It’s a glorious day to be a Scot! It’s the 255th birthday of the Bard of Scotland, Robert Burns. Even as I type, Scots around the world have begun the traditional Burns supper, more observed than the national holiday in honor of Andy’s namesake, St. Andrew.
So, let’s say the traditional Selkirk Grace to begin the celebration!
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae let the Lord be thankit.
Though I’ll skip the haggis, I won’t forget the Scotch!
Further, on a Scottish theme, when I discussed funeral details with my Mom a couple years before she died, we agreed that there was one thing that needed to be included, “A Scottish Rendition of the 23rd Psalm”, a text version of which my Scottish immigrant grandmother had hanging in her front room as long as I can remember. After she moved in with us on Mississippi Avenue, it was a possession that came with her. After 2004, it would hang on a wall of the apartment I now occupy, no less treasured for its family associations.
I had a meeting with our pastor to discuss Mom’s funeral arrangements well before she died so those details would be in his file, a time and stress saver for him and me when that terrible time came.
I mentioned Mom’s wish to have the video of her singing the “Barney Google” song, which pastor agreed would capture a lot of Mom’s good humor, therefore was appropriate. Other details, mundane sorts of things like hymns, the theme of pastor’s funeral sermon, and Bible verses she wanted included in the service quickly fell into place.
I had the framed Scottish 23rd Psalm with me when I met with our pastor that day. I told pastor the history of this version of the 23rd Psalm. It was something Mom and the family absolutely wanted included in the service…. I told pastor not only was this Scottish rendition of a beloved Psalm a connection with her mother, it was a family treasure. Mom wanted it included in the service and she wanted the pastor to read it!
I handed it to pastor so he could familiarize himself with the task:
Pastor took me at my word. A frown crossed his face. He didn’t want to disappoint the family, if possible, but…! He would have to read this unreadable text, in Scottish dialect, as written, at Mom’s funeral. Mom and the family expected it!
Well, Mom got a huge laugh out of this story when I reported back to her the next time I visited her at the care center. So did pastor once he realized we weren’t serious about him tackling the Psalm in this exotic form! The standard King James version proved just fine when the time came! The Scottish version, above, was printed in the funeral pamphlet for people to see and attempt to read, though I doubt any tried to read it out loud.
Here’s a small sample of Robert Burns poems set to music. Strong men cry, their women swoon. No Scot is immune to Robbie Burns!