By Mark A. Leon
The spirit of Robert Burns lives on with pride and distinction in the Lowcountry. On Saturday evening at the Daniel Island Club, the Charleston Scottish Society held their 46th Annual Robert Burns Supper celebrating the 258th Anniversary of the birth of writer and poet Robert Burns.
Ushered into the dining area with the sounds of the Citadel Cadet Pipers, we were surrounded by kilts and the colors of clans who have evolved Scottish culture for centuries. After a celebrated oratory of nine toasts, including ones to our president, the Armed Forces, the Laddies and Lassies, and Robert Burns himself, the crowd was entertained with splendid piping and a memorable address to the Haggis by Douglas Wylie. With an accent so rich and deep and humor that could have cut through the Haggis without a knife, the crowd laugh and cheered the Scottish delicacy.
With one final wall to wall chant of “Gie her a Haggis!” we feasted. Haggis and scotch. If there is a group that knows how to start a party right, it is the the Scottish.
After the ushering in of the new officers, it was with heartfelt happiness that we listened to Maureen McDaniel detail the support both financially and in volunteer efforts the society has given to the Ronald McDonald House. That transitioned into the announcement of a new partnership with the Fisher House Charleston. To see the long-term evolution of unconditional volunteerism for organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House gave a feeling of warmth. What started as an initial $500 donation has now culminated in an entire room sponsored by the Scottish Society that cost $25,000.
Aside from the room of decorated guests and warm engaging conversation, was an emotional culmination to the evening. All guests were asked to stand and joined together crossed handed around their respective table as we were led in a three-verse closing chorus of Robert Burns, Auld Lang Syne. Every year we usher in a new year with this anthem, but, never before had I witnessed so much raw emotion as we swayed interlocked hand in hand singing the words, “Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot and auld lang syne. For auld lang syne my dear, for auld lang syne. We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.”
This was truly memorable celebration of heritage, family and tradition.
If you want to learn more about the society, click here.