. Months later, we received a surprise package in the mail - an autographed copy of A Pirate Looks at 50.  It was inscribed with this note:

      "You never know who you're going to run into at an airport!" Jimmy Buffett

      Angels Among Us

      Angels Among Us

      What a great weekend we had at Music on the Bay! James and I are so proud to be a part of this wonderful event for the past 11 years, and we love our Tampa Bay PHC friends, and everyone who helps bring it all together. MOTB has raised $700,000, or more, for the Shriners Hospital for Children where children are treated regardless of their family's ability to pay. 

      This weekend I met a wonderful woman at the Shriner's booth next to mine, Alicia Argiz-Lyons. She plans fundraisers and travels the country on behalf of the hospital, and it was clear Alicia loves her job and the mission they share. I asked her about possible help for a baby girl in Cayman who will need assistance her whole life, and she gave some information to share with the parents.

      During this discussion, it dawned on me that our family has benefited from the kindness of others too, in similar circumstances. Our twin daughters were born in Texas very early and very tiny, so Hallie & Katie spent months in the NICU and Preemie Nursery at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. Before they were born, I was hospitalized for 5 weeks in a high-risk maternity ward, so our combined hospital bill was outrageous.

      Unfortunately, our insurance coverage at that time, through the Hyatt in Cayman, maxed out at a ridiculously low total (that was changed after our ordeal).  Our outstanding bill was $500,000 (30 years ago). You can't imagine the panic James and I felt when we saw that huge bill, and our babies still needed special care at home.

      Luckily, we were helped by an organization in Texas set up to help families with  catastrophic illnesses and big medical bills. They paid most of our outstanding debt, and took a huge weight off of our shoulders. James and I could focus on taking our baby girls home and keeping them happy and healthy.

      As a parent, when you have a sick child in the hospital, the last thing you want to do is worry about money.  Thank you Shriners Hospital for Children for giving these parents peace of mind, and these children hope. 

      And thank you to the Angels Among Us who work so hard to make Music on the Bay such a successful fundraiser for the children. You guys rock!


      Nancy's Levi's Jacket

      Nancy's Levi's Jacket

      The most prized possession in my closet right now is a Levi's denim jacket that I inherited from my mother-in-law Nancy White when she passed. 

      I always admired Mom's cool style and the first time I saw her wearing this jacket, blinged up with beaded fringe, pins, glitter and colorful flowers, I was impressed. Grandma was a parrot head way before I even knew what a parrot head was!

      I wear my blinged-up jacket with love and pride, and it feels like I'm getting a  hug from my sweet mother-in-law. The jacket expresses my love for Nancy and my fondness for denim.

      As a native Texan, I grew up with denim - jeans, cut-offs, jackets, and the more worn out the garment, the softer the denim.  My Dad and brothers wore jeans daily, as did most farmers or ranchers in Texas. I remember helping Mom do the laundry, jeans had to be hung on the clothes line to dry - pockets out.

      A word about denim. It's a sturdy, tightly-woven cotton fabric, and new denim undergoes a water-intensive process before its ready for the market. It takes a lot of water to grow the cotton plants too.  Not great for the environment.

      I believe using recycled denim is much better for our natural world, so this is my reason for repurposing, or "up-cycling" denim jackets. I spend much time browsing Goodwill, resale or consignment shops for used jackets that I think my customers will like. Sometimes I'll buy a new jacket if it catches my eye.

      Jackets are embellished with vintage tropical fabric, rhinestones, embroidered patches and pins, brooches.

      Not just any fabric. I like to recycle Jams World fabric from used tropical shirts and dresses. Jams World is a line of unique and colorful island wear patented and cut in Hawaii. The company I worked in Grand Cayman owned an exclusive Jams World retail outlet, so we grew to love the brand.  Many of our older items, especially James' tropical shirts, have been used on some of my jackets.

      Friends with their own small businesses help me make each jacket special. 

      Nancy Monahan, Cut-it-out Crafts in Bothell, Washington, is the creative talent behind the themed embroidered patches that are affixed to some jackets. Nancy also helps create the rhinestone cutouts I use to place crystal designs on the jackets.  

      Aubrey Neher is the young artist who hand-paints beautiful designs on jackets. She's painted mermaids, plumerias, hibiscus, margarita's and more on back panels.

      Annie Uselton of Granbury, Texas sews colorful fabric panels into jackets, making them one of a kind. Annie also adds special touches to the jackets she works on - sewing reused buttons from the shirts or dresses.

      Debbie Jackman of Venice, FL is a long-time friend who also sews tropical fabric on my jackets. 

      Tish Carney, also a friend and business owner in Tampa FL embroiders cute patches for me.

      We all work together to make these one-of-a-kind jackets, which can now be found in wardrobe closets across the country - Texas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Florida and many more.

      When a jacket finds its new owner, no matter where, I always take a photo of the buyer's smiling face because this makes me happy too. And I know Nancy would be so proud.


      Feeling Optimistic about the Next Chapter

      Feeling Optimistic about the Next Chapter

      We had company for lunch this week! Our friend Sharon Morris and her sister Connie came to visit and we enjoyed being together in our backyard in beautiful Florida weather. We had not seen each other since December and Sharon opened up the cards and letters I had collected for her from many of you. She really appreciates the kind words and love sent her way. This special visit is a hint of our return to some kind of "normalcy" as we hopefully emerge from this dreadful pandemic and our long quarantine.

      We sheltered at home, only making necessary runs to the post office or grocery store, and of course wearing masks. We all know the loneliness, frustrations and challenges of this past year, what I like to call our "lost" year. Because we normally book James's schedule and our special events, 12 months out, it was difficult to look ahead, to plan.  

      Now I am feeling hopeful and excited about going out again, seeing our friends and hosting live music events - we have missed you!  Although I am fully vaccinated and James has received his first shot, I have to remind myself that we need to take baby steps because the pandemic is not over, the coronavirus is still out there. Unfortunately, there are virus variants showing up, causing worry for public health officials.

      Whatever your beliefs on covid, masking and the quarantine, it's a very serious matter to me. Covid has ravaged our hispanic community in South Texas. Several of our family members have gotten sick and recovered, but other families are not so lucky.  It is so encouraging to hear that many of you are now fully vaccinated, and at least here in Florida, things are picking up. Both James and I got calls today to accept vaccination appointments, which of course we didn't need.  Hopefully, someone else will take them.

      Sharon got her first vaccination shot today, which is great news. If you'd like to send her a card, please send to: P.O. Box 1535, Osprey, FL 34229

      We are looking ahead and making plans, something we haven't been able to do in a very long time.

      Stay safe and mask up!

      Warm Wishes from Sharon

      Warm Wishes from Sharon

      James, John Patti and I visited with our friend Sharon Morris and her sister Connie Morrell a few days ago, and we're happy to report that she is in good sprits and celebrating the holidays with family and friends, including Mojito her pup.

      Sharon wants to thank everyone who has sent cards and good wishes during this difficult time, your thoughtfulness is very much appreciated. She also wants us to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season. If you would like to send Sharon a card, please send it to me and I will make sure she gets it.

      Sharon Morris
      c/o Adela G. White
      P.O. Box 1535
      Osprey, FL 34229

      I wish you all the best this holiday season and thanks for your support during this covid time. Looking forward to seeing you again in person some time in 2021!

      Best Wishes