Saturday, October 29, 2011


As we used to say as kids, “close but no cigar”. That old carnival idiom seems so appropriate with the cigar being the World Series Championship. I’m a Texas Rangers Fan and however that plays with your perspectives and logic, also a Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves Fan. Mostly I’m an absolute fan of the underdog, the one who perseveres despite adversity until the victory is won. This is how legends are made and punctuates / demonstrates how teamwork is the essential ingredient of success.

The Rangers seemed to have all that going for them fighting through a tough season though ascendant at the end. The St. Louis Cardinals, however, trumped them in spades coming from a wild card position to win the ultimate pot of gold. They overcame tremendous hardship and while a few of their players stood out, a different player seemed to literally step up to the plate and deliver at the last critical nanosecond. They include Missouri local* boy and hitting phenom David Freese who hit for a .348 average (8-for-23) with one home run and seven RBIs against Texas setting the major league record for most RBIs in a single postseason (21) and pitcher Chris Carpenter who threw strikes when he had to in direct contrast to Ranger pitching.

In that thrilling though heartbreaking game six 10-9 loss to the Cardinals the Rangers on two occasions were within one strike of the World Series Championship, but they couldn’t close the door and deliver. As Ranger Manager and all around good guy Ron Washington reminded us, baseball is nine innings while football, hockey and lacrosse are a sixty minute competition – not one inning, out or minute less.

There will be no celebratory champagne (or ginger ale) and no trip to Disney World for the Rangers this year but, hopefully, accolades for a great 2011 season and with most of the Rangers returning - high expectations for next year. We won’t be meeting the Cardinals in 2012 regular season interleague play but perhaps another World Series meeting?

And for all you folks who think that, “What happened was supposed to happen”, think again. No disrespect, but that’s a cop out. We try to the best of our ability and resources and if we leave everything on the field and still lose – then the unalterable fact is the best team won. To think otherwise is to cheapen the St. Louis victory and diminish the Rangers’ incredible effort. No hocus pocus or divine providence here. God does not care who wins the World Series.

Thank You Rangers - Congratulations Cardinals.


Ned Buxton

*David Freese was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, Aye.

Friday, October 21, 2011


The Sands Convention Center at the Venetian in Las Vegas hosted a Republican presidential primary debate on October 18, 2011. This turned out to be perhaps the last gasp for Texas Governor and presidential hopeful Rick Perry. It was billed by many as his, “moment of truth” where Perry would either, “do or die.” It turned out to be his swan song and his poll numbers continue to fall following the debate. This writer had previously opined that he had done so poorly in the last two debates that by the law of averages he couldn’t help but do better this time around. Well, he didn’t and all the king’s men and all the king’s horses won’t be able to put Rick Perry back together again.

Instead of engaging in substantive policy debate Perry decided to go into attack mode and in a personal harangue assailed fellow Republican Mitt Romney on the issue that he had previously knowingly hired illegal aliens to work on his lawn. Perry kept interrupting a responsive and frustrated Romney who though coming out the better couldn’t look very presidential in that environment. Perry looked terrible with the camera catching him staring opaquely at Romney hence our “deer in the headlights” title. We note that this issue was first reported by the Boston Globe in 2006 and, needless to say, has been hashed and rehashed for almost five years. The facts are well known and it’s an old story.

So, did Romney retain the services of a landscaping company knowing that they hired illegal immigrants? I don’t know but as an old Human Resources guy I think it's the responsibility of contractors whether a lawn company, pest control, pool service or another business to comply with current immigration law. To insinuate that the customer (in this case the homeowner) should check the credentials of every person hired to work on their property is ludicrous. It appears to be nothing more than a smear job and old, regurgitated news - at best.

We wonder if Rick Perry has speculated if any illegal and/or undocumented aliens helped process the piece of chicken or vegetables he consumes or helped manufacture the carpets that cover the floors of his house. We think he never gave that a thought though those industries have been habitually guilty of hiring undocumented workers. It’s the same song though different verse.

It appeared that Perry (described as feisty by some supporters) was viscerally combative and confrontational. Because of Perry we won’t remember the positives of that debate rather just the highlights of his harangue and failure to let Romney respond to his allegations. And to what end? Perry’s strategy to counter his ever falling polling numbers was to get indignant and righteous like an angry Moses at Mount Sinai. No, there is no “burning bush” here.

