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It’s a Scottish Thing

October 20, 2010

©2010 by Robin Nelson All Rights Reserved

Stone Mountain, GA — For 38 years on the third weekend of October, the clans have been gathering at the base of a very large rock east of Atlanta. Non-Scots come as well, often by the tens of thousands. But even if they didn’t, the Scots would come together  from throughout the Southeast to dance on swords, make music that’s often hard of the ears but rips at the heart , and eat food the rest of the world might easily shun. Why? Because that’s what their ancestors did in the craggy rock and mist-covered Highlands and the simple farms of the lowlands in the most beautiful place on earth.

Now these Americans with Scottish blood continue the traditions with unrelenting passion. And the non-Scots enjoy those traditions nearly as much as those who came from Scotland, even if they don’t totally understand them.

There are Highland games someplace in the U.S. nearly every weekend of the year because there are nearly 6 million Scot-American citizens spread out across the country. As many Scots  originally settled from Pennsylvania through Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee and Georgia, their descendants still living in those regions  fill the telephone books with MacCrae, MacCrimmon, Bruce, Colquhoun, Stewart, Campbell and MacDonald, among hundreds more. And they keep the games and pipe band contests going, rain or shine.

At nearly every Highland games one can usually find a tent with helpful genealogy experts standing by to research surnames for that thread of a connection to Scotland. At the games, it seems, everyone wants to be Scottish. Perhaps it provides a good reason to try that haggis for sale at the food vendor tents.

I must confess my notes here might not be totally objective: my ancestors left Scotland for America in the 1740s to begin a new life. I am so blessed that they made that journey, and proud to be an American. But my heart is filled with joy on my trips to where they came from. There’s something in the air, or maybe it’s the water. A Scot — even one who is six generations down the line — will just know he’s home.

One Comment leave one →
  1. lyndsey permalink
    October 20, 2010 3:09 pm

    I love the sound of bag pipes!!

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