A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Rabbie Burns Day

Rabbie Burns Day is January 25, but in our neighborhood it was celebrated today. Maggie and Greg Tucker hosted their third Mattunes house concert in honor of Scotland's favorite son. They departed a bit from the usual vegetarian, non-alcoholic repasts to make the occasion as authentic as possible.

It rained in the afternoon, which did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the guests. Glenn Pryor, the musical talent for the event, piped everyone in. He's a formidable talent and the official bagpiper of Yale, piping in graduates at commencement. Today he was piping in the haggis--real haggis, plus a non-revolting veggie version.

Rabbie Burns Day, which is the birthday of the poet born in 1759, involves a speech about Burns (the "Immortal Memory"), recitations of his poetry (like "Address to a Haggis" and "Tam O'Shanter"), singing of his songs (like Auld Lang Syne), a supper of traditional foods (cock-a-leekie soup, tatties and neeps, haggis, and tipsy laird), and numerous toasts drunk with Scotch whiskey.

I'm not sure how much poetry got recited, as I was back at the Emory House, babysitting Maggie's beagles, rather than at the concert. The traditional food was all there, including the horrible haggis, and of course there was magnificent Scottish music played by Glenn Pryor. There was even a "wee dram" of Drambuie despite the ordinarily "dry" nature of the concerts. And hey, if the weather had been nice, it wouldn't have felt like a Scottish affair at all.

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