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Saturday I had the good fortune to stumble upon the life of Patrick Spillane.

To give you a little background, I donate plasma twice a week.  It helps a lot of people, and you're paid for it, and we surely need the money these days.  I'd just donated, and toward the end the machine went a bit wrong so they couldn't give me my blood back.  Could that be why I was a bit more whimsical than usual?  Probably not. I've always been given to follow my curiosity.

And purely on a whim I decided to hop off of the bus earlier than I normally would and do a little more walking.  It was a beautiful, bright, warm day out, so why not?

There I was, crossing the bridge over the mighty Kish, when to my ears came something that stopped me in my tracks; the familiar keen of the pipes.  I turned around and spotted a little ways down the river the source.  Naturally, I went investigating, even if that meant doubling back and finding my way back behind a collection of old apartments.

By the time I had arrived, the piper had gone inside.  There was a ncie little fire circle down on the river bank with some chairs, and a grizzled looking veteran of the Vietnam war invited me to sit and talk a while.  So I did.  We talked about his time in Vietnam, and my father's (who was a navy corpsman assigned to accompany the marines, who had no medical officers of their own).  We talked a bit of politics.  And by and by a car pulled in, just as I'd been about to go, and two gentlemen exited with this banner:

The man you see there had made it, he told me, for an upcoming parade in honor of Patrick Spillane, former owner of a place called the Rock Barn where he had hosted all manner of bands and musicians over the years.  That was my introduction to Patrick.  Later I'd realize that what they were holding was a good old-fashioned wake, and I am certain others thought of this as well, given they were having it on St. Patrick's Day.

Being naturally curious as I am, I wound up hanging around and talking more, both with the musicians in front gathering together to practice for their role in the coming procession and the piper in back when he returned. He was to be in the event also.  Had a chance to talk with that veteran I'd met and several others also.

And I decided that I wanted to help out.  I've always had a habit of doing this.  As a boy, I joined the cub scouts because I wandered in on them cleaning up the old lot in front of the WWII army bunkers set into the crater wall they were going to use as their new den.  Naturally, I pitched in.  I've been doing things like that ever since, wandering into the lives of strangers, who sometimes remained strangers afterwards and sometimes did not.  I am glad Patrick did not.

Over the course of the ceremony, the parade, the celebration afterwards, I got to know Patrick by listening to others.  I watched the slides they had set up going in a constant loop.  I heard the testimonies, some from his own family.  And most of all I watched the people who gathered in his honor, who he had touched in his life.  I came to the conclusion that Patrick Spillane was and is a good man, one who inspired others.  In that, he will live on.

To see more of the event honoring his life, at least what I was able to capture of it, take a wander through my gallery here:…



On a side note, some of you might notice my penchant at times for numbering photos.  There are a number of reasons I do that.  The simplest reason would be that numbers speak to us; we see them and they automatically indicate something is part of a set or progression.  You can use them to link together the parts of a story, and thus draw the viewer in to the full tale and not just a snapshot from it.

The other reason is that if you give every submission its own unique title, it can make it more difficult for others to find them again.  A single title with numbers for multiple instances or to link steps in the story helps us to remember and find our place again.  Mind you, as you will note in the gallery for Patrick's memorium, it is still good to break things down into chapters built around a common theme.
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Submitted on
March 19, 2012