Monday, March 29, 2010

Almost midnight! * 24 Weeks

I just realized that I only had a few more minutes to squeeze a post into this week before the clock strikes twelve! And so, here I am! What Scottish insights do I have for this week?

Well, I don't have much. It's been a busy and somewhat trying week. I won't elaborate at the moment (just to sound mysterious) but at times of trial can one not think of the legendary tale of Robert the Bruce and the spider? When he wanted to give up, hiding in a cave, after suffering altercations with the English, he observed a spider trying to spin its web in the difficult surroundings of the cave. This determined spider failed time and again, but persisted. Finally it succeeded. This gave Robert the courage to go on. He raised an army and fought against the English, and this time was successful. This is a legend, and therefore may never have happened. I like to think that it did happen. And in any case, it is a heartening story for anyone, and confirms the old adage: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Musings on St. Patrick's Day: 25 weeks

This past week, as we all know, was St. Patrick's Day. Although it is an Irish holiday, it has been an enormous part of my (and my siblings) life. Ever since I can remember we have celebrated St. Patrick's Day.

Every year the leprechauns visited our house to wreak havoc: making a mess of the house and leaving us notes and presents. We would cap off the evening by watching the ever wonderful Disney Classic DARBY O'GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE. I grew up with a healthy respect for banshees, I can tell you.

This year, a few days before St. Patrick's Day, I discovered a book of Heather's called CELTIC CHRISTIANITY, which I thought was rather appropriate to read at this time of the year, as it talks about such notables as St. Patrick, and St. Columba. There were some very interesting stories in this small volume. In a poem attributed to Columba, a phrase "caught my eye" so-to-speak:

"That I might search the books all,
That would be good for my soul;
At times kneeling to beloved Heaven;
At times psalm singing;
At times contemplating the King of Heaven,
Holy the Chief..."

This put me in mind of two things, the first from the Doctrine & Covenants, which (more than once) urges us to " ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith..." (D&C 88 and 109)
And also a line from the Proclaimers song 'Sunshine on Leith': "While the Chief puts sunshine on Leith I'll thank him for his work..."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Blood is Strong: Part Two (26 weeks)

I'm not sure that I was planning a second part to my earlier post of this title, but an email that Dylan wrote to me has stayed with me so strongly that I felt I should share it.

Dylan is(as you will see) a very moving writer. I hadn't known, 'til now, how deeply he felt these same things. As he is my nephew(more like a brother, really) it makes me very happy to hear these feelings expressed so beautifully and seriously. Hoping he does not mind my quoting him, he writes:

"Something in my soul yearns for the memories of the early growing church, at a time after apostasy, but still so close to the original truth. Something before the 'Catholic' church, but after the Apostasy. My guess is that perhaps our ancestors started accepting Christ around this time.
I feel this excitement and yearning, and I use it to fuel my desire to do the work of the Lord. Yet part of me is still Pagan, deep in me, wanting to participate in the old traditions and ways of our wayward ancestors. It envelopes my bloodstream, like the salt which is in the sea, and the mist in the air of the Celtic lands. Older than the Romans, older than the Greeks, being off to ourselves with our Pagan gods even ages before the Birth of the Christ, come to save us all. We waited in our green lands with our unseen gods, and came unto Christ based upon what little we had of Him, but through this all, we liked our old ways, instilled in our blood.
That blood still runs through our veins, but now we have the fullness of the Christ, and we still yearn for the old ways. I try to turn this yearning towards learning more of the truth, our ancestors didn't have all the truth. They must have found the end of those lacking truths, and filled it with what they already knew."

Monday, March 8, 2010

"She likes to shimmy with me and her mother does too." Jack Buchanan and 27 weeks.

Firstly, I have resolved henceforth to stop apologizing for missing a week here and there on my blog. I have been fairly successful in keeping up, and therefore believe that missing an odd week is natural, understandable, and forgivable. I hope you agree with me.

Secondly, I thought it was high time to mention a charming Scot, Jack Buchanan (though, ironically enough he was known for his image as an impeccable Englishman - gasp!). He was a big star in the 1920's. What put me in mind of Jack Buchanan was a 1920's musical Heather and I watched recently. It was a silly, delightful romp (French, actually, but I feel bold enough to mention it given the "Auld Alliance" and all that!) and it made me miss the old days when I had Twenties fever, and tried to live and dress as though that era had never passed.

Jack Buchanan got his big break in 1921, in the stage production A to Z, in which he sang the Ivor Novello song "And Her Mother Came Too" (Jeremy Northam does a charming performance of this in GOSFORD PARK, in which he plays Ivor Novello). I first heard the dulcet tones of Mr. Buchanan when my sister Morag brought back the "Pennies From Heaven" soundtrack from England, when I was just thirteen years old. On that he sings a comic song called "Sweet So-and-So". I wasn't hooked, however, until three years later, when I got a CD for Christmas of 1920's tunes, on which he sings "Who?" with Binnie Hale. I was enchanted, transfixed by the song. I didn't stop 'til I had a whole CD of just Jack Buchanan, with other gems such as "Dapper Dan" and "Weep No More, My Baby". He is best known in American circles, in his role in BAND WAGON(1953), but I like to think of him as he was in the 1920's and '30's singing songs worthy of Bertie Wooster, and exchanging delightful dialogue with Elsie Randolph, such as:
Jack: What are you doing here?
Elsie: I'm waiting for Bill.
Jack: Bill?!
Elsie: I rather think I'm just a tiny bit in love with him.
Jack: Don't be silly, you hardly know him.
Elsie: Darling, you don't have to know a millionaire to be in love with one.
Jack: Oh, I see, little wise bird. It's the money.
Elsie: No, my lamb, it's the weather!