Monday, April 13, 2009

Playing for those who can't hear

My flight plan has been filed and I am waiting for clearance from the tower to take-off. In this case it is not an airport, but Amazon.com which will alert me later this week that my book is printing and I can expect delivery three days later. Once I get that notice, I go wheels-up and follow the marketing plan I have so carefully crafted these last two months. But until then, all I can do is wait. . .

To give my eyes and fingers a break from the incessant monitor/keyboard repetitive strain syndrome, I decided today instead to grab my pipes and walk the four miles to the Mall in Washington, D.C. I arrived at the Vietnam Memorial which was, as always, full of people walking the gentle slope before that wall containing the names of fallen men and women from my generation. I got my draft number – 346 – the last year of the war and was never called, though I knew some who were and a few who returned in a box.

The day was cool – mid 50's – and overcast. The cherry blossoms had all fallen off the trees which gave D.C. a stark look. As I stood before the Memorial a man approached and asked if I was going to play the bagpipes I was carrying. When I said that indeed I was, he smiled and said thank you, it would mean a lot to hear them today. With that, I took up my pipes and stood facing the memorial on the grass some 30 yards away.

As I started by playing “Simple Gifts” most everyone of the hundred or more walking before the names engraved on the wall stopped to turn towards me. I then played “Going Home”, “The River is Wide”, “Scotland the Brave” and finally, of course, “Amazing Grace”. I know I touched the hearts of many with those sounds on this day at that place for several made a point to come up to me and thank me.

It is nice to do something worthwhile while waiting to take-off.

If you would like to hear part of "Simple Gifts":


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Play nice!