Category Archives: funeral

A Sentimental Scottish Tale

Standard

The Bagpiper

(in his own words, anonymously written)

As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently, I was asked by a funeral

director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had

no family nor friends, so the service was to be at a paupers’ cemetery.

This was in the hills and back country.

As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and being typical

man, didn’t stop for directions.

I finally arrived, an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently

gone. The hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only diggers and

a crew left. They were sitting under a tree eating lunch.

I felt badly and apologized for being late. I went to the side of the

grave and looked down. The vault lid was 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 my heart out. I gave it my best performance filled with my soul.

I’ve never played before for a homeless person, but my imagination gave

me a picture of this lost person, lonely and afraid.

As I played, “Amazing Grace,” for my final song, the workers shed a few

tears. We tend to be an emotional country, here in Scotland. Funerals are

serious business.

We were all weeping together.

When I finished, I packed up my bagpipes and started for the car.

Though my head hung down low, my heart was filled with joy.

As I opened the car door to my car, I overheard one of the older workers, who

may have been a little deaf. He was not whispering, but using a rather loud

voice. . .

“I’ve never seen nothing like that before and I’ve been putting septic tanks in

for twenty years.”

 

Our Identifying ‘Songs’

Standard

A West African tradition that fascinates me, is that when every

woman in their tribe of “Griots” is expecting a baby, they take

time to think and contemplate giving the baby, a ‘song.’ They go

off to meditate and come up with what they feel would be the

specific identifying chant or ‘song’ that will follow the upcoming

baby, throughout his or her life.

Have you ever heard of this tradition? I was so interested in this

and wished to share my source, the May, ’14 “Natural Awakenings”

magazine.  The article’s title is “Live  Your Song: Each of Us

Carries a Unique Inner Tune that Affirms Our True Nature.”

In this article, it explains that each person has a soul, in their

belief system. Each soul has a certain vibration that expresses its

unique and special purpose. It has a ‘flavor’ or ‘essence’ that can

be ‘heard.’

The baby’s birth is greeted by its song, giving it meaning and worth.

The times in the child’s life, where the song plays an important

part are when born, when getting ready to attend school, initiation

into adulthood and the time of marriage. The loving embrace of its

tune and melody is to keep the child feeling valuable and included.

If the child, young adult or grown adult should happen to break the

tribe’s rules or even worse, break a law, the tribe will circle the one

who has fallen away from them, chanting and singing their song.

The hope is that the community’s love will overwhelm the individual

and help them to find their way back to their original path. The final

time the Griot tribe, in West Africa, sings the special song is as family,

friends and the community gather at their bedside, helping them to

pass onto the next world, with the memory of their past life’s song.

I like the idea of a song, that our friends would know and recognize

it as ours. I would hope that we would always feel ‘in tune’ with our

family and friends. When we should ever wander away, move or

change our life’s direction, it would be so comforting to know that

our ‘song’ follows us, wherever we go.

Our ‘song’ would help lead us back home again, knowing the true

love, friendship and sense of belonging is waiting for us.

I had not realized that there are others, scientists and researchers,

who have studied this philosophy and practice of finding one’s ‘song.’

The persons considered “modern pioneers in vibrational energy,”

are Sharry Edwards (bio-acoustic biologist) and Donna Eden (energy

medicine field). They have independently detected that each of us has

a “fundamental signature frequency that can be equated to our unique

song that persists throughout our life.”

Some would say the ocean ‘calls to them,’ others would think that the

railroad train is their sound, with the thumping wheels along the track.

Natural songs can include birds. (That is my ‘song,’ not just because of

my name but the story about my Grandfather’s message sent through

the cardinal’s song).

The two women mentioned, Sharry and Donna, feel we innately seek

certain natural sounds that reinforce and strengthen our song.’

Other examples I read about were the sound of the surf, wind, rain or snow

falling. I could ‘hear,’ or imagine, someone’s ‘song’ in the trees shaking

from the breeze, the shivery feeling of the night sky filled with stars and

the moon. I think that some crave and need the sun’s warmth upon their

skin.

Your ‘song’ can be described as, “cell-to-cell vibrations” within ourselves.

We intuitively feel this these vibrations or rhythms as almost magical.

 

I found this sentence/quotation from the article to be meaningful:

“At one with the universe, our song contributes its part in the infinite

chorus of creation.”

 

(Quotations and research provided by Jill Mattson)

Please share if you feel you have a ‘song’ and let us know what really

‘moves’ you, intuitively.

 

Newsworthy Ties with Cleveland!

