Tag Archives: Scotland the Brave

Boston, MA ~ June 3 to June 5, 2016

Just before I went to the ACS Conference in Baltimore, we found out that Tom’s youngest brother, Bill had died, which was a major shock to all of us.  He’d had Polycystic Kidney Disease and been on dialysis for quite a while.  He decided to go for a kidney transplant so he could spend more quality time with his grandchildren.

Tom and I decided I should go to the conference anyway and we’d drive to Boston when that was over.

At noon, I was waiting in the lobby of the hotel and Tom called.  My ringtone is Scotland the Brave and the woman waiting near me couldn’t miss the bagpipes.  She said her dad had been a pipe major.  Small world!

Tom rented a big black SUV and, when he drove up to the hotel to pick me up, he was told he had to stand (park) elsewhere with the other Uber drivers.  LOL

It took a little while to get used to this big, different car.  The first day, I accidentally called OnStar once and had to convince them that there was no emergency – and they called me on my phone.  I guess if it was a really emergency, that would be great but it was a little scary.  The OnStar button was very easy to hit – it was directly on the rearview mirror so when we adjusted the mirror, OnStar was called.

on-star

 

We stopped at a Bagel place in Baltimore then headed out to Boston while  Michael took the train from NYC.  We both turned on our iPhone location services so we could all keep track of who was there.

 

Lots of memories driving into Boston.  One I’ll never forget.  It’s a Shaw’s grocery store now but it used to be a hotel in Newton.  And it’s built straddling the Mass Pike.  And, it used to have many more floors.

When Michael was very young we stayed at this hotel, probably Howard Johnsons, over New Year’s weekend.  Tom was out visiting a college buddy and, around midnight, someone had some “fun” setting off the fire alarm.  Of course, I couldn’t find Michael’s shoes, so I picked him up and carried him down about 1o or so flights of stairs, into the snow.

Ever after, we have had a “Shoes by the Door” rule, especially in hotels!

howard-johnson

Boston-Newton, Massachusetts 320 Washington St

Construction began in May of 1969 on Newton which included a Motor Lodge, Red Coach Grill and Howard Johnson’s Restaurant. Plans called for a 12-story lodge with 271 rooms on the third through twelfth floors. Moreover the lobby featured 2-stories with a mezzanine floor for conference rooms. ~ from http://www.highwayhost.org/Massachusetts/Boston/Newton/newton1.html

And today, which brought the flood of memories:

Shaw's_over_the_Massachusetts_Turnpike,_Newtonville_MA

 

Getting close to Boston, we could see the Citgo Sign in Kenmore Square.

I was always very proud of my paternal grandmother.

In the early part of the last century she had been living in Scotland with her husband and they had a young son – my father.

My grandfather was in the Black Watch during World War I, and he was killed in Peshawar, India.

My grandmother left her life and family in Scotland and sailed to the United States with  my dad when he was only 5.  We have pictures of him disembarking in his little kilt!

I cannot imagine having her courage, leaving home with a small child, and starting life anew in a completely foreign country.

Many years later, when I was a freshman in college, my grandmother died the week before Christmas.

I remember sitting in Waterman’s Funeral Home in Kenmore Square, Boston watching the Citgo sign cycle through its neon pattern.  No one but our very small family attended her calling hours.

 

The funeral was a bit better.  A few folks took the time to honor this brave woman.

