Book Picture Hot House Flowers and Liam O’Maonlaí

In 1993 we boarded a plane for Shannon Ireland. I was across the isle from Patricia and pretty comfortable since the seat to my left was open. I was thinking that I may have lucked out when four really ragged looking passengers came down the isle carrying all sorts of instruments. A whiff of sweat penetrated my personal space as the first three went to the next row passed me. He introduced himself as Liam O’Maonlaí of the Hot House Flowers. He needed help putting his didgeridoo in the over head luggage compartment. I helped Liam put it overhead because I didn't want this person to break my fishing rod. A didgeridoo a long aboriginal musical pipe - about four feet long and about four inches around. I've seen them on TV. They make a low Brummmm, Brummmm sound that is repeated over and over and in effect causes a trace like feeling if you listen for a long time. I asked if he'd picked up his pipe in Australia. I think he was impressed that I knew what it was. It had animals and symbols carved all the way down, crocodiles Kangaroos and other non-descript markings. (Not much risk in my observation!)

The night was long and I was very tired without sleep for the past two days but intrigued I spent the long night hours chatting it up with Liam O’Maonlaí - drummer, song writer and lead singer for The Hot House Flowers Band. How was I supposed to know it was one of Ireland's hottest bands?

An Ennistymon (pronounced En nis TIE' mon) craft shop sales woman straightened me out and was very curious to see the drawing of a poisonous tree frog he drew, signed and gave to me. She wanted to give me the equivalent of $50 for it but I kept it as a souvenir.

I wonder what he thought when I gave him a picture in color (from a flight magazine) of two New Guinea green tree frogs. Do they have any reptiles in Ireland? No snakes but what about frogs? Or later when I told him I would treasure his drawing - he must have thought I figured out who he and his friends were; in fact I had not. I felt embarrassed later recalling our talk.

I told him that I tried to buy art and music from struggling artists and musicians as a way of helping them. I told him - and this is the embarrassing part - that if I found his music I'd be happy to purchase some. He said I'd probably be running into him somewhere in Ireland, perhaps in one of the pubs. I asked him which pubs might have good traditional Irish music. He listed Tigh Neachtain (pronounced Tie Knock Turn), Munroes, and Rosheen D'uo. Munroes had changed their name but they were all still there in Galway. Liam drew a picture of the frogs I gave him and the result was terrific. He gave that to the Italian girl sitting on his other side. He looked like a hippie with a turned down cowboy hat, long reddish hair, sandal with dirty feet and a leather vest of the early western period - no shirt. He said he was sorry for the dress but they had spent all night playing a gig in Santa Monica and just barely made the plane. Was that a pun?

He was a very gentle person, a vegetarian, environmentally very conscious, spoke with a low voice, but with firm beliefs. On a couple of occasions I playfully tried to test his convictions on the environment and I could see he would be upset if I pursued it too far.

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