Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ard Choille!

The Colonel's Celtic blood stirs a bit this morning. St. Patrick's Day serves him not as opportunity for intemperance, but as pause for solemn remembrance. You see, the Colonel is a descendant of the MacGregors of the Scottish Highland Clan Gregor. There was a time in Scotland, when even bearing the name MacGregor or one of its septs (of which Gregory is one) meant summary execution--seems my ancestors ended up on the wrong side of one too many rebellions. Outlawed, they lived up to their designation. And, they were very good outlaws and quite savvy racketeers. An historical account the Colonel read recently indicated that the only way the other clans could deter MacGregor poaching and rustling was to pay them to stop.

So, what's the tie to St. Patrick? Well, in his autobiographical account, Confessio, young Patrick, a Roman citizen living in what is now Scotland, was abducted by Irish raiders. Patrick escaped back to Scotland in his early twenties, had a Saul-like "Road to Damascus" moment, and returned to Ireland to convert the heathen island to Catholicism.

So, were it not for Scotland...

But, since so many celebrants of St. Patrick's Day (the Colonel not among them) must inebriate themselves senseless or find no meaning in the holiday, the Colonel provides the following amusing anecdote as toast to the life of the brain cells which will meet their untimely end this day.

A man stumbles up to the only other patron in a bar and asks if he could buy him a drink.

"Oh, aye.", comes the reply.

The first man then asks: "Where are you from?"

"I'm from Scotland", replies the second man.

The first man responds: "Oh, aye? I'm from Scotland too! Let's have another round to Scotland."
"Oh, aye!", replies the second man.

Curious, the first man then asks: "Where in Scotland are you from?"

"Aberdeen", comes the reply.

"I can't believe it", says the first man. "I'm from Aberdeen, too! Let's have another drink to Aberdeen!"

"Oh, aye!", replies the second man.

Curiosity again strikes and the first man asks: "What school did you go to?"

"Saint Andrews", replies the second man. "I graduated in '62."

"This is unbelievable!", the first man says. "I went to Saint Andrews and graduated in '62, too!"

"To Saint Andrews!", they cry in unison, and down their drinks.

About that time, in comes one of the regulars and sits down at the bar. "What's been going on?" he asks the bartender.

"Nothing much," replies the bartender. "The MacGregor twins are drunk again."
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