As a bagpiper, I play many gigs.. Recently I was asked by a funeral
director to play at a grave side service for a homeless man. He had no
family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in
the Kentucky back-country.
As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost being a typical
man I didn’t stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late and
saw that the
funeral director had evidently left and the hearse was nowhere in sight.
There were only the diggers and crew left, and they were eating lunch.
I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the
side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in
place. I didn’t
know what else to do, so I started to play.
The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I
played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends.
I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man. And as I
played ‘Amazing Grace,’ the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept,
and we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and
started for my car. Though my head hung low my heart was full.
As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, “I’ll
tell you what, I never seen nothin’ like that before, and I’ve been
putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”
-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence