Volume 22 #1
The Scottish Country Dancer
July/August 2005

 
Articles in This Issue
The Brief Whence 'Gringo'?
Summer Picnic, 2005 Calendar of Events
A Little Gaelic Structure
 
The Brief
 

Just some things you might want to remember:

  • September 7th: the day Vancouver USA SCD Fall classes start.
  • 696-8236: the phone number at Marshall Center to register for classes!
  • : the new email address for contacting the Vancouver USA Scottish Country Dancers
  • Keep checking the Calendar and Demos links on our website at www.VancouverUSA-SCD.org for info and updates about Summer events!
 
Summer Picnic, 2005
by John Shaw
 

In one of his songs, John Denver likens his love's wondrous effect on him to "a rain in the forest." The intrepid group of dancers who ventured forth to Lewisville Park on June 11th for the Vancouver USA SCD summer picnic experienced first hand that same wonder.

Our advance scout, Tom Halpenny, went early to hold the reserved site amongst the trees against its usurpation by other picnickers (per park regulations). As lunch time approached, he was joined by others, including two ladies walking their dogs and taking cover under our shelter from the 45 minute (that's forty-five minutes!) of solid, uninterrupted, tree drenching, soccer-game-canceling downpour. It was magical.

As folks continued to arrive and the pot-luck progressed, a small but intent group, led by Martin MacKenzie, set about to build a fire. As the bottom of the grill was a puddle, they decided to build the fire on rather than under the grill. Using Linda Mae's "knife for all seasons", Martin set about "making little ones out of big ones" from the drier of the available firewood logs, while Catherine proved adept at finding dry twigs and moss in an otherwise saturated landscape.

After much gentle huffing and puffing, and nursing the small spark, and sheltering the nascent ember from the intermittent drizzle with an umbrella, flicker finally fanned to flame, and "high-fives" and smiles were exchanged all around, either at the silliness of it all, or because some primeval duty had been accomplished. So, adding to the menu of fruit, salads, chicken wings, and cherry cobbler, a couple of hot dogs were bur-, er, heated on sticks over the fire. Well done!

When we broke from eating, the skies broke from their drizzle, and we got set for some dancing. Despite the weather, the ground next to the shelter was flat, hard-packed and danceable. It was a great opportunity to introduce our new friends from Guadalajara, Vladimir, Irene, and their young son, André, to Scottish country dancing; and they were great sports to join in with us.

By this time, the day had further cleared and beautified, and a large group of picnickers went for a final hike through the park and along the Lewis River -- a pleasant end to a very pleasant day.

 
A Little Gaelic Structure
by Martin MacKenzie
 

Have you ever thought about who are the standard bearers of the Gàidhlig world? One that might surprise you is a man by the name of Edward Dwelly.

Dwelly was an Englishman who at a young age became interested in Gàidhlig in London where he grew up. As a young banker, he became involved with the Gaels and began learning the language and music. He moved to the Highlands, married a Gàidhlig speaker and became fully fluent in speech and writing. He spent most of his life compiling the words, phrases, and place names into what is known as Dwelly's Illustrated Gaelic-English Dictionary.

In the middle of this project, Dwelly received a subsidy in the form of what was known at the time as a Civil List Pension from King Edward VII which enabled Dwelly to complete the work before the end of his life. This dictionary is a treasured resource for both the native speaker and the non-native learner alike. Its form and research have found their way into other modern Gàidhlig-English dictionaries. Its importance cannot be over-estimated to those who speak and use this beautiful and endangered language.

This month, let's not worry about pronunciation; instead, let's get into the thinking of a Gàidhlig speaker.

As it is with many other languages, ideas and concepts do not always easily translate between English and Gàidhlig. The English way of looking at an occupation or role and the individual performing that role is to equate them. For example: John is a carpenter. The Gàidhlig is a bit different, as you will see: 'S e (It is) saor (a joiner or carpenter) a th'ann an Iain (that is in John.) We might express the idea of role in the same way: Mary is a mother. 'S e (It is) màthair (a mother) a th'ann am Màiri (that is in Mary.)

