Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Burns Blog

No, I didn't set anything on fire or have an accident in the kitchen. Today is the date of Robert Burns birth (plus 252 years). If you don't know who he is, he's considered the Bard of Scotland. My great grandparents came from Scotland in the 1920s and I've always been fascinated with Scottish culture, except for haggis, they can keep that. Anyway, every year in January, the local Caledonian Society has a Burns Night potluck supper.

Nothing says Scottish like magnolia leaves and Guinness!

I used to take the kids when they were little, but when they got to the pre teen years, wild elephants could not have dragged them to that event and I quit going as well. This year, the Music Man and I were invited to come and play along with some other local Celtic musicians during the "Social Hour". Since there were no teenagers to roll their eyes and make faces at us, we went.

Having a few Irish tunes at a Scottish event and the roof didn't blow off or anything!

My, have things changed! First of all, the Caledonians didn't mind listening to Irish tunes, they were drinking Guinness, and most surprising of all, guess who was tending the bar? 

My son, Ian, in a kilt, no less!

It's not really that surprising. He plays in a rowdy Irish/Scottish band called Jasper Coal who are partially sponsored by Guinness, I think. He's twenty-three now, supports himself and goes to school. I don't get all up in his business.

One of the ceremonies at our Burns Night supper is The Address to the Haggis.  You can read about it here:

It's best to have somebody with a Scottish accent do this, but there aren't many of those around here. My guess is whoever draws the short straw at the planning meeting has to make the address.

After dinner the pipe band plays. When I went in years past, it was The Heritage Pipes and Drums. That group has morphed into the Ian Sturrock Memorial Pipe Band, ISMPB for short. Their current pipe major is Ryan Morrison. I've known Ryan since he was about sixteen, which is about the time he started playing pipes. Here's a very short clip of him playing solo. I know some people think bagpipes sound like a cat being strangled but I think Ryan is just smokin' hot on them.


Many years ago, I taught Irish dance. There were two girls who started a little late in the year and I'd take them over into one of the corners to get them caught up with the rest of the class. Their names were Kate and Molly. Now, Molly runs an Irish dance school, Alabama Academy of Irish Dance. Kate has just finished up with a degree in Irish dance from the University of Limerick. They were twelve when we met. Now they're all grown up. Just like my own kids. My girls are the ones on the ends with the hard shoes. In the middle is Molly's student, Kim.

This dance was a little out of the ordinary. The tune is a Breton An Dro. The steps are Irish. I'm proud of them for kind of pushing the envelope and not being afraid to mix the two traditions. My apologies to anyone who feels differently.

It's kind of weird being old enough to remember somebody when they were a kid and now they're all grown up. I wonder where the time went. When did my son get old enough to work behind a bar? When did Ryan become such a good piper? When did Kate and Molly become such lovely dancers? 

Where did the time go? 

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