No. 911



A lot of people these days are interested in genealogy and spend a lot of time doing research on the family tree. Not me. When I learned many years ago that my father left Kentucky in 1919, running from the Grand Jury for shooting craps on Sunday, I lost all interest in doing a lot of research to find out where my ancestors came from. I am just happy to be who I am, and have no problem letting the past stay buried.
However I have wondered over the years if I might be part Scottish because I love to hear bagpipe music, especially when the bagpipers play “Amazing Grace.” These thoughts came to mind a few days ago when a reader sent me an article about a man who was an excellent bagpipe player. The article turned out to be quite humorous and also contained a sidebar about the nature of many men.
First the sidebar -- it will set the stage for the article and will make it come alive in your mind. For many years as an outside salesman, I would visit a strange town or city and have the address of a prospect and thought I would have no problem finding his or her place of business. Keep in mind this was back before the days of technology and a sweet female voice who would say, “Turn right here.” Quite often I would drive around for 10 to 15 minutes and finally realize that I was lost. At this point I would stop and ask someone for directions, which is what I should have done in the first place. If you have ever done this or been with some man who has done this, you will relate to what I am saying.
Now, to the article: “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 back country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn’t stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch.
I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault 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 the man who had no family and friends. I played like I have never played before for this homeless man. And as I played “Amazing Grace,” the workers began to weep. They wept. I wept. We all wept together.
When I finished I picked up my bagpipes and started for my 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, ‘I never seen nothing like that before and I have been putting in septic tanks for over 20 years’. Apparently, I’m still lost…it’s a man thing.”
While I am not sure what his name is, I am indebted to this man who has such a wonderful sense of humor. We would all do well, men and women, to not take ourselves too seriously.
While I don’t know about you, I am grateful for the many blessings and opportunities we have in this great country. We need to focus on the enduring values and the “can-do” work ethic that has given us the greatest standard of living in the history of the world. It took me many years to realize this, but the only way to truly live is to give to others. We should always strive to do the right thing. Trust me, this is the only thing that has a bright future.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)