The mystery bagpiper

I pulled up in front of the church to find the hearse and limo already out front.

This was not good. It had been a long overnight shift, but I’d had enough time to change and make it to the church. Or so I thought. Still, I couldn’t miss it. My partner’s father had died, and taking care of our own includes supporting them in their grief.

I parked on a side street and snuck into the back of the mammoth church. The funeral appeared to be winding down. Could I really be that late? I didn’t recognize anyone, but I don’t know any of my partner’s family beyond his wife. That might be them way up in the front pew.

The priest droned on. I’m not familiar with Catholic funerals, but the ending is always the same. After a few prayers and blessings, he addressed the assembled mourners directly, thanking us for celebrating the life of our “beloved father, brother, uncle, and friend Gino.”

Gino?!! I couldn’t remember Partner’s father’s name, but he’s as Irish as they come. Gino O’Shea?!

Uh-oh.

As the mourners filed out, I thought I was beginning to see what had happened. I kept my countenance somber, shook hands, and offered my condolences for their loss. And I got out as quickly as I could.

Outside, I wasn’t the only one confused. Another friend stood across the busy street in his kilt, prepared to pipe the body out of the church. A quick series of hand signals averted more embarassment.

I finally made it across the street to join him just as the hearse departed. Less than five minutes later, the right hearse arrived and we began the process all over again.

Rest in peace, Gino, whoever you are.

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