On my walk home today, I came across a bagpiper belting out tunes on the corner of Market and Montgomery. I love the sounds a bagpipe makes — mostly because it reminds me of my father. As a young girl, there was a church near our house that hosted countless weddings, and it was common to drive by and see bagpipers serenading the crowd in the parking lot. Dad could hear the pipes’ dulcet tones from blocks away, and would roll down the car windows in anticipation, slowing to well below the speed limit as we drove by. For him I guess, they were a reminder of the motherland.
Being young, I had no appreciation for such racket, and was especially peeved by the Celtic CDs him and my mother would play at home, especially around the holidays. But now, the music only reminds me of being a kid, and of my father’s love for this time of year. Each December, he would gleefully drive us to select a tree, and later we’d blast Christmas carols as we strung ornaments. He relished decorating the yard with lights, and relished playing the part of hungry, cookie-eating Santa even more. Today, as I approached the corner, I purposefully slowed down, so I didn’t have to hurry to cross the street and could instead listen to the piper. Out of nowhere, my eyes welled up just a bit, and I became consciously aware of missing my father. This will be my fourteenth Christmas without him.
But as I stood there on the street, trying not to look ridiculous during rush hour, I also remembered that the great thing about love is that it never really leaves you, whether or not the people you share it with are still around (It really is like that DeBeers commercial!). Forget all the gifts and the trips and the mind-numbingly good eats — remembering and sharing the love is what the holidays are really all about.