Monday, August 24, 2009

Being Asked

I know I put meaning into everything--meaning that might not actually be there. But it makes life more (safely) exciting and makes one feel more important than one really is.

We just came back from a cut-short 25th anniversary trip to Quebec (long, sad story: a short, good time was had) where I had little or no cell phone service, to find a voicemail message from Aaron asking if I could help with a gig that started 30 minutes earlier. Of course I couldn't play, but it was nice being asked.

I hope I wasn't the last person on the list.

(I won't even go there.)

I haven't picked up pipes in a WEEK! My blowpipe valve is gonna be SO stuck. To make things worse, we received a DVD from Piper Pat, my bigger little brother, showing him practicing on small pipes or somesuchthing while on his tour of England, Scotland and Ireland last month. Must be nice to have money to just blow on things, including DVDs sent out to the whole family and large suitecases. Hopefully, I'm a better person because of it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Eccles' Gig

Small Son, Teancum, has a nickname in the band--even though he is not in the band. I happened to mention to Sean, his instructor, in the hearing of other band members, how many 5-minute practices he was squeezing into a day, 5 minutes being the maximum practice time he was allowed on pipes per day. They inmediately nicknamed him "the Teancanator", and were working on a series of grace notes similar to a tachum that they would call a "teancum". They were having a very good time inventing. Teancum's eyes got bigger and bigger as I related all this to him later on in the evening, and he practiced doubly hard the next day.

* * *

We had a big, big windstorm (not a tornado, just straight-line winds) rip through here three days ago (that would be Thursday). You couldn't see the mountains AT ALL for all the dust and smoke that was in the air. Everything dried out in a flash and brush fires started all around the airport and some other places. My brother Tom said he was up on top of th East Ridge outside Butte, Montana with my sister, Erin, and her fiance, Tim, and saw it roll in. He said it was like some monstrous, roiling brown thing attacking the city, containing hailstones the size of golf balls. It was that big that it covered at least the distance from Salt Lake to Butte. It blew pretty much all night and by morning it was apparent I was allergic to something in the dust, because my eyes were red, swollen and itchy, my nose ran constantly and I was sneezing. I hope this makes me sound miserable, because I was miserable.. I'm only now getting over it, even with meds.

Friday night, in this non-breathing condition, we had to go up to the Eccles'* family home on the benches and play a gig for the 75th birthday of Spencer Eccles, which family gave us a grant that procured us our tartan and kilts oodles of years ago . . . so long ago, in fact, that when Ian mentioned this factoid to the Eccles gathered there, everybody was surprised to learn it. Spencer came over and shook everybody's hand and thanked us for remembering their family and said he was glad they had a connection to the Salt Lake Scots. He was having a good time. And no wonder, in a place like that. It was right in a neighborhood, but it was surrounded with so many scrub oak hedges and oak trees and pine trees, that it was a place apart. No outside sounds got in, nor people neither. It looked like Groundskeeper Willie had been hard at work everywhere for the place looked beautiful. The catering staff hovered, the valets parked cars quietly and efficiently, and the whole (extended) family was dressed in carefree smiles and their Sunday best. Spencer Eccles Jr (or possible III) casually and with a worn green felt-tip marker, wrote us out a check for $350** without even checking his balance or doing the math--although he made jokes about the check not clearing.

I don't think that will be a problem.

Our band has other connections to this family, too. Dave served a mission with one of the son-in-laws in Montreal, QC; Sande had scoped out the joint for fire vehicle access when the fire danger got high and knew the key family members and the lay of the land. Good thing, too, because even with the grandchildren guiding us, it was a torturous path we had to follow to get past the tennis courts, down the hill, around the antique automobiles, and through the dining pavillion to our places on the flagstone terrace.

I went home and blew my nose.

*Eccles family: an old and rather well-to-do banking family from this area who has put their name on half the buildings on the UofU campus, and many other buildings in the valley besides.

** Let's see: $350 for 10 minutes work. $350 x 6 = . . . $2100 per hour!