When I was little – really, really little – we started attending the Modesto Highland games to celebrate my birthday. I was so very young I don’t remember how it all came to pass or who went. But as I got older and my memories more solid, Nana Joyce and Papa Bill were always with us. Papa liked the pipes and beer and ladies in costume (don’t tell him I mentioned that part . . . ). Nana liked the clan tents, the Scottie Dogs and the highland dancing. I loved it all.
In high school, we took it up a notch and began to attend other games. We even donned the tartan and then, even later their were kilts to be worn and booths to man.
The games are a big deal.
Meanwhile, MY family knows nothing about them. Sure, we’ve been in Rapid but those aren’t really games. And they’ve never seen either of the Papas in their kilts in person.
Through all the memorial plans and sadness of last week, the thought lingered at the edge – the Sonora Celtic Faire was this weekend. While we focused on obits and programs and songs for a service, it wouldn’t leave. And then, when all was said and done and we were exhausted to the bone, Papa said it.
“Yeah. I think I would like to go . . . ”
So go we did. Aunt Cristie pointed out that most people wouldn’t understand this, how we could get dudded up and make plans about what we’d eat and what sort of beers we’d drink, you know, less than a week after a death.
But then, we’re not most people. And Nana would have wanted it this way.
Into the cool mountain air we drove and spent a lovely day. We were presented to the Queen and received her favour. We met early Celts, violent Vikings and knights in armor. Guinness was consumed, kilts were worn (even by Jac!) and faces were painted. We saw real live jousting with enormous horses and burly men who broke lance after lance and were as tough as any rodeo star. We watched cabers being tossed and hammers being thrown. We listened to pipes and drums and fiddles and harps and came home to tired and so full of joy that we all napped well into the evening.
Well, all of us except Ellie who had the time of her life and couldn’t wind down for the life of her.
And Nana? I wish she could have been there to experience it WITH the kids. But as a tribute yesterday was pretty fair.
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