Music of the Soul

By Bobbie Buffkin

“Is there anything you want to ask me?” he said. I replied “No, I don’t think so.” I couldn’t imagine what he was referring to by asking me that question! We had only known each other a few days. Some girlfriends and I had driven up to North Myrtle Beach from Florida for SOS, Fall Migration. If you’re not familiar with SOS (Society of Stranders), let me tell you it is the biggest party on the East Coast for all of us who love Beach Music and Shag dancing. One of my girlfriends, who is a DJ in Florida, introduced me to him. She said, “Bobbie, this is a DJ friend of mine, Jimmy Buffkin.” Of course, I reacted like everyone else seems to…I said, “Oh my, Jimmy Buffett?” He laughed and explained that is usually the reaction he gets from everyone about his name.

My friends and I were only here for a few days, and we had fun hanging around with Jimmy and another one of his DJ friends. Jimmy and I found that we had a lot in common; we were even born on the same day!

When I returned to my home in Florida, the phone line was kept hot between Florida and South Carolina by me and Jimmy! “So I was wondering,” he said one evening. “When you were up here, did you notice anything unusual about my eyesight?” I realized that is what he was referring to when he had asked me if there was anything I wanted to ask him! “Well, I’m not sure,” I said. I knew he wore glasses which did seem to be a strong prescription. “Well, I’m legally blind, and I want you to know that before we make any decisions about our relationship.” Jimmy said. “This means that I cannot drive.” What do you think my reply was? “Well, that’s not a problem, because I can drive!” I said. Two years later, we were married on our shared birth date, March 2nd!This little bit of history about me and Jimmy leads to an amazing story about Jimmy’s DJ career and the music of his soul….he can play all genres of music from beach music, top 40, country and more. Jimmy’s DJ business is well known in this area and his favorite place to DJ is at the leading beach club on the East Coast, Fat Harold’s Beach Club in North Myrtle Beach.

“How do you do it?” I had observed him at his computer while playing at other venues, and I knew he could not really see the screen or keys that well. “I memorize the keys,” he said. “Every song I put into my computer, I put in capital letters, and that helps me see the titles on the screen. I memorize the songs as well, and that way I know where to find them.”

A lot of DJ’s make “playlists” of their top songs, so that when they are ready to play, all they have to do is bring up this list and hit play. They can juggle the songs around if they want, but basically, the work is done before they even start to play. Jimmy’s limited vision prevents him from doing this, so he walks into the club with no playlist and, as he often says, “flying by the seat of his pants.” He may not always want to admit it, but this works in his favor. He can fine tune his selected songs to the particular crowd he has on the dance floor by “picking” a song instead of just playing from a list.

“I don’t have a clue what I am going to play tonight,” Jimmy says as he gets ready to head out to the club. “Well, I would be worried about you if you did!” I reply. He laughs and knows in his heart it will be a good night!

Jimmy’s sense of what needs to be played to make it a successful night is amazing. It seems that his lack of good vision gets compensated by his senses of hearing and feeling kicking in at a higher level than it does for the rest of us. He may not be able to always see who is at the club or on the dance floor, but the level of excitement and the energy in the voices he hears tells him what to play to keep the crowd happy – and the dance floor full! “I really like people coming up to the booth to say hello and request a song they would like to hear. I know they are at the club to have fun, and it helps me know what to play.” Jimmy says.

“There is a song I love, but I don’t know the name of it, or the artist,” the dancer tells Jimmy. Generally, they will tell him a few words that are in the song. Jimmy will think for a few minutes and come up with the name of the song! “Oh, thank you so much. I knew you would know!” the dancer will say – thus, Jimmy’s reputation for being “the DJ who has the answer!” His knowledge of the names of songs, the artists and even the year it was recorded is amazing!

Those of us who do not live with a handicap can only imagine how difficult it must be. The admiration I have for my husband is limitless. He never complains even though I know there are times he would love to be able to see what I see. He would love to be able to drive me somewhere instead of the other way around. But, Jimmy was given a wonderful talent to be able to engage a crowd on the dance floor and give them a wonderful time for a few hours where they forget their troubles! The locals look forward to coming back the next week to do it all over again. The weekenders and tourists look forward to going into Fat Harold’s Beach Club for a fun time of dancing when they return to the beach! For Jimmy, these times renew his love for the music and it rekindles his soul. And, yes, I am one of those dancers on the floor every time he plays.

So, if you’re in the club, and you see the name “Jammin’ Jimmy” up by the DJ booth, be sure to go over and say “hi” to him! He may not be able to pick you out in a crowd, but he will remember you forever!

About this writer

  • Bobbie BuffkinBobbie Buffkin is retired from the medical field and spent many years as a clinical supervisor for a large Cardiology group in Florida. Her public speaking on the subject of Organ Donation in both Florida and South Carolina has been extremely rewarding, along with media interviews and writing articles of strength and hope. Bobbie and her husband reside in North Myrtle Beach. 

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2 Responses to “Music of the Soul”

  1. Pat Cannon says:

    Never get tired of this love story!!! One day I will meet my knight n shining armor just as my beach sista did. Love these two so much..they are my heroes.

  2. Linda O'Connell says:

    Your story was so heartwarming and touched me deeply. Thanks for sharing.

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