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Campbell/Buchanan Wedding


A CAMPBELL/BUCHANAN WEDDING
By Mike & Cindy Thames

On Saturday August 31st, 2002, at the Pleasanton Highland Games, a happy event occurred for all to see. Michael D. Thames, the Northern California Deputy Commissioner for the Clan Campbell Society NA, married me, Cynthia Lynn Philippi, a Watson. The ceremony was held on the front lawn of the Heritage House, located right in the heart of the Alameda County Fair Grounds. There was so much involved in the planning of this event that it was a miracle it ever got off the ground. The greatest effort was the coordination between the various entertainment groups that were to be performing that day. There were the Scottish country dancers, a difficult group to deal with under normal circumstances, the competing pipe bands, and all who supplied us with the various necessities for family and friends such as cake, food, flowers and music. But the gentlemen of the Caledonia Club of San Francisco (the event organizers) came through with flying colors and a level of support and cooperation that all involved were astounded at. They made sure things were physically arranged so that all of us could have our events and not drown each other out or steal each otherís shows.

At approximately 11:15 a.m. the ceremony started off with Mike reading a poetic blessing and then we turned it all over to the minister. The ministerís name was Stuart Sykes. Yes a Stewart wearing the Royal Stewart Tartan. The Best Man was Jeff Campbell, Mikeís partner-in-crime at the Campbell tent. The Groomsman was Dan Isdell of Clan Wallace and provider of comic relief. At my brideís side was the Matron of Honor Marian Gibbons, (a Campbell married to a Buchanan) and who came filled with great advice. The Bridesmaid was Susan Spiegel of Clan Henderson of Glencoe, the Dressmaker for the bridal party.

The ceremony was uniquely poetic, lighthearted and specifically intended for all to enjoy. Richard Brown (Clan Campbell and one of the Highland Mercenaries) was the commander of the sword guard that stood at attention at the front of the guests and along the perimeter. The guard consisted of various friends from the clans (Buchanan, Stewart, MacIntosh, Chattan, Gunn, Cameron, MacFarlane, et al.) as well as a few members of the St. Andrewís Renaissance Guild, their Irish House and The Scottish American Military Society, of which I am a member. Lest we should forget there was also the Legio X Fretensis, a group of Roman Legionaries strategically placed across from their Caledonian counterparts, a wild band of Celtic/Pictish warriors.

Mike & Cindy Thames Wedding
Mike & Cindy Thames Wedding Guard

During the ceremony, the minister asked if anyone present objected to the marriage. At Mikeís command, Richard barked an order. At once, the men of the sword guard all pulled their weapons and pretended to look threateningly at the crowd. While laughter erupted everywhere, there certainly were no objections! The minister asked me the typical questions to which I replied "I do." each time. Mike, however, hesitated to ponder about sharing any fortune and stated "Iím thinking it over. " But after teasing so, said "I do!" loudly for the crowd. Then the minister said those fateful words, "Now, Groom, place the Campbell Tartan on your bride." Suddenly, a loud and resounding "BOO!" came from the crowd and once done, they laughed heartily at themselves. Next was the sharing of the Quaiche Cup filled with Campbelltown Scotch. We drank and when finished Mike turned the cup over and kissed the bottom and handed it back to the Best Man. Jeff Campbell immediately exclaimed, "Whereís mine?" In an interesting addition, the Minister then asked the crowd for their agreement if we were married. They all proclaimed loudly, "YES!!!"

Just before exiting, Richard Brown stepped forward with flintlock pistol in hand stating "We now welcome a new soul into the Clan Campbell!" and fired off a shot. We jumped over a sword to symbolize our cutting away the past and beginning our new life together. The exit music was an instrumental piece called "Soup of the Day" (Get the implied joke? Campbellís, Soup of the Day?) performed by the Old Blind Dogs, a toe-tapping little ditty played on the small pipes. As we got ĺ of the way back down the aisle now lined with a sword arch a mile long, we stopped and did a little boogey dance. We were followed closely by the wedding party who skipped out. Seeing 6í 5 Ĺ" Dan skipping next to 5í2" Susan was a riot.

Still in our wedding clothes, we proceeded directly to the clan march and a further humorous detail followed us there. Followed us literally. I had had the idea of tying tin cans to our backsides. They dragged along loudly as we passed the reviewing stand. Alan Purves (the announcer) was surprised to see a newly married couple pass by without having been given a headís up about it. He stated aloud this surprise and told the crowd to welcome the Bride and Groom! Mind you, there was a representative of the Duke of Montrose at the games and he had a large grin when he saluted our passing, Mike being an Argyll.

With the cans dragging and clanking loudly, we marched back out of the stadium and all the way back to the Heritage House, where we had the reception. I targeted Susan for the bouquet and with a good aim, tossed them straight to her. Mike shot back the garter and all the men scrambled for it. There were toasts to our health and cake and chilled champagne. Afterward we accepted tons of best wishes. Finally, at 3:30, as the mercury soared to 100 degrees, we changed out of our wedding clothes and retired to our clan tents.

Boy, what a day at the games!