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Charlotte Juarez's Going Home
Friday, March 28 - Going to Glasgow

March 28th, 2003

After a good night’s sleep, we woke to a seriously misty, moisty morning. But, again, by leaving around 10, we gave the weather a little time to clear.

After breakfast we headed toward Stirling via Forfar. We passed roads leading to the little villages of Johnshaven, Laurencekirk and Edzell. I took a moment to reflect on 38 years ago when I met John about the tenth of April through John’s Chief and his wife based at the US Naval Security Group Activity at RAF Edzell and John’s friends and their wives and families living in the areas around Forfar, Brechin and Montrose.

Steve stopped in Forfar and we took an hour or so to walk around this friendly little market town, buy bridies (of course) and cakes and, once more, catch the spirit of my Scotland.

I found a little pet shop where I bought my Skye terrier, Angus, a Black Watch collar and lead and joined in a conversation with the owner and one of his customers whose son is in training nearby at Barry Buddon to go to the Gulf to war. He’s a young Black Watch soldier. I pray he comes home safely.
We got to Stirling (via Dundee) about 1:30 in the afternoon and elected to go to the Castle. That suited me fine because I’d visited the Wallace Monument with my family. On the way to the Castle, past Stirling Brig and through the town, we saw University students and their families celebrating this great milestone in their lives. Made me think of my own and of my son-in-law, Denny (Alys’ husband) who will soon be graduating himself from Arizona State University West, with his mathematics teaching degree and credential. I’m proud of him and I’m proud of my fine daughter and her small children who have supported him as he’s worked so hard to do this. He’s a good husband to my daughter and terrific father to my grandchildren. God bless them both.

Stirling Castle is definitely worth the visit – especially the kitchens, the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders Museum, the Royal Apartments and the Great Hall. I usually don’t like guided tours because they can make me feel too “organized.” I lose my sense of adventure and discovery from being able to roam around, but I took the tour here and was really glad I did.

The tour was very informative and attention keeping – especially about recent excavations and discoveries and the ongoing renovations to depict the castle in its James V and Mary of Guise heyday – especially the tapestry weaving demonstration and re-creation that’s progressing on site right now. But the sight I loved the best was one, taken from the ramparts, as I looked down to the courtyard of the Castle, where a mother and granny were taking a wee lass for their tour. The little girl’s granny was holding her firmly and safely not by the hand, or by a wrist strap as I’ve seen in the United States, but by the bands of a little harness over her chest. I had to take this picture because I had just one of these very same safety harnesses for my children. Tina and Stephanie particularly remember wearing theirs, and swear to this day to me that they hated it passionately and such action of mine should be considered under the term of child abuse. So, my lovely daughters, this wee photo is for you.

I was wearing a University of Oklahoma/Portland, Oregon Indian Health Services conference tee-shirt today and on my way out of the Castle a young man, by his accent American, made a comment about having gone to university in Portland. I asked him what brought him and his friends to the Castle and he replied they were football players with the Scottish Claymores.

I knew about the Claymores from my Internet wanderings exploring cyber-Scotland. This is an American Football team in the European League: they sometimes play on ESPN on our cable TV channels. I grabbed him and his buddies and made them come with me to where I knew Belinda and Kari were waiting for me and rest of the gang. Roping in the Castle security guard as our guest photographer, we got some snaps. I have to send the mighty driver Steve copies – he follows rugby and says he doesn’t know much about American football game rules – neither do I, you know – but Steve did know who the Claymores were.

After touring the Castle and being able to see the Wallace monument and Stirling Bridge once more, we headed into Glasgow about 4 p.m. Steve said if we’d waited any longer we would have been caught up in the nightmare slow downs of Friday night rush hour – something we never had back in my day in Scotland.

Glasgow will be busy this weekend. Steve tells me there’s a soccer match between Rangers of Glasgow and Inverness tomorrow. That wouldn’t be too bad – except Inverness has a very small, less powerful team and they beat Rangers 1-0 last week. Tomorrow is the return match that he’s sure Rangers will be determined to win.

Nicky, Robbie and I had dinner in a pub in the walking plaza that is now Sauchiehall Street – far changed from the days my mum, granny and I would walk down it after getting off the train at Buchanan Street Station – we’ll see how happy the crowd is tomorrow night after the game.

Girls Road Trip starts separating tomorrow. Belinda, Kari, Robbie and Nickie go back to Edinburgh on an afternoon train. Lia, Suzanne and I stay to go to a comedy club show at night. Robbie and Nickie leave Sunday morning for two days in London .(Can’t understand why they’d want to do that and miss two days in God’s country of Scotland.) The others leave for the US on Monday, the 31st, and I leave on the 1st of April, meeting Robbie and Nicky at Gatwick.

We’re talking about doing Girls Road Trip IV in San Francisco (the others having been Lia and me in Arizona and New York/Canada, and this being III) in 2005. That’ll be fine – leaves me free to head up another trip back to Scotland, hopefully, next year.

Tomorrow Glasgow will belong to me as I make my “pilgrimage” to the Willow Tea Room and the Tenement House to honor another Mackintosh and to remember the McIntosh’s of Dundee and my growing up in our own tenement lands.

A wee moment in time in Forfar

Outside the walls of Stirling Castle

Overlooking Stirling

Looking towards the Forth and Stirling Brig and Wallace Monument at Abbey Craig

The River Forth

Stirling Castle’s Great Hall

Representative of the Thrones in the Great Hall’s restoration

A family day at Stirling Castle

From the ramparts – Castle and Cannon

A different set of Claymores

Glasgow’s War Memorial at the City Chambers and Central Station

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