I believe in the bagpipes. My dad’s side of the family is Scottish and since I am really interested in my Scottish heritage, I started taking bagpipe lessons. The bagpipes were originally an instrument of war in Scotland. The music was used to motivate troops. The bagpipes have been used in several countries throughout history but Scotland is the only country that has kept the tradition going long enough to make it an art. It is amazing that the practice lasted because the bagpipes were once banned in Scotland. After the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, playing the bagpipes and wearing a kilt were outlawed. One piper was executed for playing his pipes; history tells us that his lack of skills played no part in his execution. I took up the bagpipes because I thought it would be fun to do something unique to my heritage. Our family is very close and playing the bagpipes is a way for me to remember my family even though I don’t see a lot of them.
Over the years, whenever the family gets together, we have enjoyed making fun of ourselves for our Scottish characteristics. The Munroes often confirm common Scottish stereotypes. Scottish people are overly thrifty and so are the Munroes. Scottish people are stubborn and so are the Munroes. Scottish people like bagpipe music and so do the Munroes. At many family gatherings, we talk about the times when our Scottish tendencies have come out. When I play the bagpipes, I remember the fun times I have had with my family and the stories I have heard from them.
In the last few years, some members of my family have moved further away. Picking up the bagpipes, is a way for me to feel close to my family. The bagpipes make me think of the time my aunts were pretending to be the Dropkick Murphy’s and one of them was playing the bagpipes. The bagpipes remind me of the time I was in Scotland with my parents and my brother and we saw the Munroe Tartan all over the place. When I practice the bagpipes, I am reminded of the time I discovered that my family, the Munroes and the Campbells, were the only two clans to fight with the hated English at the Battle of Culloden. Sometimes when I practice the bagpipes, I think of that time my brother was trying to teach me how to speak with a Scottish accent. I think of the time my family told me that in Scotland, having a name like “Ceilidh” is the equivalent of someone having a name like “Baseball Game” in the United States: maybe even a little worse. No matter where I am and where my family is, the bagpipes will always be a part of me and a way for me to be reminded of my family.