Right Up Yer Kilt

Posted on March 25, 2014 under Storytelling with no comments yet

Carolina-Hotel Pinehurst




I am proud of my Scottish heritage.  Ditto for the Irish.  My mother was an O’Flaherty.  Doesn’t get more Irish than that.

We live in “New Scotland” and our home town hosts one of the longest running Highland Games in North America.  Many people in my hometown bleed for anything Scottish.  I am not one of those, though you would have hardly thought this years ago when I took my kilt on a road trip.

Let me put this out there right now.  My wife wasn’t the only one wearing a dress on our wedding day.  She looked stunning dressed in a traditional white wedding gown.  If you are a Scot and you live in Nova Scotia, it is a moral imperative to get married in a kilt.  So there we were, at the conclusion of the ceremony, being piped arm in arm out of the great Cathedral, wearing our frocks.

It is not enough to celebrate our heritage on Robbie Burns Day.  I have been known to consume a “wee dram” of scotch, but so far have managed to escape the clutch of the haggis.  Who, in their right mind, (other than a Scot), would eat the entrails and internal organs of a sheep, mixed with suet, oatmeal and seasoning … and boiled in a bag? And not just any bag … the sheep’s stomach!  Entrails are often known as “offal”, a precursor for the modern word, “awful”.

In our home town, we will make any excuse to wear our kilts and party.  Kilted golf, kilted skiing and kilted “heavy events” are just a few of the opportunities for men to bare their legs, and possibly other body parts.

Which leads me directly to Pinehurst, North Carolina.  If you are a golfer, Pinehurst is as close to heaven as you are going to get.  Twenty years ago or so, I joined 7 lawyers from Vancouver for a week of golfing at Pinehurst.  (Sounds like the start of a lawyer joke).   All of these guys were type “A” personalities.  I knew I would have my hands full.  And lest I leave you with the impression that I could afford to be hanging around with corporate hotshots, let me confess that I was there as a guest.

Every evening, after 36 holes of golf (you don’t expect A types to stop at a measly 18, do you?), we would clean up and head to the elaborate dining room.  It resembled a southern mansion from “Gone with the Wind”.  Jackets and ties were required to gain entry.  My formal attire was a kilt.

The first stop was the martini bar.  I don`t like martini`s but I did not wish to appear to be a wuss.  On this night, there was an overflow crowd in the dining room, requiring a wait.  I believe more than one martini was consumed.  An inauspicious start.

An elegant and talented musician played softly on a grand piano as the room filled with resort guests.  He, and all of the wait staff, were of African American heritage. The noise level from the shrinking violets at our table increased exponentially, as bottle after bottle of wine was dispatched over a two hour period.

And I was getting some very curious looks from the servers.

People of Scottish origin understand what it means for a man to be a true Scot.  There are no undergarments worn under the kilt.  Don`t ask me why.  Just accept this as gospel.  And on this occasion, I decided to take one for the team.

I am certain that the cooks and most other employees were tucked into their beds by the time we got up to leave.  There was much singing and fellowship as we started our exit from the dining room.  About half a dozen female staff bid us adieu, but not before one of the guys came up behind me and hiked the kilt over my bare, white derriere.

It is hard to describe the squeals and howls that resounded around the largely empty dining room.

I haven’t been back to Pinehurst but I expect that if I show up, I will be the butt of their jokes … if they recognize the kilt.


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