I’ve written before about how much I loved to walk to, and through, Riverview Cemetery from our house. Those walks ended abruptly when a patch of ice rudely sneaked under my foot, causing me to land in a snowdrift, staring at the sky. I adjourned to St. Cecelia Church then for my walks. It is lovely there, quiet, peaceful and, best of all, no ice. Or wind. Or rain. However, the church now is closed and locked, as are so many places during this pandemic.
The cemetery, however, remains open, so I am once again jogging there. Okay, so maybe jogging is a bit of an exaggeration. Power walking? Okay, maybe not so much power walking as strolling languidly through the trees and gravestones. My great-grandparents are buried there, along with other family members of that generation. The rest of my family is in Calvary Cemetery – ours is an ecumenical bunch.
On one of my languid walks last week, God let me know that it’s fine with Him that I’m not walking in the church anymore. You’ll notice I used the word languid again – I don’t think I’ve ever written it before, and now I’ve written it twice, because I really like the look and sound of it. I’ll try to use it again sometime.
How did God let me know it was okay to walk in the cemetery instead of the church? I’m so glad you asked. As I was coming down a slight hill near my great-grands’ gravestones, I heard the haunting sound of bagpipes. I did! They were playing Danny Boy, one of my all-time favorite Irish songs. As the bagpiper came into view, he segued from Danny Boy into When Irish Eyes are Smiling. Now I ask you, could there have been any clearer sign from the Almighty that He was happy with my choice of venue?
Lest you think I’m making this up, I’ll show you a picture of the gentleman who was playing the bagpipes when I get to the end of this column (no looking ahead – I want you to be surprised).
I was entranced with this chance meeting and clapped enthusiastically when he reached the end of When Irish Eyes are Smiling. He said he came there to practice so he wouldn’t disturb his neighbors. His name is Kenneth Wind, and he provides bagpipe tributes at funeral services for military veterans, law enforcement and firefighters, according to his business card. He also played at the St. Patrick’s Day celebration here.
As I continued my walk, the strains of Amazing Grace followed me. I decided that hymn was surely written for the bagpipes – it sounded so hauntingly beautiful!
I hope I meet Mr. Wind again when he’s practicing in the cemetery. However, if I don’t, I’ll forever have the memory of the day in the cemetery when the strains of Danny Boy drifted over the hill to me.