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Saturday, April 07, 2007

National Tartan Day Photo

Greetings and Salutations to All my Kith and Kin and All the Ships in Outer Space:

Here is a photograph of myself and a fellow resident of the Armed Forces Retirement Home, Master Gunnery Sergeant John E. Smith, United States Marine Corps (Retired), in front of the Clan Henderson tent at today's National Tartan Day celebration in Alexandria, Virginia.

I went on a scheduled bus trip from the Soldiers' Home, to attend the National Tartan Day celebration in Alexandria, Virginia's Old Town, and it was a long, freezing, windy day.

National Tartan Day, which is observed in the United States, Canada, and Scotland, commemorates the signing of the "DECLARATION OF ARBROATH" on 06 April 1320, in which Scots refused to submit to English rule.

I had hauled along my guitar, just in case, but the performing stage was far too close, so it would have been impolite to take out my guitar and start singing.

Besides, with those cold temperatures, the strings would never stay in tune.

For some reason, lots of people wanted to take my picture.

At one point, a gust of wind blew the Clan Henderson tent over, and we had to really fight to get it back in place.

I really enjoyed watching the Scottish dancing, when I had the chance to see it.

Mostly, I was kept busy trying to hold down a corner of the tent, so it wouldn't blow over, and it was cold work.

Every once in a while, the sun would peek forth for just a minute or two, just long enough to cruelly tantalize us with some false hope.

Then, it was back to gray skies, frigid temperatures, and sudden gusty blows.

A number of participants remarked about the strangeness of the wintry weather at Easter, and even speculated about the foolishness or validity of possible effects from global warming.

At one point, I noticed Mike Henderson standing with his eyes closed, as he was holding onto his corner of the tent (because of the freezing gusts).

I thought he hadn't gotten enough sleep, so I inquired after his health.

Well, Mike's health was just fine, and he wasn't sleepy.

Up on the stage, the chaplain was leading everyone in prayer, and I couldn't hear a word he was saying!

So, I repented, and pretended to respectfully join in the public prayer, all the while watching around me, since I couldn't hear anything.

No, I hadn't gone deaf.

But the sound system wasn't working like it should.

Sometimes, there'd be amplified sound.

Other times, such as during the prayer, you couldn't hear a thing.

Mike Henderson had brought some shortbread cookies, and lots of folks, myself and Leon Hicks included, enjoyed the treat.

Another fellow wandered by and invited us to partake of his fresh homemade shortbread, which we did.

Mmmmm - - - gooood!!!

The tent next to ours was a Westie Rescue group, and they attracted lots of visitors who were encouraged to pet the friendly puppies.

Occasionally, visits by other dogs would result in some snapping and yelping, but no damage was ever done, and everyone just had a good time comparing the various breeds native to Scotland.

The bus driver from the Soldiers' Home had told us he would pick us up at 1545 Hours, so I started looking for him at around 1525 Hours.

However, I never saw the bus, and I knew something was seriously wrong when I didn't see any other residents from the Soldiers' Home.

Fortunately for me, Mike Henderson was generous enough to drive me back to the Soldiers' Home.

That was also an adventure, for neither of us knew how to get there by driving through downtown Washington, D.C. from Alexandria, Virginia.

How did the other residents from the Soldiers' Home make it back, and what happened to that bus?

Since I was the ONLY resident wearing a kilt and plaid, how could they have overlooked me?

I know one thing for sure and for certain - - - I ain't never going on no more scheduled bus trips from the Soldiers' Home!

Thank you.

Official Bard of Clan Henderson
Washington, D.C. 20011-8400

NOTE: "My unpopular and controversial personal opinions are independent of my Scottish clan."

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