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The Gathering o’ the Mustelids

clanmacstoat.jpgSo, why does Clan Weasel gather here every year? This is why: the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, the largest Scottish games outside Scotland. It started in 1956, about the same time my father and grandfather built the original hunting cabin on the side of the mountain. My dad hasn’t missed the games since.

He hasn’t been to the actual games in years (and neither have I, for that matter). But he wears the tartan hat with the ribbons and deedly-ball on, and stumps around rolling his R’s and saying “wha hae!” and drinking whiskey.

The joke is, as far as anyone knows, there’s not a drop of Scots blood in my dad. He descends from a line of pasty English people who were deported to Virginia in the 18th Century for either religious nutcasery or poaching, depending on who you ask.

My mother’s family traces its origins to a Scot, however. Clan MacStoat will be there. I think our clan motto is “another wee dram won’t kill me.”

When I were a puppy, some damn fool bought me the whole suit, with the jacket and the knee socks and everything. I loved that thing. I swaggered around in it long after I’d outgrown it. By the end, I bobbled out of the seams like some obscene tartan sausage.

There will be ALL KINDS of merchandise on offer up the mountain. If you’re bored some day, pick a Scots surname and Google for the original version of the family coat of arms, and compare it to the Americanized version. The American version always has twice as much shit on it, with extra tinsel and sparklies and unicorns and orcs. Like it came out of the Society for Creative Anachronism’s prom decoration committee.

And that’s what we’re not doing Tuesday.

July 10, 2007 — 1:18 am
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