Today something happened that has never happened before (which is rare in the world of bagpiping). I received a thank you note from an individual I'd never met, who heard me piping from a distance (because, ya' know...bagpipes) at a completely separate funeral service.
Here's an excerpt:
This is a heartfelt note of thanks from a Canadian of Scottish decent, thanking you for your beautiful bagpipe music which was a great comfort to me recently. At the time I couldn't see where the music was coming from so later I asked at the cemetery office and was given your name.
...when I came back for the internment, I was alone. It was a sad occasion without any associated ceremony or service and without other members of the family along as witness or support. As I was sitting on the steps by the columbarium after the internment wishing for some better way to have marked this final event of her life, I heard beautiful bagpipe music nearby...it seemed as if it was a tribute to my sister as a member of the Ronald clan, a sect of the MacDonnell clan of Keppoch.
I am glad to know that the art is alive and well in Portland through people such as you...thank you for your time on behalf of veterans and their loved ones.
I find it remarkably generous that she took the time to write a letter to someone she had never even met. I've always known the bagpipe is loud and the sound carries over a great distance, but I usually assume those hearing it in the distance were annoyed by it, not enjoying it! Randomly enough I'm also a half Canadian of Scottish and Irish decent, so the note hit a little close to home.
As someone who has witnessed many funerals over the years I actually see the situation of the one-person-funeral fairly often. A few times I've even played for zero-person-funerals, where it's just me and the funeral director paying our respects with no one else physically there to hear it. I think it shows great stoicism and commitment to be that sole family member present at the funeral, and good on Phyllis for being there.
When I first started out I always threw away any thank-you cards I received from clients, but now I keep them (years worth of them...is this creepy?) tucked away in a folder. Maybe someday before I finally pass away from a brain aneurysm (caused by playing too many hard reeds over the years) I'll pull them all out and make a giant...thing.