Many see Rick Perry now hand in hand with Michele Bachmann striding towards the sunset… One by one they fade away in almost comical though pathetic political musical chairs to the last person standing or sitting. And then it all starts over.


Ned Buxton

PS: Today is October 21, 2011 and the focus of Harold Camping’s latest doomsday prediction. I guess that we have until 11:59:59 PM Central Time here in Dallas, Texas, USA when the rapture (lower case) occurs but then we have that old time zone thing so actually the date has already passed in the Pacific in such locales as Guam where it is a peaceful Saturday morning, October 22, 2011. Confusingly, Catholics around the world are celebrating and memorializing Pope John Paul's 1978 inauguration as Pope on this October 22. They must be unbelievers, “out of the mainstream” but probably not… I overheard one person opining today, “It is a rapture of morons.” Gees, I meant to ask Rick how he stands on the rapture…

Saturday, October 15, 2011


When SMU All American and NFL/Dallas Cowboy legend Dandy Don Meredith died last December I felt a great sense of loss - a major part of my generation and all that I embraced had died with him. I hoped against hope wondering if the Millennium and Boomlet generations will bother to remember Meredith and those of his ilk. Meredith who was renowned for his easy going center-stage sense of humor and naturally entertaining behaviors in his early career sought anonymity in retirement. Even with that Dandy Don opined, "I don't know how badly I'd feel if I wasn't remembered at all." That will, hopefully, never happen so long as we appreciate his inspiring All-American story.

Don Meredith was the real reason why the Cowboys were America’s Team though many fans never really understood his relationship with a mostly aloof Coach Tom Landry who more often than not threw Meredith under the bus in defeat. But, that’s another story...

Many of the War Baby and Boomer football icons are getting old and now meeting their maker with alarming frequency as calculated by this 68 year old writer. One by one they process towards those pearly gates. Some might argue that they are already occupying the other domain, but rest assured, most were good men worthy of the ultimate reward for a life well lived. If telling the truth, playing for no other reason than the love of the game, having a good time and being a good person condemns one to the everlasting fire, then I need to get my clothes fireproofed. Now I didn’t live those lives on the edge and never did drugs but like many I pondered and sometimes coveted the free-wheeling, outrageous and absolutely absurd lifestyles they embraced.

On September 30, 2011 another Dallas Cowboy bit the dust, Peter Gent of Bangor, Michigan who at 69 passed to greater glory. Gent was joined at the hip with Meredith, Buddy Dial, Dan Reeves and other Dallas Cowboy icons in a different time and place. While he enjoyed that wide open throttle with his cronies, he had a serious side which just might be his greatest legacy.

Gent may not have made the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor but he could be a footnote on either Meredith’s or Mel Renfro’s plaque. We all want to make a difference while we are on this mortal plane and Pete did it big time. Gent wrote the sorta autobiographical North Dallas Forty (ND40), along with several other significant books that exposed professional football’s unsavory side. ND40 became a dark social commentary of Texas and The South in the 1960’s where players were exploited and as commodities were property to be used and discarded and to be a minority meant you couldn’t live near the practice field in North Dallas. Yes, that’s where the name of Gent’s book came from. That offended the egalitarian and socially conscious Gent who always asked WHY and cooked his story from 1964 to the ultimate publication of ND40 in 1973 and the movie of the same name six years later.

As Gent noted later, “I kept asking why the white players put up with their Black teammates being forced to live in segregated south Dallas, a long drive to the practice field. The situation was not changed until Mel Renfro filed a fair housing suit in 1969." The antiauthoritarian Gent may have been the social conscience of the Dallas Cowboys because nobody else bothered to raise the alarm and call people out on their behaviors. Embarrassingly, no owner, player or even legendary coach Tom Landry with all their celebrity chose to address this and other discrimination issues (shame on them). Offering an insight to his writing in 2003 Pete Gent offered that, “Pro football shows you where your culture is coming apart.” Indeed it was then and is now a reflection of our society, culture and our value system. As we have pointed out in previous posts that includes not just the owners and players but the fans as well.

Gent was certainly a unique individual even to his athleticism. After an exceptional basketball career with the Bangor, Michigan Vikings and the Michigan State Spartans he was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets of the NBA. He tried out for the Dallas Cowboys in 1964 after he learned they would pay $500.00 to training camp attendees. That was a helluva lot of money in those days. And then, surprise, surprise – Gent made the team and basketball went by the wayside.

