Pat Hayes‘s sad, untimely and unfair death can’t help but make one pause for reflection about how fragile life is for us all. Having last seen him only a month ago in Glasgow, he was his usual energetic, strong and positive self. I will always remember his firm handshake, his stentorian voice, and his love of piping. My heart pours out to Andrew and the whole Hayes family: good piping people.
It’s hard on the bigger piping community to lose such a contributor. Anyone who finds time to organize events and lead groups like Pat did so willingly is invaluable. I always recognized his efforts, and always let him know that they didn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.
I was also always impressed by Pat’s support of his son, Andrew, in all things piping. Ever since I’ve known Andrew as a 13-year-old amateur piper (his Cardinals cap catching my eye at Georgetown games c.1990), Pat was omnipresent at contests that he competed in. He often seemed directly linked to the success and failures of his talented son. It’s great to see a parent come out to support a son or daughter. Until my daughter was born I never fully appreciated that or completely understood what my own father was up to when he tagged along to contests that I played in.
As a prominent piper wrote to me last week before Pat died: “he’s one of the good guys.” Here’s to fathers and mothers supporting sons and daughters, and to everyone in the piping and drumming family supporting each other.