To the editor:
My family were long-time Newburyport residents and our extended family still lives in the area. My mother and father owned the former Port Bowling Lanes (Port Rec) on Storey Avenue.
My parents retired to Florida 12 years ago and sold the family home at 442 Merrimac St. to Newburyport firefighter Bob Morse.
We lost my dad to a heart attack last Thursday, after an extensive battle with cancer. Honoring his wishes we had a Catholic Funeral Mass at his church, St. Thomas Aquinas, in Bartow, Fla.
Knowing how many people he had touched in Newburyport over his long life, we decided to hold visiting hours at Twomey Funeral home on High Street and to have a graveside memorial to bury some of his ashes at Belleville Cemetery. The turnout was overwhelming, with a line out the door for most of the visiting hours and actually forcing them to keep the doors open beyond the scheduled time.
One of the visitors was firefighter Morse. I have always enjoyed the sound of the bagpipes and the haunting tribute they represent for fallen heroes. I had also reached out to some of my friends in law enforcement to see if I could get someone to play the pipes at the memorial. I had no luck.
Last night myself, my wife, my sister and my mother decided to grab a bite and release some of the pressures of the past two weeks, and after going back and forth with options, decided on the legendary Park Lunch.
As we sat at our table waiting to place our order, a gentleman at the bar waved to me. It was Bob Morse. Bob came to our table to offer further condolences to my mother, and to our surprise, she asked Bob if he would allow us to spread some ashes at our old homestead on Merrimac Street. Bob not only graciously accepted, he proclaimed he would consider it an honor if we would allow him to play the bagpipes while we performed our own ceremony.