Gent was as tough as they come and the ND40 character of receiver Phil Elliott mirrored the abuse and subsequent daily pain that Gent and many other NFL players endured then and for the rest of their lives. ND40 along with other exposés like Dave Meggyesy’s 1970 Out of Their League and Jim Bouton's 1970 Ball Four helped shape current policy on injuries and treatment of athletes both at the college and professional sports levels. No, I don’t include Dan Jenkins' "semi-honest and half-funny" 1972 novel Semi-Tough in that same genre… We also need pay attention to great writers like sports columnist Bob Kravitz who likewise chronicled those darker days.

So we thank Peter for his life to include his contributions to society, for being a pretty good Father and for five passable years as a receiver with the Dallas Cowboys. We suspect and hope that Pete and Dandy Don are together again smoking cheroots, drinking Royal Crown Mists and listening to a little Willie Nelson.


Ned Buxton

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Like life, the injury faking controversy has seemingly taken on an energy and persona all its own. Our reaction to the issue is the real story. The continuing empty denials by the participants and their willingness to patently lie coupled with their teammate’s willingness to back them up despite the evidence goes well beyond having someone’s back. It is simply an issue of honesty and integrity.

The bottom line is that it’s cheating and at the very least not in the spirit of the game. Seems that many players and some fans think that anything goes, hook or by crook, to gain a victory. I’m still old enough to remember when honor and a high level code of ethics was the inspiration for life whatever the venue or activity. In an earlier post we reminded readers of that Williams College receiver who credited with a pass reception versus Amherst notified the referee that he had not caught the ball.

Ultimately for most of us who participated in organized team athletics whether it’s football, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, et al the game is surely about recreation/exercise but with an ultimate much higher purpose. Sports in all its myriad forms was for us the great metaphor for Life. The greater lesson is learning to function cooperatively as a team and within the rules of the game to honestly gain the ultimate prize – Victory. We were taught that in defeat that prize can also be ours. The Greeks gave us that lesson which has been forwarded via the modern Olympic movement.

One blogger who echoes the sentiments of this writer recently stated, “I truly believe that the sport actually DESERVES to be played competitively by men with integrity.” Then you see and hear football fans who seemingly don't mind if members of their own team cheat successfully, only objecting when their opponent cheats. That hypocrisy stinks with many of the opinion that this “victory at any cost” mantra could ultimately ruin the game.

Now having said all this we certainly understand tactical fouling when one player deliberately breaks a rule for an advantage. That would include, among many other examples, a defensive safety obviously beaten, interfering with an offensive receiver so as to prevent a touchdown. That’s part of the game where that player trades a penalty for the surety of six points. That’s part of the reward-penalty aspect of the game where the rules anticipate and account those infractions. We doubt that the blue collar workers or the Ivy League blue bloods who played the early version of the game would have feigned injury for an advantage.

Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi (photo above) did say, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” but he was parroting (knowingly or not) another football coach, Red Sanders of Vanderbilt and UCLA fame. For those revisionists this writer heard him say it and there is archival video as proof positive. We guess that his intent at using this was to basically motivate and inspire his players in the heat of the moment and to set the stage for his heavy handed, disciplinarian coaching style – all in a different time and place in history. Lombardi in the latter stages of his life, understanding the detrimental effect of that admonition on younger athletes bemoaned, “I sure as hell didn’t mean for people to crush human values and morality”. Lombardi died regretting that he ever said it with Friends, sportscasters and even historians trying unsuccessfully to disassociate him from that phrase.

For many that now famous quote highlights what is wrong with competitive sports in America. As Steve Overman of Jackson State University so keenly observed, sports have become our, “cultural currency.” Randy Roberts and James Olson, in Winning is the Only Thing: Sports in America Since 1945 remind us that, “Football became a lens through which Americans interpreted their country, their communities and themselves.” And that’s both the good and bad of it.

Within the context of this issue I was reminded most recently by a European footballer about the Italian coined term, furbizia, which is literally translated as the art of guile. With much of the rest of the world embracing a fair play approach to the game, they perceive Italian footballers as cheaters and the, “dirtiest footballers on the planet.” The Italians, however, see themselves as doing nothing more than tactically exploiting the soft underbelly of their opponents – winning by hook or by crook. And, yes, those strategies include “diving” and no doubt where some of our NFL players took their inspiration.

