Saturday, Caliente, came up to visit me from Portlandia. She and I have both been experiencing one form or another of summer time blues lately. We needed to get our happy back! I’ve found one of the best ways to do that is by getting into silly shenanigans with Caliente. It just so happens the Scottish Highland Games were happening in the next town over, perfect! I have never seen so many kilts before. And everyone is so pale!! I mean Scotts are very fair skinned! I never thought about it until I was there among the melanin deficient. Paleness aside, they do love their beer and so do I!
Upon wandering the shops we met a lovely shop keeper who was more than eager to help me find my Scottish clan. I felt kind of awkward since I know a bit about our family history and it isn’t exactly one that you want to boast about in a place like this:
In short, there was a time when we were “The Bad Guys.” Around 1000 AD my ancestors were of the Norman (France) persuasion. We were part of a massive invasion that overthrew the King of England known as the Norman Conquest. From this invasion our family gained nobility and lands that were won in battle. Over time the family name was common not only in England, but in Scotland and Ireland as well. We are what many refer to as Scotch-Irish decent. Basically our branch of the surname was a group of Presbyterian Lowland Scots that moved to Northern Ireland in the 16 and 1700’s. Eventually, like so many families of the time, we emigrated to the Americas to avoid religious persecution. The rest is typical American white bread history.
Back to the shop keep: As I shuffle my feet and gently try to explain my family history, I get to the part about the Norman Invasion to which he exclaims: “Och! You were of the raper and pillager sort were ya?” with a laugh. I couldn’t help but laugh back and feel relived to know that 1000 years may be old enough to no longer hold a grudge for some cultures. So I gave him my last name and he came back with a HUGE book of surnames and which clan they belonged to. Turns out, I’m a Maxwell! He then quickly raced back to get a pallet of tartan swatches. The man had swatches of every tartan ever made! Crazy! Here’s the Maxwell’s:
After thanking the shop keep, I could have talked to him for hours just because of his Scottish accent, we explored the other shops. I saw this bad boy from across the hall and knew instantly which sword it was. Braveheart anyone??
Then we found a tee shirt tent with every clan name and crest! You know I had to get a Maxwell one! I know I’m no hardcore Scotsman but honestly, who really is? Not many! The motto means “I fourish again” um…. ok sure! I really love the stag and the tree. I can’t help but wonder if this is a sign I need to get going on my hunting licence classes. MM has been bugging me for months!
Sadly, we got there a little late and missed the actual games. We did, however catch the closing ceremony which showcased a massing of I thing 8 major pipe bands from Seattle to Alaska! They were so good! I can’t imagine a bag pipe is an easy instruments and to see hundreds of people play them in perfect unison was mind boggling. There were kids too! As young as 8 playing with the best of them! Apparently, I need to learn how to record a video on my new camera… I thought it would be simple but couldn’t figure it out! So to give you an idea of the awesomeness we saw here’s an official video from the highland games website:
We did get to see them perform Amazing Grace which was fantastic. They even released doves! I’ve never actually seen that done before!
Afterwards, we wandered into town for refreshments and found this swanky little wine bar! I did not know we had a swanky little wine bar nearby! How cool! We sat in cushy chairs and noshed on a tasty fruit salad in a balsamic reduction followed by a cheese plate that was divine! I think I found a new girly hangout from me and my lady friends when they come to visit!
The rest of the evening found us sipping cocktails in the backyard enjoying Cowboy TV (bonfire) with MM and one of our close family friends Josh. It was another fantastic summer day! And we got our happy back!