Friday, June 22, 2012
50 years is a major milestone and cause for celebration. Kevin Hing had me do a sketch of him and his dad at the traditional Irish music session at Claddagh Irish Pub (4308 Curry Ford Road). Since I needed to scan the sketch before I gave it to him, he suggested I drive out for his 50th birthday celebration in Clearwater which is just south of Tampa. This was a chance to see how my Toyota Prius performed on a longer road trip. This was a chance to stretch out her legs on the open road. I drove for an hour or so in the quiet cabin towards the setting sun. A draw bridge raised leaving me waiting for some time to get on the island.
The home was right on the Inter coastal waterway. There was a very diverse crowd. There were conservative politicians out by the pool and plenty of musicians mingling in the kitchen. Vicki Gish and Scott Vocca thanked me for the print I had given them. They had it framed and it went on the wall for the first time that morning. I arrived a bit late because of the drive, but my timing was perfect because the food had just been put out. There was plenty of BBQ and I loaded my plate. I got a soda from outside, but when the Irish music started, I switched to the thick rich Guinness beer. Kevin thanked everyone for coming. He was happy to share this island paradise with so many of his friends. He got a bit choked up as he spoke about how lucky he was and people filled the silence with applause.
Irish musicians from all over the state of Florida came to Kevin's birthday celebration. Besides the Orlando Klan, there were musicians from Tampa and Clearwater. As they started to play, the sun dipped below the horizon and the sky burned orange. I sipped my Guinness between reels. As the evening grew darker so did my sketch. I'm half Irish on my mother's side. Her grand parents came from Corr Ireland and the music seems to be in my blood. When my sketch was done, I packed up my supplies. I have never stayed to the bitter end of a traditional music session. They must play very late into the night. Kevin confided, "Sometimes it's hard to tell if your playing really well or if you've just had too much to drink." My sketch seemed to take form without effort, then again I might have had too much Guinness.