Diving is considered “classic furbizia” and according to one blogger is yet another manifestation of the, “use of guile and gamesmanship of the Italians with the referee serving as the object of total distrust and disrespect.” So for the Italians it would appear that this win at all cost attitude has trumped any sense of fair play and ethical values and therein lies the lesson for us. It would appear that we are certainly trying to catch up with the Italians.

A recent blogger challenged us all by asking, how should we participate in competitive sports and then offered we should look to, “Our higher sense of self.” Indeed, we create our own destinies and depending on our choices take either the high or low road. Those choices are: 1) Embrace those high level tenets of sportsmanship and ethics or 2) succumb to victory at any cost – even to cheating and the extent of changing the nature of the game. Copping to the lesser option then cheapens victory and those who gained it.

A great football coach summed the issue up for all of us, “Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good.” The Italians notwithstanding, apparently a lot of players in the NFL have lost their sense of taste…


Ned Buxton

Sunday, October 2, 2011


The Very Reverend Kevin Martin, Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Matthew's in Dallas (Episcopal) being aware of my passion for all things Scottish asked me last Sunday about any “Celtic” service that might be appropriate for The Cathedral. That inquiry prompted this post.

Those that know me understand my enthusiasm for and involvement in the American Scottish Community for many years. Thanks and all credit go to an attentive Mother who always reminded Ned, John and Seabury of our Buxton/ Littlefield/ Seabury/ Gorham/ Armstrong/ Shreve ancestors and our revered Keith Scottish lineage. If anything, it has kept me occupied for lo those many years and was a good segue for my honestly earned anthropology degree. Scottish Highland athletics was a major focus for over thirty years thanks to the mentoring of Ross Morrison, Guy Soule and the Friendship of many more in that select community. I thank all of them for their contributions allowing my life to have meaning beyond my threshold.

My activity in and commitment to the re-raised 78th Fraser’s Highlanders, 2nd Battalion of Foot, America have allowed me to live and interpret history for all those so interested. Great thanks to Colonel Ross Oborne, Colonel J. Ralph Harper, Tex Dallas and my many other Canadian compatriots. God speed, Ross.

There is one other “Scottish” activity that captured my interest and commitment. Aside from the myriad Scottish Festivals and Highland Games held annually in the United States and Canada (even to Australia and New Zealand) there is another significant event that literally captures the spirit and essence of all that is Scottish, “Here and away from Home”. That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the The Kirkin’ o’ the Tartans and while the ceremony didn’t originate in Scotland – the motivation and spirit surely emanated from the auld sod. I helped coordinate myriad Kirking services in many denominations across the country with the level of enthusiasm in each church equal to the level of influence of their Scottish members. They are legion…

I’ve seen some explanations (some absolutely absurd) that romanticize the so called history of this ceremony. I saw some recently that proclaimed the Kirking as, “commemorating the persecution of Scottish Protestant Christians”, “the remembrance, how the Christian faith was passed on to us through our Scottish ancestors” and “recognizing the authority of God as sovereign over the affairs of Scottish clans.” While some pious Scots and others may want to embrace those statements, they are not accurate.

One of the most embraced and widely accepted legends follows on the 1746 defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Scots at Culloden (Drummossie Moor) by the English and a lot of other not so enamored Scots. This was the last pitched battle fought on British soil and occurred near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. Following that defeat and the flight of Charlie across the sea to France the Hanoverian English fully intended to weaken, indeed eliminate, the Gaelic culture, disembowel the Scottish clan system and remove once and for all this thorn in their side. What better way to accomplish that task by banning the iconic trappings of that culture. The English proscribed (banned) the wearing of the tartan (“Scottish war dress”) and the playing of the pipes (“instruments of war”) and the bearing of arms among other liberties. It has been related that Scots anxious to embrace and hold sacred their sense of intimate kinship with their homeland would secret small swatches of their tartans into church (kirk) services to be blessed and re-consecrated in anticipation of their ultimate release from bondage.

Whether the Kirking of the Tartans ceremony really ever took place/originated in Scotland remains hotly debated even among history and church scholars. There is some evidence that while it could have happened, there was absolutely no formal protocol, ceremony nor a specific Sunday or day (including St. Andrews, etc.) in the year when this occurred. Rather, this could have been a spontaneous expression of the Scots allegiance to Family, Clan and Country.

