February 05, 2012
Music Eve 1, Between, ME Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 6
In the brief space between the evening’s performers, two of us – alone – felt the need to share. Starting with a smile and a common love of music makes mingling easier, especially in between rows. No matter how brief the space between, it becomes an awkward stretch of recognition as others realize you are obviously one. One row ahead, two chairs left, a solo, tweedy gentleman makes a slight right turn in his seat. His smile earns a smile in return, and a filler conversation begins. “Lovely night, isn’t it?” he asks. “Absolutely,” I reply, “Couldn’t ask for a better one so far.” My accent immediately gives me away, and we chat about America and Michigan and an oversimplified version of how I came to be here… a friend and an invitation. And I leave it at that.
The second set begins, and I can’t help but observe his observation; a fan enjoying a fan enjoying the show. The next interlude turns him around in his seat. There is more milling about, and conversation going on around us this time as folks head for the restroom and the merchandise tables. It’s a loud and a little difficult to hear his soft-spoken lilt of a voice, so I tuck my leg up under my opposite knee to get comfortable leaning forward. My new friend introduces himself as “Oilwyn” pronounced “Owen”. He tells me he drove an hour and a bit from outside Dublin for the evening He’s alone tonight because tomorrow is a work day, but he’ll be back along tomorrow evening with a special friend. I gather he means a lady friend as he goes on to explain about wanting to make sure he knew the way and had a plan.
The third set begins and I’m lost in my own thoughts, a bit outside the ballroom. I think about how sweetly nervous he seems about his upcoming role of escort. A little throwback to traditionalism, although for him, I’m sure it’s not a throwback, at all. He’s looking for a second chance, a second time around, and I reiterate to myself a thought I’ve shared before. Maybe in another twenty years, when I am Oilwnyn’s age, and my generation begins to lose spouses, maybe then, I’ll have a chance.
The house lights come up, and Oilwyn tells me it’s a long drive back, late at night to Dublin. He fancies a cup of coffee at the Arms lounge and would I care to join him? I do, it’ll be a while before the ballroom clears and the famous festival after-sessions begin. I learn he’s worked in concrete his whole life, plans to retire soon and has two sons abroad. He raises sheepdogs in his spare time and has a small flock for hobby and local wool sales. We finish our coffee and head out toward the lobby planning to say good night there I’m sure. George Harper however, is headed in. We greet each other as familiar-face acquaintances and I see Oilwyn’s eyes light up in recognition. I introduce the pair and ask George if he wouldn’t mind a picture. He obliges without hesitation and the two place their balded heads together as George quips about the possible glare of the photo flash. Oilwyn doesn’t have an email for me to send the picture to, but his “friend” does and we plan to meet up again tomorrow night so I can get the address.
I leave him at the door with a wave and wander back through the crowding lobby as musicians and fans grab couches and chairs and the tuning of various instruments begin. I head toward the green room and meet up with the office ladies, and a few others from the previous evening. We take a peek in, decide it’s too crowded at the moment and find our way to the outside “café” smoking area. Under umbrellas and a light misty rain, we begin to talk…
Posted by jaselin at February 5, 2012 11:33 AM