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"Margaritaville" North of the 49th Parallel

It is with heavy heart that I learned just this morning of the passing early yesterday of long time Coral Reefer Ralph MacDonald. I will not recap his long musical career, you can do that easily enough by going to his own website, Wikipedia or Margaritaville.com.

What I want to tell you all is how I remember my one meeting with the great man himself, a little over a year ago November in Las Vegas when Dolores and I were lucky enough to attend the backstage pre-concert Meet and Greet. All of the Coral Reefers were there, except Jimmy, who took a pass on attending but it sure was nice to have speak to them all, one on one and pose for pictures. Peter Mayer very graciously remembered and was saddened by the loss of Mojo Joey Montagnese. Very touching.

But the One Great Thrill for me was when I spoke to Ralph himself, shook his hand and told him what an honour it was meeting him. I said when the band performs it is him I focus on the most, and that he always made it look easy, always relaxed. He asked where we were from and I told him Toronto, whereupon he remarked he'd started his career playing for Harry Belefonte at the O'Keefe Centre, and always had fond memories of his time spent there. I asked how old he was then, he replied "16"  Wow!  I told him that when he was ready to retire I expect him to call me up and offer me his old job. Then I asked for any advice. He answered. "Have Fun!"

I said that one bucket list wish I had was to have a personal lesson from him. Guess that'll happen at some later date, maybe, if wishes are granted where I'm going!

Sail on, Ralph. We will miss you.

Pirate Norm Marshall

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