So I was spending the 4th of July at my parents' house, and my mother happened to mention that she'd seen an article in the local paper about the upcoming Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, scheduled for July 8-11. She wanted to know if I was interested in going.
Well, naturally, I said, "Of COURSE I'm interested!" <g> I've never been to a Highland Games or any other type of Scottish festival, although I've heard a lot about them.
We were joking about what clan we would belong to -- my entire family ancestry is Eastern European Jewish on both sides, no Scots anywhere that I know of <g> -- and to my utter astonishment, my mom said, "I have an old plaid that my mother brought back from a trip to Scotland years ago."
So she went and got it out of the closet, and it turned out, to my amazement, that what she had was a hand-woven MacKenzie tartan!
It's somewhat darker than the pattern shown here, but it says "Clan MacKenzie" on the label, and if you look closely it's definitely the same pattern. (I didn't have a camera with me yesterday, but I'll try to post a picture of it soon.)
My grandma died in 1979, when I was fourteen. I'm not sure when she made this trip to Scotland, but I think it must have been in the 1960's, possibly earlier. What an amazing coincidence, that of all the tartans out there, she would have chosen the MacKenzie. Even more amazing, that my mom still kept it, all these years later. (I had seen it before, of course, but never attached any significance to it, until yesterday. To me as a child, it was just a scratchy old blanket of dark blue wool.)
So, we will be at the Games on Friday, July 9. (Driving up from Raleigh the afternoon before.) As of right now our plan is to return home that evening, because we'll likely be worn out from the day's activities. If you are going to be there on Friday, let me know, and maybe we can meet up. (EDIT to add that I have been in contact with the group of LOLers who are going to be there, and I can't wait to meet you all in person!)
And who cares if I don't have a drop of Scottish blood? Diana Gabaldon doesn't, either, and she certainly didn't let that stop her! <vbg>
Somewhere up there, my grandma is looking down at us, and smiling. We miss you, Grandma, and thanks so much!