"Iím so excited about going
to the parade today, Dad," said Gordon.
"Iím excited about the
activities in the park afterwards," Jessica said. "I love walking around
and looking at all the booths and I love the food too."
"Letís be on our way then,"
said Duncan Menteith. His family piled into the car and off they went.
"When did you come to
America, Dad?" Gordon asked.
"I was about ten years old.
It seems so long ago, yet I remember Scotland well," he answered.
"Mum, were you born in
Scotland too?" Jessica questioned.
"No, honey. I was born
here, in the good old U.S.A. I met your dad at school. I do know a lot
about Scotland now. I think I can sing every Scottish song there is,"
They chatted and reminisced
all the way to the park. When they pulled up into the parking lot, Jessica
cried out, "Look, Dad. Thereís a whole bunch of bagpipers! Theyíre wearing
kilts!" She started laughing. "That is so funny to see men wearing skirts,
isnít it, Gordon?"
"Iíd never wear a skirt.
Did you ever wear one, Dad?" he asked.
"When I was wee, my Gran
bought me a kilt. I donít remember wearing it, but Iíve got photographs at
home that prove I did," he answered.
They found a place to sit
and watch the parade. Elise had brought a tartan blanket for them to sit
on, instead of the grass. Gordon looked around. His eyes seemed to bulge
with fascination at everything going on. There was tartan everywhere he
looked. Tartan ribbons were tied on the lampposts; people in the crowds
were wearing so many different types of tartan that Gordon started feeling
"The parade will start
soon," Dad said.
"What is Tartan Day
anyway?" asked Jessica.
"Silly Jessica. Itís when
everyone wears their tartan clothes. Isnít that right, Mum?" Gordon asked.
"Actually, no, thatís not
right. Itís part of the festivities, but Tartan Day is a special Day. Do
you want to know?" Elise asked her children.
"Yes, Mum. Tell us!"
"I believe the first
national Tartan Day was on April 6, 1997. Itís a day to honor the men and
women from Scotland who did something great to help America. People who
are from Scotland and now live in America, or who are of Scottish decent,
are called Scottish Americans. Thatís what your dad is. Did you know that
more than half of the Presidents of the United States were of Scottish
descent?" Elise explained.
"No, I didnít know that,
Mum. Wow. Thatís a lot," Jessica said, interested in what her mum was
"More than half of the
signers of the Declaration of Independence were Scottish Americans too,"
she continued. "You may not know this but a lot of Scottish people
invented things that are still used today."
"Like what, Mum?" Gordon
"Well, there are a lot of
famous people from Scotland that you would know. Sheena Easton, the
singer? Sheís from Scotland. The founder of the Girl Scouts of America,
Juliette Gordon Low was of Scottish descent, so was Elizabeth Taylor, the
movie star, Grandma Moses, the painter, and Sean Connery. Youíve heard of
them, havenít you?" she asked.
"Iíve heard of some of
them, Mum, but not all. They didnít invent things, though. Theyíre just
famous people," Gordon reminded.
"Yes, thereís also
Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone and James Watt, who
invented the steam engine. They are both Scottish. Thereís so many; too
many to mention," Elise continued. The pipe band started warming up and
moving down the street towards them. "Letís watch the parade now. I love
the pipe bands!"
Gordon and Jessica sat,
eyes fixed on the parade. There were pipers marching by constantly. Gordon
put his hands over his ears because he didnít like the shrill noise of the
bagpipes. There were floats and clowns tossing out candy to the children.
Jessicaís favorite float had Highland dancers on it. Gordonís favorite
float was one with men dressed like Highland warriors, with battle gear
and painted faces.
When the parade was done
they headed into the park. They went to all the booths. One sold books
about Scottish history and clans. Duncan bought the Menteith family
history. He wanted to read about his ancestors. He also bought a tartan
tie. Elise and Jessica left Gordon and Duncan there and went to find some
food. They came back with a big bag, filled with goodies. "Letís go and
find a picnic table," Elise said.
The family found one under
a large willow tree. She opened the bag. "Weíve got some delicious food
here. I hope you are all hungry."
"Iím starving," said
"Me too," Jessica chimed
Elise handed each of them a
bridie. The flaky crust, shaped like a half moon, was filled with cheese
and bits of onion and meat. "This is delicious," Duncan said, wiping his
There were meat pies, more
bridies and lots of pastries and shortbread. "This is yummy food," Gordon
said. "I wish we could eat Scottish food all the time," he laughed.
After they finished eating,
they watched a performance by the Highland dancers, a Scottish fiddle
concert and joined in a sing-a-long. Gordon and Jessica knew most of the
songs because their mum and dad always played them in the house. "That was
fun," Jessica said.
After a long day, they
headed for home. Gordon and Jessica fell asleep in the back of the car.
Duncan and Elise talked. "Letís do that again next year," she said. "That
was the best time weíve had as a family in ages. I think the kids are
proud to be Scottish, donít you?"
"I know that I am," Duncan
said, pride swelling in his heart. They put a CD on in the car and
listened quietly as they drove back home.
See Electric Scotland's page on Tartan Day