• Bagpipes & The Tale of Sneaking in Daily Mom Pleasures




    Since I started embarking on my (nearly) daily walks with Bub around our neighborhood, I’ve learned one major truth: we have fascinating neighbors!  In an earlier post, I described how thrilled I was to find that one of our neighbors kept a beehive in their front and back yard and it has inspired me to want to do the same. But this post is about another neighbor, just a street down from the urban beekeepers. This neighbor held a daily performance from within their home that I bet they didn’t know they started to develop an audience for outside! :) I’m sure your imagination is running wild and assuming the creepiest now, but it’s bagpipes.  The neighbor practiced his or her bagpipes religiously each day, precisely the exact same time as Bubs and I would go out for our midday walk. It was entirely a story like that in the movie “Kate and Leopold” where Meg Ryan’s character, Kate, pointed to a balcony across the way from her own New York apartment and told Hugh Jackman’s character, Leopold, that every night the older gentleman who lived there listened to the same soundtrack (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) and then would turn out the light at exactly midnight. I was amused to imagine I had my very own Breakfast at Tiffany’s neighbor. I guess when I think about it, though, I am just as much guilty of having a predictable schedule everyday if I happened to be passing by the bagpipe playing neighbor’s house exactly the moment he or she would start warming up (12:20pm each afternoon)!

    If ever the bagpiper were to notice I just happened to passing by on the sidewalk outside his or her window each day and come out to see what I was up to, I came prepared with a great alibi – Bubs.  I’d just say “Oh the little guy loves to hear the music.” Which may or may not have been true since he was actually usually fast asleep by the time we got to that part of the neighborhood. Nevertheless I’d still point out the music coming from the house to Bubster when he was awake, so I’ll call that a learning experience.

    But the truth is, I, myself, am enamored by the sound of bagpipes.  As a part of my undergraduate studies I had the outrageous privilege to get to conduct mapping field work for a summer in Ireland in connection with Boston University and then take a humanities course the following summer in Scotland through James Madison University. I don’t know what it is about the British isles – maybe there’s some truth to ancestral remembrance in our DNA – but I just love that part of the world. While in Scotland, our professors (one was a professor of medieval history and the other a music professor) took us to visit the Highland games where we watched the Highland Dancers’ competition, among other events. The professors also had our group learn a number of Scottish folk songs and participate in a traditional cèilidh dance celebration. I loved every second of it! The tradition. The pride in the culture. It was all so beautiful! Ever since then, any time I get the rare chance here in the US to sneak a listen to some live bagpipes playing, I love to relish in the feeling and memory of being back in the brisk, cool, damp climate of Scotland, eating some Walker’s Shortbread “biscuits,” and smelling the earthy heather on the hills. Thus, my daily walk with Bubs had turned into a ticket back across the Atlantic Ocean, just for a few minutes a day anyway.

    By the way, I wasn’t the only weirdo, I mean passerby, who made a tradition of coming out to listen to the bagpipes from the sidewalk either. The same group of walkers would just “happen” to all pass by me each day and we’d all exchange embarrassed glances and hesitant pauses indicating we all wanted to just stand around listening but also had an equal desire not to come off as stalkers. Did the bagpipe player inside ever know all of this was going on just outside his or her window?

    You’ve probably noticed by now, I’m telling this story all in the past tense. One day at 12:20pm the bagpipes didn’t start. Well, everyone has appointments or general life stuff come up, so I didn’t think much of it. But the next day and the day after they didn’t start either. It was just as abrupt as that! It’s been a couple of months now since the bagpiping neighbor stopped playing. I have come up with the following scenarios to explain the sudden cease and desist:

    1.       The first scenario is too sad so I won’t mention it.
    2.       The piper was a college kid and he went off to college at the start of his semester, taking his pipes and daily performances with him.
    3.       A crotchety neighbor complained about the noise and the police came and told the piper he couldn’t practice anymore.
    4.       The piper simply chose a different time of the day to start practicing, which, in that event why he didn’t inform me so I could alter my daily walk time is beyond me :)


    Well, whatever the reason, the few months of daily live performances was lovely while it lasted. It was my own little guilty pleasure under the mid-day sun. And let’s face it, moms, we have to sneak in as many of those as we can – it doesn’t have to be all diaper changing and playing with blocks all day, does it? Haha. The fleeting bagpiper sparked my interest in finding more bagpipe playing around the Triangle so Bubs can grow a taste and a love for it as well. Or an indifference for it since that’s what all kids do with their parents’ interests anyway, right? 
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