Robert Burns, Scotland's favorite poet and bon vivant, was born on 25 January 1759,and has had his birthday celebrated with "Burns Suppers" the world over for over a century. Being an Italian American, I have little reason to know this, and even less to attend such an event. Still, this past 25 January I was honored to be a guest at a wonderful Burns Supper hosted by good friend Yankee Whisky Papa's own club.
So then, how do I come to find myself at such an event? Well...
In the foyer stood a collection of old putters and a silver bowl filled with golf balls. We all proceeded to "golf" in the Caledonian tradition inside the building. Start in the dining room by the fireplace, under the tables, out to the hall, into the elevator, up the elevator, down the hall, down a flight of stairs...you get the idea. They were serving plenty of single malt that night, but we managed not to do too much damage.
The serving of supper was announced by the bag pipes. A traditional haggis was served, and all the traditional poetry read. A newcomer to haggis, I found it gamey and "funky", even a bit stinky if you will. But being an old pro in the wine trade, I've developed quite a taste for the various "funks" of the old world. I cleaned my plate. The evening concluded with the singing of Auld Lang Syne (Burns' best know hit) accompanied by handbells. Wonderful.
Pictured left to right: James of the great 10engines, in full regalia, you humble author, my new hero R, yankee-whisky-papa, and fellow club member. Call this one "The Lads"...plus one Italian.
Bag pipes once again signalled an end to the festivities. Our faithful piper and new hero R, in black tie with a jacket in Lindsay tartan made on Savile Row in 1972, provide us with the shot of the evening.
Happy birthday, Mr. Burns.