As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently, I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the Kentucky backcountry. And, as I was unfamiliar with the backwoods, I got lost; and being a typical man, I did not stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late and saw that the funeral director had evidently left, and the hearse was nowhere in sight.
There were only the diggers and crew left, and they were eating lunch. I felt bad and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down, and saw the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.
The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I had never played before for this homeless man. And as I played “Amazing Grace” the workers began to weep. They wept, and I wept; we all wept together. When I finished, I packed up my bagpipes and started for the car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.
As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, “Sweet Mother of Jesus, I never seen nothin’ like that before, and I’ve been puttin’ in septic tanks for over twenty years.”