Last night I was invited to a Bobby Burns night. Leaving my husband adequately equipped with bottles and stored milk, I hied myself to downtown Boston to partake in the adventure.
I walked in the door with my tartan tam (slightly moth-eaten) on my head, my grandmother’s silver thistle proudly on the side. I carried a heavy cast iron dutch oven full of corned beef hash (an old family recipe), along with the inevitable cottage cheese and french bread. I met many new people and told them all about my clan name, history and crest (they were very patient). I explained that the hash was from a recipe that had likely come over on a boat with my great-grandparents. I talked about just what rapscallions my ancestors were. I sang or lead singing for “My Love is like a Red, Red Rose”, and “The Rape of Glencoe” and “The Skye Boat Song” (I totally forgot the first TWO verses!) I joined in other songs. I heard poems — new ones and old favorites.
There are parts of one’s history and background that remain dormant for long stretches of time. My Scottish heritage just doesn’t come up often anymore. I mean, my last name is now IRISH! (The horrors!) It was remarkably refreshing to uncover this particular aspect of who I am!