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The Saint Andrewís Society of Atlantaís Tartan Day Reception


Frank R. Shaw, FSA Scot, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Sunday, April 6, 2003

The invitation was very impressive. It stated in part:

"Her Britannic Majestyís Consul General and Mrs. Michael Bates request the pleasure of your company at a Tartan Reception and Ceilidh at their residence.

Dress: Black Tie or Highland Evening Wear."

Well, you can bet your bottom dollar I was not going to miss that affair, so I dusted off my trews and doublet, grabbed my wife Susan, and headed for a night of fun, food and dancing. The rain held off until we were all inside, safe and dry. The Honorable Michael Bates and his lovely wife Janice welcomed everyone. Dr. Ephraim McLean, President of the Saint Andrewís Society of Atlanta, read the proclamation designating April 6th as Tartan Day. Toasts were made to our President, the Queen, the Tartan, and to troops on both sides of the pond. Yours truly was asked to toast Scotland, and for me, it doesnít get any better than that. I thank my buddy, Alastair McIntyre in Scotland, for his suggestion of heather as the subject for my toast. Gary Ermatlu, private piper for His Grace, the Duke of Montrose, was our piper, and the John Mohr Mackintosh Pipe Band provided us with outstanding Scottish music. Representatives from The Atlanta Burns Club of Atlanta, Edinburgh, and the Scottish Country Dance Society were also in attendance.

With the formal business out of the way, and with gracious thanks to our host and hostess for opening their beautiful home to over 150 mildly wild partying Scots, Richard Graham, right hand of the Duke of Montrose here in the United States, presented a rare copy of R. R. McIanís book, The Clans of the Scottish Highlands, to Britainís number one couple in Atlanta. Now it was time for the serious part of the evening - food and drink and dancing. The food was top drawer, and the wee drams flowed freely. Robert Burns would have been happy that evening because auld acquaintances were not forgotten and did meet again! The music started with a few Scottish reels, and the dancing began. Some great and grand old music from the 60s and 70s topped out the evening. There were no better dancers present than our host and hostess. In fact, Michael Bates can flat cut a rug, period! I havenít seen such high kicks since my last trip to Radio City Music Hall. In fact, I havenít seen dancing like that since my high school years when I would hitchhike to Myrtle Beach, SC from my home in Mullins, 46 miles away, to watch a new dance called "The Shag". As natives of New Orleans say, "Laissez les bon temps rouler," or "Let the good times roll," and boy did they ever! Simply put, it was a beautiful evening. Kate Graham, Richardís "Red Rose", planned a wonderful party for all of us to enjoy. Iíll go back next year if three things happen: (1) Mr. and Mrs. Bates will have us back; (2) Iím invited; and (3) Kate Graham is in charge of planning another "Affair to Remember". (Frank R. Shaw 5-14-03)


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