Somewhere between a, “silly bit o' Brigadoonery” and this speculation lies the truth. Had I been alive then and identified myself and my Clan/Family with a specific tartan, then I would have probably done it just out of spite and plain defiance. I know many native, highly educated Scots including a baker’s dozen of Scottish Chiefs who never heard of the ceremony until they came across the pond to the US or Canada. Could it have happened and then been lost in the mists of time? Perhaps, but in a culture that prides itself on such rich pomp and ceremony – I doubt it. In fact, we think it absolute poppycock. The irony is that much of the widely ballyhooed mythos that has enveloped the rite continues to drive and energize its acceptance and continued celebration. We’ll take it

Now this post isn’t about the history of Tartan, save its integral role in the contemporary Kirking Ceremony. We will relate to that work in progress in a later post. In the meantime we’ll just make a few points about Tartan and move on.

Tartan in Scotland originally was a woolen material woven in a distinctive, specific sett/pattern (warp & weft) that among other entities now has significance to and recognition by specific Families or Clans. The Scots took full advantage of the flora in their geographic areas and soon different patterns and colors innocently presented themselves. So, many tartans were created and evolved simply because each area liked to weave a certain design using local herb or plant dyes. That naïve though utilitarian approach was soon embraced by Clan and Family leaders who ultimately saw it as another way to establish their separate identities. If one knew what plants and flowers grew in a particular region (generally their badges) then you could probably surmise where someone came from by those colors.

The Wikipedia site does a pretty good job of calculating the history and origins of tartan. What we will say now is that some Scottish Family or Clan tartans are probably much older than speculated or validated by history. No doubt the widespread association with a specific Family or Clan is modern though would appear to have history in Scotland dating back as early as the 12th or 13th century CE. We have noted the recent evidence that the use of tartans or tartan like material was used in other parts of the world seemingly by the Celts.

Whatever the intrigue and impetus of the recognition and growth of Scottish tartans, they have become synonymous with Scotland and her Families and Clans.

Now comes along the Reverend Peter Marshall (A Man Called Peter), originally from Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. Marshall was called to the ministry, immigrated to the United States, where he studied and eventually settled in as pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. in 1937. Marshall built an incredible influence and was twice appointed U.S. Senate Chaplain, serving from January 4, 1947 until his sudden death just over two years later at 46 years of age.

Marshall was a member of St. Andrews Society of Washington, D.C. and was primarily responsible for starting the Kirkin’ ceremony. During the early years of WWII the very eloquent and always inspired Dr. Marshall preached many sermons on behalf of British War Relief and the Scottish Clans Evacuation Plan. Marshall’s sermon delivered on Sunday, April 27, 1941 is generally credited as the first "Kirking" service though it was not yet called that at the time – more later. Need we say that Peter Marshall became one of America's greatest preachers. His messages still resonate with those of good faith, or not.

Marshall spoke about the oppression of the Scots during the days of the Act of Proscription drawing his congregation’s attention to the global threat of cultural annihilation and genocide posed by the Nazi dictatorship. All funds raised from the service went directly to a mobile kitchen in Scotland.

We need note now that Marshall was no doubt familiar with the term Kirking which had been used for several hundred years (still is) to describe annual church services aka the Kirking of the Council where councilors, officials of a town council along with other dignitaries with great pomp and circumstance are reminded of their responsibilities to the community. The Church blesses these public servants while noting their affirmation to faithfully serve God and their fellow citizens. Some of these services date back to the 1600’s, well after the Reformation reached Scotland. We have also seen Kirking of the Court ceremonies in Edinburgh. Marshall knew these Kirking ceremonies were historic and meaningful events witness the Kirking of the Scottish Parliament which has been held since its rebirth in 1999.

Dr. Marshall's sermons were so popular that requests were made for their publication with the proceeds designated for British War Relief. The term Kirkin’ o’ The Tartans was coined by Dr. Marshall after the fact when asked what to name his sermon of May 2, 1943. This was the sermon that recalled the years after 1746 and the defeat of the Scots at Culloden when the bagpipes and tartan were outlawed by the English who were literally trying to emasculate the Scots by depriving them of their heritage. We believe it was Dr. Marshall, who recounted in that sermon how the Scots would at their worship services, touch tartan swatches secretly at the signal of their pastor thus starting the controversy that continues to this day. Where he got that inspiration, nobody knows, though it certainly served its purpose.

