News of the impending return of missing bagpipes is music to the ears of a Dunedin teenager who lost the pipes a week ago.
By DEBORAH O'NEIL
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 13, 2000
DUNEDIN -- Michael Bryant had been waiting for seven days for the phone to ring, hoping someone might have found his lost Scottish bagpipes.
But no one responded to the 16-year-old's classified ad in the St. Petersburg Times.
And Bryant's parents, Mike and Kandi Bryant, were not happy. They paid $850 for the instrument that their son plays in the Dunedin High Pipe Band.
The family owns the Dunedin Brewery -- which has bagpipes for a logo -- and every year helps organize Dunedin's Highland Games, which celebrate the city's Scottish heritage.
Wednesday, in a serendipitous series of events, Bryant was telling his lost bagpipe saga to a Times reporter when the phone rang.
James Lewis, a truck driver and professional mover, called to say he had the pipes with him in Illinois more than 1,000 miles away. He said he was moving someone to this area when he came across the pipes on the side of the road.
"I was like, "What in the world?' " Lewis said. "We knew they belonged to someone. People don't lose bagpipes."
Lewis said he called the Times on Tuesday to place a classified ad about the bagpipes, and the sales representative told him about Bryant's lost bagpipes ad.
Over the phone Wednesday, Bryant's mother gave Lewis a Federal Express number so he could ship the instrument back to Dunedin for free.
"I believe in karma," Mrs. Bryant said. "(My son) will have to do some good deeds."
Bryant lost the bagpipes April 5 after practicing with his band at a friend's house on Baywood Drive S off Alt. U.S. 19. Bryant, who has played the pipes since he was 11, has managed to incorporate the sounds of that ancient instrument into the band's punk and rock music.
"Like our own theme song," Bryant explains. "I thought it would be cool."
After jamming, Bryant put the bagpipes in their case and his friend, Kenny Talmadge, 15, went to put the case in the trunk of Bryant's Chevrolet Astro van. What happened next has happened to everyone at least once, except it usually involves a cup of coffee.
The van was locked so Talmadge set the case on the bumper.
"Then I forgot," Talmadge said.
"We got in the car and drove away," Bryant said.
They looped around Baywood Drive, turned south onto Alt. U.S. 19 and were a heading east on Michigan Boulevard when Talmadge remembered.
The teenagers retraced their step but the instrument was gone.
"I felt stupid, actually," Talmadge said.
They posted signs around the neighborhood, placed the ad, called the Sheriff's Office and even called area pawnshops.
"When I was calling pawnshops most places just laughed and giggled when I said, "You got any bagpipes?"' Bryant said.
Lewis said he has three teenagers himself and said he was happy to get the instrument back to Bryant.
"Everything should have a happy ending," Lewis said. "I hope this kid does well."