These differences suggest that the Gael thinks of roles and occupations as being rather more temporary than the English tight connection to the life of the individual, doesn't it? This same construction is also used for character traits. Mar eisimpleir (for example): 'S e (It is) duine gasta (a fine man) a th'ann an Iain. John is a fine man. Abilities can also be described in this way: 'S e (It is) dannsair f́or mhath (an excellent dancer) a th'ann an Iain (that is in John.)

Tha mi 'n dochas gum bith samhradh math leibh! (literally, I am in hope that will be a summer good with you all.) Hope y'all have a good summer!

 
Whence 'Gringo'?
by http://www.scotshistoryonline.co.uk/rednecks/rednecks.html
 

Often used in Latin America to refer to people from the United States, "gringo" also has a Scottish connection.

The term originates from the Mexican War (1846-1848), when American soldiers would sing Robert Burn's Green Grows the Rashes, O! or the very popular song, Green Grows the Laurel (or lilacs) while serving in Mexico, thus inspiring the locals to refer to the Yankees as "gringos" (from "green grows").

The song, Green Grows the Laurel, refers to several periods in Scottish and Ulster-Scottish [Irish-Scots] history; Jacobites might change the green laurel for the "bonnets so blue" of exiled Stewart monarchs of Scotland during the Jacobite rebellions of the late 1600's-early 1700's. Scottish Lowlanders and Ulster Presbyterians would change the green laurel of James II in 1690 for the "Orange and Blue" of Willam of Orange, and later on, many of these Ulstermen wuld immigrate to America, and thus change the "green laurel" for the "red, white, and blue."

 

Calendar of Events

July 16: Portland Highland Games
This year, the Games will be held on Saturday, July 16, 2005 at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon (just east of Portland).

The Portland Highland Games are a fun, family-friendly event with Scottish Highland music, dancing, piping and drumming competitions, athletics, and cultural activities.

See their website at: www.phga.org/.
July 25: Last class of summer, Portland RSCDS
7:30pm Tigard Grange, 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.
July 31-Aug 7: TAC Summer School
Shawnigan Lake School
Shawnigan Lake
Vancouver Island
A full seven-day immersion in music and dancing.

Instructors: Elaine Brunken (Laurel, MD), David Hall (Brussels) Mary Murray (Vancouver)

Music: Alex Jappy (Delta), Ron Krug (Winnipeg), Muriel Johnstone (Houston), and Keith Smith (Cambridge).
Aug 5-14: 137th Annual Clark County Fair
Clark County Fairgrounds, Ridgefield, Wa.

Among many other attractions, there will be a performance of Scottish Country Dancing, August 13th from 5-5:45 pm.

See you there!
Sep 7: Vancouver USA SCD Fall Classes Start
Marshall Community Center, Oak/Elm Rooms
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd., Vancouver, WA, 7:45 - 9:15pm
Beginning and Intermediate classes in Scottish Country Dancing. (Begin signing up when the catalog becomes available near the end of summer.)
Sep 12: Portland RSCDS, First class of Fall session
7:30pm Tigard Grange, 13770 SW Pacific Hwy., Tigard.
Sep 16-18: Flowers of Scotland, Fort Worden 2005
Musicians: Elke Baker (fiddle), Calum MacKinnon (fiddle), Muriel Johnstone (piano), Ralph Gordon (cello, base)
Teachers: John Middleton (Hamilton, ON), Marian Stroh (Reno, NV), Margaret Zadworny (Winnipeg, MB)
Classes: SCD classes, plus alternative classes in Old Time Sequence Dances, Medleys, and Step.
Watch for the Fort Worden application in April, or check their website for an online form: www.rscds-seattle.org
  Do you have an item of Celtic interest you would like to see in print?  
  You can contact me in any of the following ways:  
  By mail:  
  John Shaw
  PO Box 2438
  Battle Ground, WA 98604
  By email:  
  The Scottish Country Dancer is a bi-monthly publication of the Vancouver USA Scottish Country Dancers, a non-profit educational organization. For changes of address, please contact John Shaw, PO Box 2438 Battle Ground, WA 98604, . The editor reserves the right to alter or edit any material submitted for publication for reasons of taste, style, or clarity. All materials for publication should be sent by email to the editor at the address above, preferably in straight text. Deadline is one week before the end of the month prior to publication date. Editors of other newsletters may use or adapt any materials in the Scottish Country Dancer unless a specific copyright notice is included. Please credit author and original source.
 
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