It’s Hogmanay for Me This Year

It’s Hogmanay for Me — To ring out our current year, one that saw so many losses, not the least of which occurred with our November elections, I will return to my Scottish roots. I intentionally celebrated the Winter Solstice, loving the early fall of night and darkness, and felt a kinship with those early Vikings who came to what is now the British Isles. (Thank you, Ancestry DNA, for giving me a sense of why this resonates so clearly.)

Some of my earliest memories connect with this celebration, directly from my grandmother, Rose Anderson, who though separated from Scotland for almost ten generations, still held firm to those traditions, including the love of a nip of whiskey, unseen by my teetotal grandfather.

First footing was the tradition we practiced, and one that I continue, where the first person to enter the house after midnight is a black-haired man. My father filled this ritual as I grew up, as did my black-haired husband in later years. Though it is now grey hair that tops (most of) his head, we still honor what was. So significant is this to me that I’ve included it as an almost sacramental ritual in my next book, although adapted with its own connotation. (Slight commercial for Echoes from the Alum Chine which will be published in 2017)

I’ve only been to one “official’ Hogmanay, one that started at midnight and went on until the sun rose on January 1st. I no longer have the stamina for that, nor do I think I could survive another hangover of that order. But at midnight, if we manage to make it that late, we will sing what brings tears to my eyes no matter what time of year. And I’ll drink a cup o’kindess, and memory, and love-too-late, for grandmother Rose who loved the words of Robert Burns, memories of her and the sadness of her life part of my DNA.

And for you, dear Reader, I wish you a year of love, and contentment, and a path of goodness in the darkness.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance by forgot,

And auld lang syne!


For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lange syne.

We’ll tak a cup o’kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.


And surely ye’ll be your pint stowp!

And surely I’ll be mine!

And we’ll tak a cup o’kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.


We’ll twa ha run about the bras,

And pou’d the gowans fine;

But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,

Sin’ auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,

Frae morning sun till dine;

But seas between us braid hae roar’d

Sin’ auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand, my trusty fere!

And gies a hand o’thine!

And we’ll tak a right fude willie waught,

For auld lang syne., Another Sunday, A Novel of Historic Baltimore

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