Thursday, September 20, 2007

I practiced.

Those two little words mean a lot. (**whining alert!**My back went out Tuesday so any movement hurts. Including piping. (**martyr alert!**) But I practiced anyway. And my friend came. But I practiced anyway. I got in about 35 minutes yesterday in the back yard, including work on the reel and jig and Heights, and a one time run-through of the whole MSR. A couple of little girls over the back yard fence kept up a running conversation while I was doing this. Now my lip hurts in addition to my back. Lovely.

I forgot to mention that on Sunday Keith W stopped me in the hall at chuch and said that my piping at the church picnic in August had really touched him. He said he was Scottish on both sides and had always wanted to learn pipes but never had the time or money. He's still thinking about doing it. He shared some piping stories.

Speaking of piping stories, I wanted to include a couple that were key in my learning to play pipes. These both happened in college.

First, when I was a senior art student at RMC, the Art Professor took us all up to his cabin outside Billings for an afternoon picnic in very early spring of 1981. It was chilly and foggy and most everybody stayed in the cabin. But we discovered somehow, I forgot how, that our dearly beloved professor, OB1 (or possibly his son, James), played pipes, so we convinced him to play them. He went outside, of course, cuz the cabin was full of people and rather small, and started in. After one tune, everybody went back inside. Except me. I sat on a rock in the fog on the side of a mountain and listened while he played tune after tune. Until he got too cold and requested we go back inside. Sitting there in the chill and the fog on the steep side of the mountain with the skirl of the pipes, I could imagine being almost anywhere or any time: Scotland or Ireland during an uprising, perhaps, that I was a rebel making a difference to my people. It was magical.

The other time was when I was an Art Ed/French Ed student at the U of M, about 1986. It was a 5 mile bike ride from my husband's parent's home where we lived to the U, and we were both students and had a baby daughter, so we biked to save bus fare. We also both worked at the U. One day as I was biking to work, I heard a piper. He was in a kilt, probably going to or from a gig, playing as he went. I stopped and got off my bike to listen, and as he played, I found myself following him along the street, like a rat in Hamlin town! He played tune after tune, glancing back a time or two to see if I was still there, and once he even winked at me! I was late for work that day.

To this day, I prefer a lone piper in the fog to a band on a sunny day.

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