Have you ever met someone and know that it was not the first time you have met them? Or have you ever met someone and described them as being a new soul, or an old soul? Like somehow you know that they have been around the block lifetimes more than other people? Or they are just out the gate in this thing we call life?
This was what it was like meeting Ken.
From the moment we sat down at the bar and my sister introduced us, I felt like I was sitting with my long lost best friend. We laughed and drank, good craic, till bar close. Then we went back to their hotel (the band and crew) and stayed up till 6 in the morning drinking and laughing and wondering how it was that we felt like we had know each other FOR-EVER. They left a mere few hours later for Australia. Gone, poof. In and out like a flash.
Driving away that morning I felt like a piece of me had 1) woken up after a long winters slumber 2) I had laughed like never before 3) come home. Like a piece of me was revealed in spending time with people who felt like my tribe. It was more than the accents and the language, it was like I was with my family, he/they – got me.
So, this was back in the early days of email (for me, I realize some of you who are reading this have been on email since the computer was invented). I had JUST opened up my first email account, and so we exchanged email and I gave him my phone number. For the next 6 months or so we exchanged email, and I think I played the soundtrack to the show about ohhhhh…. 8,000 times. I had never had such a visceral reaction to music before.
Well, little did I know, there was a whole world of traditional Irish music, new age-y Clannad and Altan and Enya, and Mary Black and so many others for me to explore. And so it went. Music, music was my first knowing and loving of Ireland. It came, showed up, and then like many things drifted into my background again, but still very much there. The emails became further and futher apart, and then stopped without fanfare. You know, la la la la life goes on. It would not be for another year and a half or so that I would have another spark, another jolt.
Unassuming, the phone rang. My sister, my partner at the time and I were in the kitchen, making dinner and it rang. I grabbed it and on the other line (I can still remember this, as if it happened yesterday, which is strange considering I almost never remember anything with such clarity) was a voice saying "Ahh, halo? Is Rachel home?" I said that it was me, and he said "Heeeyyyyy, this is Ken, from Ireland, Riverdance, how are ye?"
Snapshot of my innerds from that moment may have looked like what the big bang or hiroshima or something spectacular looked like. He was calling to let me know he would be in town next week, for a few weeks. He wondered if I would meet him for a drink when he got there.