11 August 2005
Warmup to my HR diary entry
Highland Radio 2005 was a great weekend, live and interactive, on the grounds of the 24th New Brunswick Highland Games and Scottish Festival, July 22-24. I think this was my ninth year participating in CHSR’s special programming extravaganza Highland Radio. First involved in 1996, I’m pretty certain that I was away and skipped a year (Sagehill, 2001? or it didn't happen yin summer...?)
As a family living in Nova Scotia, one of the places our parents took us were the Antigonish Highland Games. We went to other games as well, Pictou and...? Our neighbourhood in Dartmouth was rich with pipers. The one next door was in the CFB Stadacona band. Several boys were in the Dartmouth Jr. Pipe Band. One of the best solo pipers in province lived up Swanton Drive from us: Robert MacDonald’s older brother, Fraser.
Every Natal Day [first Monday in August, the municipal birthday celebrated in both Halifax (born 1749) and Dartmouth (born 1750)] parade contained several bagpipe bands. Another favourite of mine associated with the Dartmouth parade was the Kinsmen or Kiwanis’ chowder dory stand between Sullivan’s Pond and Hawthorn Street.
My sister Carol did highland dance for a while. Didn’t own her own swords but I remember that Dad made her two wooden ones out of slices of leftover 2½” thick maple planks that he’d used to build the two long, low, bookcases or the matching plate glass topped sandbox table (again with bookcase underneath). The table is a wonder with the four deep shadowboxes face-up on top: each containing sand we’d collected from somewhere in each of the four Atlantic provinces. On the sand is a collection of shells and things from each province—coins from the respective former colonies, special rocks, driftwood, brass nails from the Humbolt (a ship on the bottom of Halifax Harbour, the nails recovered by cousin Roy) in the Nova Scotia box. Black dog hairs from Tinker (R.I.P, Tinkerbell) had drifted under the edges of the plate glass to rest on the sand one doesn’t dare vacuum—cleaning them up would be a tweezer job. Anyway, I don’t think that Carol competed as a highland dancer. Certainly, our parents wanted nothing to do with becoming a “dancer’s mom” or a “dancer’s dad” (as some at the NB Highland Games proudly wear on their shirts). Neither did our parents want to become sports parents or any of those (near) obsessive supporting roles.
In 1983 I became the first and likely the only member of my family who will ever attend the Edinburgh Tattoo: art exhibitions, Neil Innes for lunch; World bagpipes, Edinburgh book fair, tattoo concerts on the parade grounds inside Edinburgh Castle (where there’s a square of Nova Scotia soil from/for the dubbing of the Knight Baronets of Nova Scotia in 1620), a free first pint of the day in the World’s End pub on the Royal Mile, orchestra playing Handel’s “Water Music” and “Music for Fireworks” before a nighttime fireworks display overtop of the castle.
All this (writing/history/story/bio) is here in warm up to my requested contribution [“Contribute or be interviewed,” Tris said this past Tuesday evening] to CHSR’s collective Highland Radio 2005 diary.
Shirt: Ruminator Bookstore
Loc: Acadian Coach Lines bus 5306, eastbound on the Gagetown Bridge over the Saint John River, slogan “A time to let go!”
temp: low 20s, overcast, some actual rain drops
Sound: more Michael Franti and Spearhead from Everyone Deserves Music; then Jazzberry Ram Super Fishy Allah Tea.
time: 12 noon