The Pipes Are Calling

Posted on April 4, 2015 under Storytelling with no comments yet

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A mournful dirge on the pipes

( Please note: this is NOT an original story. I have not been able to trace its roots. It was given to me by a friend and was asked  to put my own spin on it. )



“Yeah when I get where I’m going Don’t cry for me down here.”

When I Get Where I’m Going – Brad Paisley

In this part of the world, when a loved one passes away, it is an accepted practice to have music at the funeral.  Sometimes it is the magnificent sounds of a church choir accompanied by an organ.  You will often see members of the extended family of the deceased perform some old favorites, with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and beautiful harmonies.  Chamber music or the comforting strains of a violin or fiddle may bring comfort to the bereaved.   And, if your ancestors came from across the pond, a haunting lament played by a solitary piper is quite common.

Performing at a committal ceremony is another matter.

Recently Danny, a bagpiper, was asked to play at a graveside service for a homeless man.  This poor soul had no family or friends and was to be buried in a rural cemetery deep in the back woods of Nova Scotia.  The bagpiper was a good natured person and quickly agreed to give this person a rousing send off.  Despite his considerable musical talents, the piper was known to have a poor sense of direction.  On the appointed day he found himself driving aimlessly in search of the service.

He arrived an hour late to what seemed to be a new part of the graveyard.  The hearse was long gone, as what must have been a small group of pallbearers and mourners.  The only people remaining were the grave diggers, and they appeared to be on a lunch break.  He walked up to them and apologized profusely for his tardiness.  He went to the side of the grave and looked down.  The vault lid was already in place.  He didn’t know what else to do so he started to play.

And play he did.  He played his heart out for this poor soul who had no family or friends.  He played like he had never played before, so touched was he with the sadness of the situation.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around.  As the piper played Amazing Grace, tears were observed spilling down the cheeks of the workers.  When the piper finally stopped, he too shed a tear.  He took comfort in knowing that the deceased had been given a send-off fit for royalty.

Danny packed up his pipes and made his way to his vehicle.  He felt a sense of inner peace, having completed this small but important task.

Just as he was opening his door, he heard what sounded an awful lot like laughter coming from the gravesite.  It seemed somewhat disrespectful after the emotional outpouring of a few minutes earlier. He cocked his ear and overheard one of the workers say, “I have never seen anything like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”

The chagrined piper drove off down the dusty road.  He flicked on a local radio station that plays traditional music.  The tune they were playing was familiar.

“Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling …” He wondered if the lyrics had been written by a plumber.

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