A friend asked me recently about growing up on the Island.
'Did you have a happy childhood? Did it bother you growing up where you did?'
I never really thought about whether my growing up where I did, or whether I was happy or not as a child influenced the man I am today.
It was a rough place most of the time, but looking back, it never struck me that any place else was different to where I was.
It may have been bleak in Limerick in the 1960's, but I was a child and knew no better. I'm sure I was happy most of the time.
The same friend asked me if I was proud that I was from the Island.
He may as well have been asking me if I was proud to be bald, or blue-eyed, or tall.
I had no choice in any of these matters, I was born into circumstances I had no control over. Born to live the start of my life where my parents lived.
I inherited male pattern baldness, and blue eyes, from my parents.
And the fondness for music.
And morals, and right from wrong.
Forgive me for my rambling, sometimes I just tap out what comes into me head!
I met an old friend today in the supermarket. Her husband, a fellow musician, who taught me a lot, died a few months back. She still can't believe he's gone. But she struggles on, and looks forward to each new day, 'cos she says that her husband loved each extra day he got. She lives each and every day not only for herself but for him too.
We've had another young man take his life in our community this past few days. It breaks my heart to see young people in so much pain that they give up on life. But I see so many of our young folk who struggle with this world and yet take on the challenge with vigour that it brightens the face of this old fella! We need to watch and care for our teenagers and young adults.