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A Lasting Impression

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from Tricia and Bill Ralph

I met Paul for the first time last February when he came to Appleton, Wisconsin to play with The Irish Rovers. Paul and I were second cousins but I grew up in Ireland and he in Canada so we never got to meet. I had heard a lot about him though, through the family grapevine (news about successful family members travels even faster than news about the not so successful ones!) and when Mom said he was coming to town I told her to give him our number.

To be honest, I had forgotten about him coming until we got a call from him. He was staying not five minutes from us so I picked him up and brought him over to our house. From the moment we met him my husband Bill and I liked him. He was just a genuinely nice guy. I have four kids so my days of staying up chatting until three in the morning ended years ago (especially on a school night!) but somehow the time didn't matter that night. Paul, Bill and I sat in the basement talking and laughing for hours. He joked about how we finally got to meet in Appleton, Wisconsin of all places. He offered us tickets to see the show the next night and agreed to come over again.

The show was awesome. He was such a wonderful musician. You could tell how much he loved to play the drums and how much music meant to him. I was so proud to be related to him....and somehow his talent made my rendition of Chopsticks on the piano sound better! He came back home with us and another night of chatting, laughing and of course a few beers followed. We put on Conan O'Brien because Paul thought he was hysterical. Now I find myself watching and laughing and waiting for the leprechaun skit that Paul acted out for us! Paul talked about how much he loved his family and friends, about growing up, about how he may not have ever realized how much he loved music if his family hadn't moved to Canada and he hadn't started playing the drums, about his job, his huge birthday parties and so much more. We were sorry to have to say goodbye but he planned on calling when he came back to town.

The one thing Bill and I commented on when he left was that he was the first person we had ever met who seemed truly content with his life. He wasn't worried about the stupid stuff that bogs us all down on a daily basis. He knew what was important and anything else would take care of itself. Bill and I feel very lucky to have met Paul. We only got to share a few hours with him but he left a lasting impression. I know he is keeping an eye on what is going on down here. Continue to sing, dance and party in his honor, I am sure it is making him smile.

Tricia and Bill Ralph, Appleton, WI

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