The first time the Folk Choir traveled from the campus of Notre Dame, on their maiden pilgrimage, the journey was not to some ordinary destination. Sure, we could have taken baby steps and traveled to Pittsburgh, or even Chicago, or somewhere reasonable within a days' drive of South Bend.
Nope. We traveled to Ireland instead.
A pretty entertaining thing happened in the early part of that first journey. After a couple of days on Irish soil, friends of ours from campus, Jim Lies and Cate O'Hare, happened upon our crazy band of liturgical singers. Being at least as crazy as us, if not more, they decided to make our itinerary their own.
Now, what do you call a gaggle of people who follow a bunch of musicians from place to place? Back in the 80's, the model for such epic, absurd behavior was those dedicated fans who took up with the Grateful Dead – becoming, in the annals of musical folklore, the "Deadheads".
Now Jim and Cate are pretty inventive people, and it didn't take long – maybe just a half pint of Guinness – to name themselves.
Thus became the first "Folkheads," a term they can lay claim to, with understandable honors, for the rest of their lives.
Yesterday, the honor was ours as we had the chance to join Jim Lies, c.s.c., for a very long and delightful lunch in the shadow of the Sant'Egidio community, close to the Piazza of Santa Maria di Trastevere.
Good, dear friends always seem to be able to pick up where they left off, no matter what kind of time has elapsed or how little correspondence has taken place in the intervening months or years. It was a joy to be in his company, to reminisce about the choir he had taken up with more than twenty years ago, and to look forward, in awe, to what might come next.
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