Kevin Hilligoss, Co-PHounder
Parrot Heads of the Riverbend
My parents took me on their vacation to Biloxi, MS when I was three years old and I was able to put my feet in the sand and then into the Gulf of Mexico and I have been a beach bum ever since.
John F. Kennedy has a great quote about the Sea and its meaning to some and should be to others. The quote is this, “I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it’s because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it’s because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.”
Fast forward to 1977 when a guy by the name of Jimmy Buffett put out a song called, “Margaritaville”. I didn’t know what a Margarita was, but I knew I liked the beach vibe it had and the beach mentality and the Island of Margaritaville is where I have lived ever since. The first Jimmy Buffett concert I attended was June 1994 with a bunch of friends on a party bus which resembled a huge pumpkin on wheels. This trip was my introduction to tailgating at a Jimmy Buffett show. Not only were you with close friends, but 40,000 more friends were there to greet you as you came off the bus. As a typical Jimmy show goes it was a drizzling rain for a few hours and then the sun came out at showtime. What struck me most about that day is how friendly and giving my new 40,000 friends were. That day I officially became a Parrot Head. Since then I have seen at least one Jimmy show a year if not two, three, or four a year. The show is just as good as the last, but for me, it’s the friends that you meet and the memories which are made along the travels. In December of 1999, I flew to LA for a New Years Eve show to ring in Y2K. This is when the world was going to blow up, computers were going to crash because they were not able to roll past 99, and because the Mayan Calendar said, “your time is up”. So, in my thinking, if the world was going to end at Midnight I was going to be with 50,000 of my closest friends at a Jimmy Buffett show. Needless to say, I am writing this and you are reading this, so the Mayans were wrong and Nostradamus is chuckling. This makes us all multi survivors of many ends of the world. Congratulations and Cheers.
A little over six years ago I was working behind the bar, hard to believe I know, when I waited on two couples and we talked about beer, Grafton, and of all things, Jimmy Buffett. We talked about shows, experiences, venues, friends, and lack of activities for Parrot Heads in the Riverbend area. We talked for a few hours that night about what it would take to start a club because I had looked into it on occasion and so had they, but as most dreams go they were set aside for the time being. We exchanged numbers and said lets talk again about forming a Parrot Head Club. The person introduced herself as Debbie Penning Delassus and introduced myself as Jake and not Jake from State Farm. A few months later I ran into Debbie at Fast Eddies and we spoke again about details because she had done some homework and so had I. That night was the beginning stages of the Parrot Heads of the Riverbend. We both wanted to help causes in the local area by bringing the caring character of Parrot Heads which help in their local communities with the War Cry of “Partying with a Purpose”. We both spread the word about an informal meeting about starting the club and that night in Grafton we had a great turnout by other Parrot Heads which wanted to be part of the club. Parrot Heads of the Riverbend was born.
The Four major pillars from the foundation of the club are Senior Citizens, Children, Pets, and our Military. Many other projects have spun off of our philosophy which is blood drives, highway cleanup, supporting community enhancement, Bucket Brigade, parades, and etc. I am proud of the Club and what it represents. I am proud of the members who unselfishly give their time and support to the Club and our efforts in making this world a little bit better than the way we found it. The total dollars which have been raised by the club for different organizations and the time we have devoted is unimportant. What is important is that we have a group of people which care about their fellow man, their well being, and their environment and all while living their life like a song. Thank you for being a part of it. Cheers my friends.
Kevin Hilligoss aka Tapper MD