Category Archives: mistaken

A Sentimental Scottish Tale

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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.”

 

A Dip into Serendipity

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A journey that once had begun, had gotten swept

under the table. The story had included exciting

beginnings and abrupt endings. It could have been

a nice, safe trip along smooth railroad tracks in

a predictable direction. Instead it had been quite

dramatic.

The way it all began was discussed, along with

where it had become derailed. It seemed suddenly

urgent to get the passengers united to head into

the future, reconnecting ties that had been torn

and broken.

Seemingly impossible reasons, years ago, to ever

be healed, were forgotten and forgiven.

Ice cream was delicious at Graeter’s in Upper

Arlington, Ohio last night. The ice cream place

is a franchise started in Bexley, Ohio, in 1870.

The relationship had started in 1980, between four

close friends, two couples who were into natural

foods, a Lancaster co-op and a business together.

From friendship, sharing stories, then traveling

a long and winding path that took both couples in

different directions.

From the traditional beginning, which had led

into separated, fractured lives, arose a child.

It was an unplanned and unexpected event. It

would leave a lasting, hurtful impact on all,

from 1985 until 2014.

The strange story would include heartbreak and

some moments of crying. The redemption, found on

3/21/14, would heal most of the wounds.

Who would have thought the woman with the ‘white

picket fence’ background would have held such a

wild story behind her outwardly quiet demeanor?

The serendipity was the ties that brought someone

from a far distance, of St. Louis, Missouri, back

to Ohio. The trip originally had nothing to do

with the woman nor her golden child.

A letter, sent out like a beacon, had been mailed

over cyber-space. Previously sent, hand written

letters, over the years, had been met with

silence.

No answers.

A coincidental trip to a gravesite in Cincinnati,

was fortuitous for the people to be reconnected.

Death had been over a few years ago, it was in

the memory of that loved one, the journey had

been made back to Ohio.

Tears of happiness flowed. Sweet memories of a

happier time embraced the four people sitting

across from each other.

Stories of the past, including similar family

histories of international immigration; one

generation ago for the father and two generations

for the mother. Unknowingly, both parties had

heritage from Germany. This shared lineage filled

the minds of the people with wonder. Over twenty

or more years ago, they had not asked each other

such questions.

Other kindred moments, included a love of music,

one for an accordion, another for a clarinet.

Two hands that reached out, were held, showed

dryness of skin, smallness in size and arthritic

joints. Family physical traits passed down.

Personality traits, such as independent streaks,

with some admission on both parties, of being

rather self-centered between child and father

were exchanged.

Faded, tarnished memories of the Lancaster days

were renewed and explained. They lost their

rusty feel and became polished, smoothed over.

Time truly heals all wounds.

The ties are now beginning and reaching out.

They are beautifully becoming braided into a

circular wreath where the child now knows of

another family. Intertwining, growing and

letting go of the hurt and regret.

The family was a gift well received.

The failed attempts to have connections had been

shared with the child, over the years. The way it

disappointed her, had recently come to light.

The other family is filled with aunts, uncles and

cousins who long to know the estranged member.

I indulged in my favorite choice of butter pecan

ice cream, covered with Graeter’s ‘homemade’ recipe

sauce of butterscotch, real whipped cream and a

cherry on top.

The symbolism of a cherry on top was the real,

relieved feelings, bubbling to my soul’s surface.

My family member had a simple scoop of butter

toffee chip, while the father ate chocolate chip.

The fourth person had an ice cream cone with a

cup of freshly brewed coffee.

He was the observer, the in-law, who would be the

recorder of the tale to regale the Missouri folks

back home. He had captured all parties in photos,

sent via telephone, as soon as taken.

The observer was warm and welcoming and through

his part as the ‘new’ uncle, he introduced one

of the first cousins into our conversation.

A girl named Brianna, age 12, who will be part

of my child’s life forever.

One of many new connections…

The wise, well humored observer asked if this

would be included in the title of my next post

on my blog: Serendipity.

I was not sure, at that moment, if I would indulge

in another post. Sharing this may be too much.

I mentioned that I had written a “Carry On” post,

earlier in the week. After much reflection last

night, I chose to share this story here.

Albeit in a bare bones, no details’ way.

Pieces of the puzzle fell into place.

The ‘once upon a time’ heavy weight was removed,

thrown out the window, for good.

By myself, I drove up the road on 315, a curving

tree-darkened route that led to my adopted home

of Delaware.

I had fled from another small town, almost 28

years ago.

The last remnants of the weight, the ‘chips on my

shoulder’ were lifted.

Its breadth and depth, unable to fully explain

to others who had known me.

All I know this was no longer needed to be held

on to. The baggage had no necessary purpose or

reason to be kept anymore.

There still is a chance for this ‘white picket

fence’ woman with the ‘solid core’ and deep roots,

to have her happy ending. Her child could now

proceed with new ties that bind.

Not the way she had visualized from her childhood,

but still a fantastic way to close the book.