Part Two: Why My Home Town's Residents Love Bagpipes And Parades
Yesterday, I shared the story about traveling back to my home town to participate in a festival called the:
"Gathering of the Clans and the Bands"
Before I start, I think it's important to note that I am Canadian and my home town (which is called Kincardine) is located on the shores of one of Canada's 5 Great Lakes. All of these massive bodies of water are freshwater lakes and are located in the province of Ontario.
The lake that I call "home" is Lake Huron. It's actually named after the indigenous tribe of Indians who first settled in the area and claimed it as their home. (This was long before any Vikings or European immigrants discovered the North American continent.)
Like so many small communities that sprang up all along the shorelines of Canada, so did lighthouses. These were eventually constructed to light the way of boat traffic, safely into harbours at night or in storm situations. Most were constructed the same way, out of limestone or wood and the lights used were oil lamps. Many originally lighthouses burnt or were abandoned and left in disrepair over the decades. Not Kincardine's lighthouse. It's been carefully preserved and although modernized, still is fully functioning and looks almost original.
It's really a thing of beauty. It was a serious job to keep a lighthouse, operational. The person (whose job it was to keep the oil lamps going) was called the lighthouse keeper or wickie because it meant forever trimming the wicks of the oil lamps and keeping the clock mechanisms that were used to rotate the lights in good working condition. The keepers normally lived right inside a small cottage that was attached to the actual lighthouse.
Back to the Story, First and foremost, I am Canadian.
I grew up in Kincardine and lived there as a child and a young lady. I even met @knarly327 there and we still have family who we regularly visit, even though it's a 5 hour drive (by car) from where we currently live. Kincardine is a Scottish community through and through and it occurred to me today, that when I write about my home town, it may be confusing. This is because our traditions are actually coming from the old world (Europe) and they have been carefully preserved and passed down from one generation to the next for the last 170+ years... (give or take a few).
Canadians are a patriotic bunch. We have a lot of open space, very rugged terrain (in areas) and we generally like to celebrate any chance we get. Truth be told, I think most Canadians would agree that even the act of surviving our 4 seasons (from a weather perspective) is cause enough for a good celebration. I snapped this photo (in a parking lot) because it screams "Canadian" in the most recognizable way... to other Canadians. The significance of it may be lost on people from other countries because this flag is actually advertising a popular brand of Canadian beer. This beer company has built a whole brand around being Canadian and this flag, along with Canada's national flag, both command attention and respect whenever they are flown. :D
My Home Town's Residents Love Bagpipes Because They Saved Lives
As the story goes, my town was founded in 1848 by two Scottish settlers named Allan Cameron and William Withers.
In 1856, another Scottish immigrant, named Donald Sinclair, and his family decided to make the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to join their other relatives who had already settled in the Kincardine area, a few years before. Donald had sent word to his relatives, sharing the particulars of his family's travel plans. He was expected.
During the last 26 nautical miles of their journey (which was actually on Lake Huron) a severe storm blew up and it was wicked. The entire Sinclair family, the crew of the vessel and the captain, all thought they were going to die that afternoon. Donald, being a resourceful fellow, went down into the bowels of the boat and retrieved his bagpipes.
The fog was thick. No one could see a thing and the wind and driving rain were producing very rough water.
Donald Began To Play His Bagpipes
Donald thought that if he was going to lose his life to rough waters in a storm, he was going down with his pipes in his hands. He played and he played.
Back in Kincardine, a good Samaritan heard Donald's tune as it carried over the vast body of water, that is the lake.
This good Samaritan grabbed a set of pipes too and began piping the vessel into the safe refuge of the harbour.
The piping saved all the lives of every single soul on that boat, that day.
Donald was so grateful and every evening thereafter (until the lighthouse was built) he went down to the beach and piped the sun down. He hoped that he could pay his good fortune, forward and help someone else to safety.
Now days, every night (except in the winter) a lone Piper, pipes the sun down from the top of the Kincardine lighthouse. It's a true story and we've been celebrating it since 1856!
No kidding! Talk about traditions, customs and never forgetting where we came from.
The Lighhouse Has Been Turned Into the Town Mascot and is Named Blinkie.
In addition to the lone piper at the top of the lighthouse, my town also has a weekly Bagpipe Parade every Saturday night beginning in May and ending on the first Saturday in September. This is done to remember to help each other and to celebrate life.
Here's a video of the parade which just happened on the 26th of August. (You'll see Blinkie at the end.)
(I uploaded it to Dtube this morning but didn't realize that I couldn't add the rest of this story to it and I also didn't realized that Dtube will only work properly (with sound) if a person uses Chrome as a browser.)
Here's the finale, marking the end of the parade:
(I posted both these videos to my Dtube and Youtube channels today, August 28th, 2017.)
@knarly327's least favourite instrument is the pipes and his least favourite song played on the pipes is "Amazing Grace".
You'll just have to trust me when I say that this stems from long-standing repetitive bagpipe trauma. If you're from Kincardine, you can't escape it. It's practiced all the TIME!!! LOL!
I welcome your comments and I invite you to follow me on my journey.
~ Rebecca Ryan