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John Bressler - Isn't it great to be Scottish?

John Bressler - Isn't it great to be Scottish?

John Bressler - Isn't it great to be Scottish?

John Bressler


       Last week, members and guests of the Scottish Heritage Society of Southeast Georgia held their annual Robert Burns Supper and heard bagpipes, ate haggis, toasted lads and lassies and were knocked off their chairs by speaker Sonny Dixon, WTOC anchor, international prize winner for broadcasting excellence and one fine Scots-Irish descendant. While I can't remember all of his great jokes, I could at least remember a few he might have told. "Hey! I just met a piper with a wooden leg named Smith." "Really! What did he call his other leg?"
       Then there was the lady who paid $100 for an obituary. It read, "Peter Tavish of Kincorth died."
       The reporter said, "For that amount, you can add a few more words."
       "Okay. Peter Tavish of Kincorth died, Ford Escort for sale."
       The last. "What's the difference between a lawn mower and a bagpipe?"
       "You can tune a mower."
       Both Julie and I can claim Scot-Irish backgrounds, but mine may be somewhat suspect. My dad always told me I was a Duke's mixture. That means, I am Scotch, Dutch, Irish, Indian, German, Italian and Jewish. Mom's side of the family happened to be Ulster Scots. When we were in Scotland, I asked the genealogical folks over there about the Brown family. I was waiting to find that my great-great-great- whatever was clan leader or notable like Rob Roy. I was told, "Sorry, but the Browns really were not part of the great clans as they wore brown clothing and stole sheep and horses." Mom was not very happy.
       The title of Sonny Dixon's talk was, "Scots Wha Hae", which translates, "Scots who have." That doesn't mean that these folks had things, held titles or were highly honored in some way. In 1793, Robert Burns, the great poet of Scotland, wrote what would become a national anthem for those patriots who fought the tyranny of Britain. The words spoke of those Scots who have fought with the likes of William Wallace "Brave Heart" and who have stood with everyone willing to die for freedom. His poem closes with the words, "Let us do or dee!" Let us fight and win or die trying! Talk about courage.
       Americans are a people who come from good stock. We are the children of those who were courageous, hard working, inventive, curious and had a vision claimed by only a few. If we just skim through our history, we can find evidence that we have survived to the present because those who came before us lived through revolution, civil war, dust bowls, depression, world war and social change that has brought us to where we are today. We are scarred and battle weary but know that we are not quitters and will not give in or give up on life.
       As a churchman, I search the history of men and women throughout the past 2000 years of growth and development with amazement! The church has had more intrigue, failure, wisdom, stupidity and complexity than all the nations combined! And yet, we have held to our faith and vision with a strength and commitment that cannot be measured by human standards.
       I believe that we exist and survive because we are "Those Wae Hae." We are God's people who have stood in the face of evil and conquered. We are God's people who have lived through so many of life's uncertainties. We are God's people who have the victory given to us by the Son of God, Jesus Christ and that cannot and will not be taken from us. We have God's irrevocable promise and on that we stand.
       If we could sing together, I would hope that we might have a chorus or two from "Auld Lang Syne" and smile and know that we are God's chosen "Wae Hae."

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