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As an old ballplayer, when the back pain attacked, he figured he would just play through it.

“I took four Advil, drank a huge cocktail and usually I’d polish that off with a bottle of wine to kill the pain,” he said of his nightly regimen.

But one afternoon he fell asleep, hard, on the deck, waking up only because it was dinner time for his dog, Buddy. Stubborn as his master, Buddy nudged and licked Flannery until he came to. If not for that, Flannery said, he thinks he would have died right there. Instead, the two somehow drove to his San Diego-area home, where Tim collapsed and was taken away by paramedics.

As he was recovering in early 2021, Susan Walker phoned one day. Her husband, Jerry Jeff, had died from cancer in October, and she invited Flannery to perform at a celebration of life in Luckenbach, Texas, that June. At the time, he couldn’t even sit up to play his guitar, but he was determined to make it.

The memorial concert was Flannery’s first gig after regaining his health, and both of the men Flannery felt had visited him in the hospital, in spirit only, played a part. Weir, who was scheduled to be in Luckenbach before travel issues kept him away, phoned just before Flannery went onstage. And Buffett, who died this month, was there in person.

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