The night before I left Los Angeles, I got to hang out with my son Rory and my son in law Bill. But before we went out there was another photo op – this time with my ex wife Sarah, my daughter and the new grandson, Henry Arthur. The emotions were starting to well up in me.
We headed over to the Idle Hour, a bar shaped like a two story beer barrel, to ‘wet the baby’s head’ – celebrate the baby’s birth. I treated the guys to their first shots of Pappy Van Winkle’s, a rare, legendary bourbon. Two new pappys – Bill and me, grandpappy. The jokes were flying and the craic (Irish for fun, conversation) was ninety (for some reason that’s the highest the craic can get.) But I could feel the sadness growing. It had been a year since I’d seen my son Rory, when…?
Despite my tough, macho biker image (a joke), I couldn’t stop the tears as I rode off. So much newness, so many transitions, and now, what would the future bring? A few lines from the poet Rilke came to me and I looked up the lines later. …Our sadnesses … are the moments when something new has entered into us, something unknown; our feelings grow mute in shy perplexity, everything in us withdraws, a stillness comes, and the new, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it and is silent.
The day little Henry was born, I went that evening to one of my favorite pubs, Timmy Nolans, to ‘Wet the Baby’s Head’. Wetting the Baby’s Head is a tradition in Ireland and the UK. It simply involves going to a pub and having a drink to celebrate a baby’s arrival (Just like when the baby’s head is wettened during a Christian Baptism). At Timmy Nolan’s I ran into Don and Janet who remembered me from my visit here last Christmas. Not because I’m that memorable but because I resembled a friend of theirs back in Indiana. Another man, Bryan, joined us, and we raised a toast to Henry Arthur! One other night at Nolans, they had their usual weekly Irish music session. A session is an informal gathering of musicians – often anyone can join – where one starts a tune, a jig or reel and if you know it, you join in. That night there was a flute player, tin whistle, guitar, bodhran (drum), and a fiddle. I fell in love with the fiddle player. Not because she was especially beautiful, but instead for her playing on the fiddle. She had the lonesome touch.
(My last girlfriend told me I had the loathsome touch but that’s for another blog. Uh, maybe not.)
It took a few days for the Harley folks in Glendale to track down the electrical problems with Big Red. She ended up with pretty much everything new in the charging/recharging system. Meanwhile, I experienced the joys of Lyft. I had drivers from the USA, Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba, Poland, and Mexico. I love to listen to people’s stories, so it was a treat for me. I got to talk with an actor from Poland about my week in Kutno, Poland coaching a little league team from Ireland.
My oldest son Rory came to town on business. I hadn’t seen him in over a year because he lives in London. I hugged him for what seemed like forever. Love can sometimes be measured in the light-years of an embrace. An immensely talented, modest young man (This Paranormal Life -British Podcast of the Year 2019 awards, RKG -Patreon/Twitter, Team RKT.) who takes after his mother. I was now with my daughter, my first son and little Henry, my first grandchild. It was all a bit much for me. I leave in two days.