Nobody was as surprised as myself. I’d been at a wedding reception that day and came home late enough. I knew that Ed was playing his second concert in Croke Park and the reviews of the first concert were, without exception, positive. I knew that some people from the parish had gone to see him and the feedback was good.
I found myself in a long line of people. Again, I was surprised. I was there but not sure how I got there. I had thought about what a positive influence Ed had been in the lives of 160000 plus people over two nights. Though I used to like Garth Brooks, I couldn’t help but think there was more sincerity in Ed. I wondered was he Catholic (couldn’t answer that until just a few minutes ago when I Googled and discovered his roots are Catholic, that he sang in a choir but that he doesn’t discuss religion or politics in public – probably a good call). My wondering I think was found somewhere in the wedding reception I’d been at. I sat at a table with a good priest friend (some twenty years older than myself) and he commented that the group at the table with us was “very young”. I jokingly said I knew that and that I felt very old, then the killer line “I can’t imagine what it must feel like for you!” We both laughed but knew somewhere there was a truth in it. I think that’s what put Ed in my mind. I thought if he ever decided to become a priest what an influence for good he’d be or failing that, if he spoke in a positive way about how much the Faith meant to him, again, the potential for a lasting impact made for …. well at least, a consoling prospect.
As I stood in line, I realised Ed was moving along the line. He was meeting fans, taking part in “selfies” or, as I’m now told if more than one person is featured “us-ies” and sharing the enthusiasm of all gathered. I felt a bit out of place but figured it must be intended I’d be there just at that moment. I wondered what I’d say to him. To be honest, I don’t know his songs very well but heard him sing “The West Coast of Clare” on the South Wind Blows (Radio 1) earlier in the evening and I knew he did a mean version of “The Parting Glass”. Maybe I’d get away with mentioning them but somewhere I thought I should use the moment better.
I decided to tell him I’m a priest and that I’d love to think he might use his gift and his presence to so many to encourage people to seek lasting values, to enjoy life, its music and opportunities. Of course I knew I’d not have much time but maybe that would be enough. Chances are he’d just move on but maybe, just maybe, he might think sometime about what that man said to me and think “do you know what, he”s not wrong”!! I didn’t expect him to change his personality or become “born again” or anything but that he might, from time to time, give favourable mention to something so important.
He was just a few people away from me. I feared it might be too much to say but figured I was in this line-up for a reason. I had no idea how I got there ……
Ed was an arm’s length and handshake away. There was a noise somewhere that didn’t have it’s place in this moment but I had to see what it was. I have no idea but
I woke up and, there was only darkness in my bedroom, the clock said it was around 4am!! My mind went to 10am Mass and I wondered if I’d tell them about this but decided against!!
So Ed, or any friend of Ed’s out there …. maybe we’ll have a chance sometime to have this conversation but in the meantime, keep singing, visiting your grandmother and rejoicing in the fact you have a good family!!
I’m sorry we didn’t get to meet.