The Piper's Wife

Copyright 1995 Beth Ann Daye

Published 1995 on the Uilleann Pipe Mailing List and in the N.W. (USA) Pipers' Club newsletter Iris na Piobaire

To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Hello to all Uilleannites

Howdy All,

I have been a lurker on the up list since it's inception... I am David Daye's wife.

As 13 year wife and silent partner of an uilleann piper, I have a few thoughts from the perspective of the non-playing half of an uilleann family:

No, I do not own an uilleann pipe
(one owner of u.p. in a family is enough)
No, I do not play a u.p.
(one player of u.p. per family is enough:
No, I do not make, repair or collect reeds.
(see above)
No, I never move/dust/throw away/ or clean up anywhere nearby reeds, pipes, bits of wire, bits of wood, bits of metal, all things weird and obscure.
(I like living)
No, I do not take offense when my most tender observations go unanswered, i.e. "I love you, David." {silence...} (the tune in his head takes precedence)
I just repeat and start the message with "DAVID!"
No, I do not make appointments for him nor keep his calendar.
(Tried it, didn't like it.)
Yes, I do remind him to go to bed and to eat and to change his clothes.
(self defense)
Yes, I do pay the household bills and balance the check book.
(self defense)
Yes, I have my own hobbies and interests--gardening, 2 Cairn Terriers, graphic arts, the care and feeding of an uilleann pipe playing husband.
(preserves my sanity, makes me feel needed)
Yes, I do nod knowingly when the discussion of this staple vs. that staple, Spanish vs. French vs. California vs. home-grown cane, blade shapes, rushes in chanters and in reeds etc. begins.
(saves my dwindling i.q.; knowledgeable replies not expected--only sympathy required)
Yes, I do love Irish music.
(it's required, even our dogs do)

Yes, I have tremendous respect for the single mindedness and devotion that it takes for an individual to learn to first maintain and then to play the uilleann pipes. It takes a kind of persistance and determination that I can only wonder at.

Yes, I stand in awe of all the traditional Irish musicians through the ages and up to the present, who have cherished and preserved their beautiful music, right down to every precious and carefully chosen note and precise expression of tempo and rhythm.

And so, my "Hat is Off" to all of you who struggle with and mourn for the uilleann pipes. Please continue in your trials because when they to cooperate and become expressions of the music in your hearts, there is no sound anywhere that is more beautiful. Thank you. And "Hats Off" to those of us who live with and love you. We all hope to give you as much non technical support as we are able to give.

Note: David is at Augusta (Elkins, WV) for Irish Week so my mind is free to wax poetic.

Happy reeds,
Beth Ann Daye

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