As a trumpeter, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a grave side service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the Norfolk countryside. As I was not familiar with the countryside, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn’t stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral director had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. Here were only the diggers and crew left, and they were eating lunch.
I felt bad and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave, looked down and saw the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play for the recently departed. The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man.
And as I played ‘Amazing Grace,’ the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. It was a truly touching performance and the workers were as caught up in the moment as I was. When finished, I couldn’t say a word so I packed up my trumpet and started for the car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.
As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say,”I never seen nothin’ like that before, and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”
Apparently I was still lost…