Back in the day, way back in the day, the Irish used to wear kilts. I’m talking literally hundreds of years ago, but then we quit. Given the weather at home, I’m not surprised. The winter’s been so bad I was talking to Mum the other day on the phone and in the background I could hear the birds, coughing. She was telling me that the local farmer down the road said it was so cold in January that his hens were laying eggs from a kneeling position.
You people don’t realize how far north Ireland really is, we’re up there with northern Canada. Granted, thanks to the Gulf Stream, we don’t get severe winters. We’d only get snow, maybe once every ten years. But, it’s cold and it’s windy. ‘Tis no weather to be going out in a kilt I can tell ye.” So we quit wearing them. I can just imagine medieval Paddy and Seamus standing outside the village inn, waiting for it to open, and there they are, clad in their kilts, and ‘tis a miserable November day. At one point one of them must have turned to the other and said something like “Do ya know what? This is total rubbish! Standing around here in the driving rain and howling wind with a massive updraft. The auld three-piece-suite is suffering something awful.” And so, they quit. They gave up wearing the kilt because it just didn’t make any sense at all. Of course the Scots did not get the memo, and they’ve continued to sport them to this day. (Incidentally, they also didn’t get the memo about not barbequing your whiskey, but we’ll leave that for another day)
Occassionally, for ceremonial purposes, I will don my kilt. The Minden Tartan Festival is coming up Saturday, April 5 and I’ll be there working as emcee, sporting my kilt. I’ve also got to help adjudicate the Bonny Knees competition, one of the highlights of the festival. This involves men coming up on the stage wearing their kilts, and then a woman is selected at random from the audience. The men line up, the poor woman is blindfolded and then she’s invited to judge the men’s knees to see who has the Bonniest Knees. She does this be feeling, caressing, stroking the men’s knees. Hilarious stuff it is, too.
So why don’t you come along? There’s a ton of other all things Scottish going on, you’ll get to see the highland cattle, there’s a hayride, and there’s great live music. All very, very family friendly – a great day out for all. This will be my fifth or sixth time going along and I love it. Hopefully, we’ll see you there.
I’ll leave you with this true anecdote. While teaching second grade, one day I went to school dressed in my kilt to celebrate Multicultural Day. My kids were enthralled of course. However, I did overhear the following conversation in the lunchroom between a third grade bully and one of my second grade boys. The third grade bully says to my wee fellow, “Your teacher, he’s wearing a dress”. At which point, the wee lad in my class retorted, “He ain’t wearing no dress. He wearing a QUILT!” I was so proud of the lad for taking up for me I didn’t bother to correct him.
Brian O’ Nuanain runs “Across The Pond And Beyond”, a company that organizes international vacations. You can reach him at acrossthepondandbeyond.com