Standard

An Alternative Title for this Post:

“Two Films, New Life and a Funeral”

There was a photograph on the front of the Plain Dealer newspaper,

of a man’s funeral being held in Cleveland. It was for the founder of the

company Progressive Insurance, Peter Lewis.

Lewis passed away down in Coconut Grove, Florida and the services

and funeral were held up here in Ohio. He died on November 23, 2013,

a man who was a billionaire and had given over $500 million dollars to

numerous charities, the three main, renowned ones being Case Western

Reserve and Princeton Universities, along with the ACLU.

Peter Lewis was buried in a simple pine casket with his black Stetson on

top of it. He had waited until September, this year, to marry his longtime

lady friend and partner, during his later years who he loved dearly.  The

essence of this report of his death is to tell you that this Jewish man, Peter

Lewis, held high regards for the rights of people of all backgrounds in our

country. His proof was in his support for the agency that can either be

sneered upon or praised. He chose philanthropic projects that served and

added to peoples’ lives. He wanted workers’ rights to receive a lot of his

financial support, even at the “expense” of losing some of his valuable clients.

Mr. Peter Lewis’ memorial service was peppered with others who declared his

outspoken, kind and humorous nature, held at the Temple Tifereth Israel on

University Circle in Cleveland, Ohio.

Such praiseworthy descriptions for the deceased, were given, that anyone would

wish to be remembered in such a manner:

“A loving father” and an “ethical leader.” The family flying in the “Untouchables,”

a jazz band, who played and filled the air along the Cleveland streets during the

procession from the memorial service to the gravesite:

“When the Saints Go Marching In…”

There were a few people interviewed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer who said, Peter Lewis

had acted as “saint” in his 80 year lifetime.

Another photograph that caught my eye, was of Kevin Costner. Sorry, men! I

am sure that you know we, women, cannot resist his “charms!” Anyway, there

were a group of attractive people gathered in a local watering hole. The movie,

“Draft Day” will be released in April, 2014. It is a fun movie that any Cleveland

Browns’ fans will love and a story that is fictional. It is about the Browns having

a General Manager played by Kevin Costner, joined with the beautiful actress,

Jennifer Garner and witty Denis Leary. The Cleveland Brown alums will also

be exciting to view, with legends, Jim Brown and Bernie Kosar. The Lionsgate

movie was filmed around Greater Cleveland area. This will be all about the

NFL draft, coming out a month before the NY drafting process  begins.

In 1961, a Clevelander Langston Hughes wrote a play about an African American

celebration of Christ’s birth. He entitled his play, “Black Nativity.” I am proud

and excited that this play has been annually performed and celebrated around

the U.S. by varied groups but its origin from Cleveland’s poet, playwriter and

novelist is important to bring people up to date in that there is a movie being

shown now based on this play. “Black Nativity” has Forest Whitaker, Angela

Bassett, Jennifer Hudson and Mary J. Blige in the cast. It has been not well

received by critics, but will be worth seeing by the people I believe due to

the beautiful music and meaningful message. There is a teenager who has

been acting up in it, asks his grandmother this question. A line that is being

attributed to the original play goes like this:

“How do you keep your faith when so many bad things happen?”

Her wonderful and powerful, but so simple answer was,

“God’s grace is all around you.”

An exciting and happy news event occurred at the Cleveland Metroparks

Zoo: Announcing the rare birth of a Giant Anteater! It is their first to

be born here in Cleveland, in our Rainforest exhibit.

This occurred on Monday November 25, 2013. The “baby” is less than

2 pounds and is being closely guarded and protected by its mother.

The sex will be hard to determine for awhile. The proud mother, “Pica,”

will be having this baby clinging onto her, almost appearing like a

marsupial in its infant appearance. She is 13 years old.

Travis Vineyard, the zoo’s animal curator, tells a few facts about these

animals.

Anteaters are insectivores, or bug eaters. (Myrmecophaga tridactyla).

Hey, does that last word sound like a dinosaur? Well, they are one of

the oldest animals… The females can weigh as much as 80 lbs.,

while the males can weigh as much as 100 lbs. Their origin is from

South or Central America.

Another interesting fact that I learned about the reason why these are

challenging creatures to take care of, they have a slurry or flurry or

slushy concoction that appears as a milkshake made of tiny pellets and bugs.

The zoo now does not have to blend this up on the premises, but a company

out there produces these and sells them.

So, there are always things happening in Cleveland and I was happy to give

you a few ‘ties that bind’ me to this place on Lake Erie, Ohio!