A week later, we celebrated Christmas “because that’s what Nana would have wanted”.  Even then, I thought that she probably would have liked to see more caring people around her, while she was alive.

~~~

From http://www.celebrateboston.com/strange/citgo-sign.htm:

The current beacon on Beacon Street is the giant Citgo Sign. It has been a Boston landmark since 1940. The sign had originally said Cities Service, and was changed to the new logo in 1965 (with nearly 6,000 neon bulbs added). The sign is visible from great distances on both sides of the Charles River, especially as one approaches the city from the west…

 

Meanwhile, Michael was already in Boston and he took the T (subway) to our AirBnB in Savin Hill and got Chinese food.  He saw us arrive and try to park on the narrow, hilly street outside and came out to help us bring in the luggage.

It was an adorable place and I especially loved this reading chair.

IMG_1923

 

The AirBnb was on Grampian Way and we stayed near the Grampian Mountains in Scotland last year.  Small world!

Saturday, June 4

Saturday was a busy day.  First up were the calling hours, where we saw friends and relatives we hadn’t seen in years.  Michael hadn’t seen some of them since he was a young child.  The funeral home parking attendant informed me that our SUV wasn’t black, but some exotic shade like granite.  Fine.

We all drove to the Funeral at St. Anthony’s Church in Everett.  It was a very touching, emotional service for everyone.  When we left, the funeral home disbursed bottle of water to everyone…and left.  There was no procession to a cemetery or anywhere.

We got maps to the Casa Lucia restaurant West Revere and a whole line of people followed behind us.  Luckily, we didn’t get lost!  The hall was upstairs, though, and my knee gave me a bit of trouble 😦

After a very nice Italian buffet, one of Bill’s doctors (who had been sitting at our table) got up front and told us about how Bill had worked with medical students at Harvard for over 20 years, telling the patient side of Polycystic Kidney Disease.  He had slides prepared and was very helpful with the hundreds of students he’d reached.

Michael said that he had to get back to New York to finish up some work so we left the restaurant and headed back to the AirBnb for his stuff, then to North Station for Amtrak.

On the way back, we stopped at the beach near South Boston.  It was a chilly day but lots of folks were out enjoying the sun. Lots of memories there, too!

IMG_0074 IMG_1919 IMG_1920

 

Off to the Stop and Shop to get something for dinner and snacks for the road then…nap finally.

 

Sunday, June 5

When we were leaving, there were lots of police around and they were closing off streets.  Turns out it was the Dorchester Day Parade.  Who knew there was such a day?  Apparently, many people.  This was the 112th parade, 53rd Continuous Parade since 1963. 

I can’t find a video (yet) for 2016 but this is from last year.

 

On the way home there was pouring rain in New Jersey so we got home very late.

keep-calm-cause-we-made-it-home

 

 

A Bit of Scotland Coming to NYC

tartan-parade

 

Until I saw this article in an online Scottish newspaper, I had never heard of Tartan Week in NYC.  This year, we’ll be going for part of it anyway!

http://www.scotland.org/whats-on/scotland-week/tartan-day-parade/

Tartan Day Parade 2016

The annual Tartan Day Parade takes place on 6th Avenue on April 9 and is the stalwart of the Scotland Week calendar.

Led by a Grand Marshal, the parade will bring together pipers and drummers from all over the world in a celebration of the contribution made to the USA by the Scots. Past marshals have include Sir Sean Connery, Scots-born actors Brian Cox, Kevin McKidd and Alan Cumming and former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg. This year’s Grand Marshal is Outlander star Sam Heughan.

Tartan Day has been celebrated since 1998. Over the years it has been expanded into a week-long programme of events promoting Scotland in North America.

The official parade tartan has been designed by the Scottish Tartans Authority, funded by the Scottish Registers of Tartan and its registration donated by the National Records of Scotland. Its colours and pattern represent aspects of Scottish and American culture such as the blue and white of the Saltire and the green of the trees bordering 6th Avenue where the parade takes place.

 

From http://nyctartanweek.org/the-origins-of-new-yorks-tartan-day/

The Origins of New York’s Tartan Day Parade

In 1999, the first Tartan Day Parade, consisting of two pipe bands and a small but spirited group of Scottish Americans, including Grand Marshall Cliff Robertson, walked from the British Consulate to the United Nations. Since then it has flourished to include many bands and thousands of participants.

In 2002, the Parade was brought to Sixth Avenue for the first time. This Parade attracted a record number of pipe bands from all over the world and was led by Sir Sean Connery and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The National Tartan Day New York Committee was founded by three New York-based Scottish-American organizations: the Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York, founded in 1756; the New York Caledonian Club, 1856; and the American-Scottish Foundation®, 1956. Since 2002, the Committee has grown to include Clan Campbell. The NTDNYC, which has non-profit 501(c)(3) status, is charged with maintaining and perpetuating the New York Tartan Day Parade and coordinating the events that complement it.

Poor DH may be “pipered out”, if that’s at all possible, since we went to the Edinburgh Tattoo last summer, we’ll be going again this August and we’ll be going to the Virginia International Tattoo two weeks after the Tartan Day Parade. As far as I’m concerned, there can never be too many bagpipes 🙂

It’s funny how I found the Virginia Tattoo.  I’d never heard of them, even though we live in Virginia.  When I was writing up the blog posts for last summer’s Edinburgh Tattoo, I looked up info about the Top Secret Drum Corps which I’d loved.  Turns out, they’re going to be at the Virginia version this year – so we’re going, too!

 

The Parade starts at 2.00pm at West 45th Street and marches up 6th Avenue to 55th Street.

Once again, we’ll be using Airbnb since it worked out so well for us last time we went to NYC.  We have arranged to use Airbnbs for our next 2 trips, too.


Just throwing in this video because I love it, it has piano – and pipers!  This took place in the fantastic Eilean Donan Castle.

From the wonderful Piano Guys, This is Your Fight Song.  I have seen this countless times and I am always so moved for the beauty of the Highlands countryside, the piano, cello, bagpipes, drums, the intertwining of Amazing Grace and Scotland The Brave with the original Fight Song.

 

They wrote in the notes:

When we first heard Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” we were inspired by its message. In a world where we too often talk about our differences, we have at least one thing in common. We all struggle. Not in the same way, nor at the same level, but we all want a fighting chance. And we all share in one gift: The will to make the most of our lives. To take what we’ve been given and turn it into something better could be considered the sentient measuring stick of success. But to do so seldom is simple and more often requires we fight. Not against each other. But against the current threatening to drown the ambition in us.

There is tremendous purpose in struggle. It is when the struggle becomes so fierce that we must fight to swim or sink. John Newton, who penned “Amazing Grace,” worked on a slave trader ship and condoned inhuman atrocities. As his ship was on the verge of being torn apart in a violent storm he called out for Grace. Once his feet were again planted on firm soil he determined to change. His covenant was written into these words,

“I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see.”

Grace is the defining moment when we face and fight a monster poised to define us or destroy us.

This song and video for us was a struggle, but a beautifully defining one. We chose the Scottish culture to depict the dichotomy between Grace and struggle. Who else is tough enough and yet delicate enough to don a kilt in battle? And the Scottish pipe and drum are the ultimate conveyors of melody and cadence. One represents Grace, the other the indomitable fight. Our dream was to film one of the most iconic castles on the Earth, Eilean Donan Castle in Dornie, Scotland.

Grace somehow made this video possible. We had to postpone our trip to Scotland several times, and when we could no longer postpone we had to leap in faith because just before we left everything had fallen through. It wasn’t until we were in the moment and had to let go of our pride and anxiety when everything Gracefully came together.

We recognize that this video is far less important than a fight for one’s life. We hope this music will serve as an anthem for those that are in the fight of their lives. We have people close to us who inspire us every day with their grace in the face of such a struggle. This video is dedicated to them: The superheroes in our lives that don’t wear capes, but wear a smile under villainous pressure — those that have been through so many defining moments that they are intimately acquainted with Grace and know it to be close cousins with hope. We pray “Grace will bring them safely through.”

 

Love you, Grandpa!

Love you, Grandpa!

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