In this edition of “It came from your clutter,” something that came from my family’s clutter — a sheep stomach and tubes of wood fashioned into bagpipes.
Back in the early 1990s, my husband was deployed to the former Yugoslavia as a UN Peacekeeper. Because he learned to play the bagpipes in military college, he took his set of pipes with him on the deployment. Music has a way of bringing people together and being so loud, the Great Highland bagpipes can be heard by people far and wide. My husband explained the history of bagpipes and how they used to be made with animal skins (modern bagpipes are made with synthetic materials) and the chanter and drones were made with wood.
My husband must have made a positive impression on the local community because at the end of his six-month tour of duty, the people gifted him a set of bagpipes they had made themselves. This “decorative” set of pipes moved with us from duty station to duty station for over fifteen years.
One summer, we started noticing a strange smell coming from the corner of the living room near the shelving unit. I thought perhaps it was a dead mouse because it had that sort of stink. It was the bagpipes. The sheep stomach had started to decay and rot.
We took one last photo of these handmade bagpipes from war-torn former Yugoslavia, said good-bye, and tossed them in the trash. My husband will always have the fondest memories of the people he met there — and of course this photo.
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