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The Pipes

It was the sound of the pipe band bagpipes and drums that brought me to a halt in the conversation with my mother this morning.

I stopped her mid sentence.

"Mom, sorry, there's a parade going by my window".

She was as giddy as I was. I quickly opened the window to allow the music to float up into our fourth floor apartment.

I knew it took us both back to a time when I was little and she was, well, probably about my age, perhaps a bit older.

We would have been standing along a road - in small-town-Ontario-anywhere - waiting to see the Ingersoll Pipe Band in the parade, march past us. And there, at the back with all the drummers - the renegade musicians - would be my dad'; his brow furrowed in concentration, altering only slightly to give us all a wink and a half smile.

The sound of a pipe band is such a lovely noise to me. To me, it was community. People of all kinds getting together locally to watch the musical procession. Togetherness really.

About 2 minutes later, there was another sound. One of chanting, of angry, drunk men shouting in song, words unreconisable to anyone but themselves.

"Oh, what's that chanting?" My mom said, thinking perhaps it was part of the parade.

"Oh it's must be the other side," I said, "Angry about the parades."

It was sad to think that a sound I related so much with togetherness really does not actually have the same effect in this part of the world.

D overheard the commotion and came into the room where I was looking out the window.

"Those guys," I said to him. "What are they fighting about down there."

"Oh," he smiled, "There's a football game today and INSERT TEAM HERE won. INSERT OTHER TEAM must have bumped into some opposing fans."

Cops were breaking up the commotion. I wasn't relaying all of this to my mother as I did not want to un-nerve her. It's one thing for me to get used to living in a place where drunken idiots pick fights with each other. It's another thing to hear it over the phone.

I told my mom what D said. She laughed.

"Your father just said that. How is it that your father would know that?"

Perhaps there is one thing that is universal.

Sport.

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