Side Bar: Mary Wood, Peter Marshall's Secretary for many years recounted how Peter Marshall prepared his sermons. Seems his office was on the top floor of a two story annex adjoining the church proper. There was a spiral staircase that led down from his office to Mary's office below. Consistent with the day and time Marshall would draft his sermons by hand, page by page. When Marshall completed a page, he would drop it down the staircase. Mary would retrieve each sheet and type into a finished product. What Peter Marshall could have done with a computer…

The St. Andrew’s Society of Washington D.C. formally participated in these services of unified prayer for the many subjects of the British Isles with special emphasis given to the Citizenry of Scotland. This developed into an annual event at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C formally sponsored by the St. Andrew’s Society. it drew the attention of many including the, then, Bishop of Washington, D.C., The Rt. Rev. Angus Dun, D.D. who after becoming a member of The Society invited them to celebrate the annual ""Kirking" in the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul on Mount St. Alban (Yes, The National Cathedral).

Dr. Marshall died in 1949 and though no Kirking was held that year, it was resurrected in 1950 and has been held ever since.

The St. Andrew's Society of Washington, DC has formally sponsored the Service annually in The National Cathedral since 1954. Good Friend David McKenzie of the St. Andrew’s Society of Washington, D.C. has coordinated that event for many years. I take this opportunity to again thank David for his watchful eye while son Geb attended American University.

The worship service has a traditional content, using much of the Church of Scotland form. Central to its theme is the presentation of various tartans-through flags and the wearing of tartans-for a blessing (Kirkin’). Great Highland bagpipes, Scottish hymns galore and prayers and words that lift the human spirit abound. The Kirkin' is intended to encourage all participants to reflect with thanksgiving on their own Family and cultural heritage, and “to celebrate God's grace poured out for all generations.”

So, yes, the true Kirking ceremony while springing from the soul of a Scot is a uniquely American affectation and has only been held off Scottish soil as it has always been, “A celebration of Scots, away from home." It has been observed by many denominations especially including the Presbyterians along with the Methodists, Catholics and others.

Many Episcopalian and Anglican parishes celebrate the kirkin’ by offering their churches as a home for the service in grateful tribute to the Scottish Episcopalian bishops (Right Rev. Robert Kilgour, Bishop of Aberdeen, and Primus of Scotland; the Right Rev. Arthur Petrie, Bishop of Ross and Moray and the Right Rev. John Skinner, Rector of the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew and Coadjutor Bishop of Aberdeen) who on November 14, 1784 consecrated Samuel Seabury as the first American Episcopalian bishop following London’s refusal to do so. The consecration took place in Bishop Skinner's private chapel in Long Acre, in the city of Aberdeen, Scotland. The bad blood fomented by the successful American Revolution even to the See of Canterbury eventually cooled though the Episcopal Church in the United States essentially evolved independent of the Church of England.

In 1884 the Rev. William Tatlock, D.D., Rector of St. John's Church, Stamford, observing the Centenary of Bishop Seabury’s consecration appropriately validated the reverence held for the Scottish Church, "Wherever the American Episcopal Church shall be mentioned in the world, may this good deed, which the Scottish Church has done for us, be spoken of for a memorial of her!" That great bond of affection and mutual respect exists to this day.

The Kirkin’ service like so many other aspects of our society has evolved from the singular purpose of British War Relief (they don’t need it anymore) to a contemporary extension/continuation of ''The Scottish Experience'' to the extent that those of us with Scottish roots continue to push the envelope and influence of the Scottish Diaspora with the Kirkin’ tradition.

The Rev. Dr. John Mckay, head of the Princeton Theological Seminary, a native Scot and guest at the Kirkin’ at The National Cathedral in 1951, was heard to comment that he would like to export the ''Kirking'' tradition to Scotland because it would renew some lost pride and traditions and with the inclusion of the pipes in the service, ''...might draw people back into the churches where the sermons might not!''

The Right Hon. Sir James Ian Keith, the 12th Earl of Kintore, 2nd Viscount Stonehaven, Chief of the Name of Keith (25 July 1908 – 1 October 1989) and Friend to this writer commenting on the American Highland Games and Kirking experience told me at the 10th annual Stone Mountain Highland Games in 1979, ''You know, you Americans do this so much better than we do or ever did.''

To all our Scottish Ancestors: We remember that we are your children and you and those of your Ilk paved the way and provided the inspiration. We will say your names and invoke your memory until the end of time.

And to answer Dean Kevin’s query… the Scots and Irish community in north Texas would be very pleased and honored to celebrate our common heritage within the hallowed walls of St. Matthews Cathedral.


Ned Buxton, FSA Scot