PORT ST. LUCIE PEOPLE
DAVID LESLIE LAIRSON
Lives in: Tradition, Port St. Lucie
Family: Wife, Beth Allen
Education: Bachelor of Arts in
American military history from
Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio
Hobby: Bagpiping, photography
Who inspires me: Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk from
Vietnam, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “I have most of his books.”
Something most people don’t know about me: “I decorate
cakes and have a closet full of cake pans. I took Wilton
method classes so I can do all the butter cream frosting flowers
and write fancy — which is funny, because I don’t write
well with a pen.”
nion at the school’s morning Mass.
When he fell into Buddhism during college, it evened
“It’s about what’s going on inside your head,” he explains.
“‘Why am I reacting this way?’ I’m calmer now, which helps
when you’re dealing with angry people.”
Occasionally, angry people have been neighbors. When
the Lairsons moved to Tradition, there were few neighbors
near his large rental home. In training for a solo competition,
Lairson would practice outside for an hour or more. When
they moved to a smaller house with closer neighbors, practice
became an issue.
“I get it,” Lairson says. “Bagpipes are 90 decibels, compared
to 80 decibels for a lawnmower. An hour of bagpipes
can be a lot to handle but for awhile it was a running joke.
Every time I played, the police showed up.”
Although Lairson was not breaking any noise ordinances, he
agreed to move his practices into the garage — and still gets
complaints. At other times, neighbors stop him to ask why he
hasn’t been practicing, evidence of that love/hate dichotomy.
The Lairsons’ own love story began in high school.
“I met Beth on my 16th birthday, when I gave her a Robin
sticker from my brother’s comic book store,” he says. “We
started dating three weeks later and have been together since.”
They joke that the reason they moved to Florida was
because of Disney. Even their animals are named for Disney
characters. But another shared interest is music. Beth, an attorney,
Port St. Lucie Magazine 41
plays drums with one of Lairson’s bands.
Beth is, ironically, allergic to wool, the fabric used for the
tartan kilts Lairson wears. A member of the Black Thorne
Pipe Band, the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office honor guard and
the U.S. Coast Guard pipe band, Lairson also helped start the
St. Lucie County Fire District’s Pipes and Drums Band. And
each band wears a different tartan.
“I have a walk-in closet filled with kilts,” Lairson says. “My
first was Royal Stuart, huge and heavy. Eight yards of 13-ounce
wool. We call it The Tank. Beth gave me an Isle of Skye kilt
that’s much better for Florida: six yards of 10-ounce wool.”
A traditional piper’s outfit includes kilt, shirt, belt, hose
and flashes, hat, ghillie brogues with fancy laces, a vest or
short jacket, and the sporran purse.
Bagpipe music is itself a dichotomy, able to lend festive
cheer or ancient solemnity depending on the tune. No wonder
bagpiping appealed to Lairson with his Apple watch on
one wrist ... and a mala meditation bracelet on the other. E