Monday, August 30, 2010

Alan & V, Haggis & Tartan

I Do Countown: 26 Days
Mrs. Alan W. Davidson, 'V', and some guy in a tux.
Isn't she lovely? I mean, really lovely?

Weddings of Haggis and Tartan

Dear Ms. Olliffe,
I recently set up a Facebook page for my writer friends to gather and gossip. I was most surprised to see a long comment thread centered about my marital status. Some asked if I was recently married while others wondered if I had gotten remarried. Instead of addressing the issue immediately, I foolishly took the opportunity to ask for gifts of alcohol as belated wedding presents. Sadly, there were no takers. 
For the record, I would like to inform my girl-fans that I am indeed married. I thought that there would be no better forum to substantiate this than at Cathy Olliffe’s “Wedding on the Muskoka River” blog.  (Subtitled: Holy Crap!…Am I really about to do this again?)
Looking remarkably Burton Cummings at the Distress Centre
BBQ. V was no doubt bowled over by the headband
and Tom Selleck moustache.
I met my future wife while volunteering at the London Distress Centre (Americans may call this ‘Suicide Hotline’). As in-service co-coordinator, my role was to approach spokespeople for service agencies and convince them to give free educational speeches to our volunteers. ‘V’ was new to the centre and I first met her at one of these evenings.
There were no sparks and, in fact, V yammered on about some guy she was dating. One Saturday, we both agreed to help at a fundraising BBQ for the agency (my employer loaned us their large, mobile rig). It should be noted that I’m not a very sharp guy at noticing signals from the opposite sex. I suspected something was up, though, when I noticed her wearing an apron to the event that showed a goofy looking giraffe with the caption “I know what giraffter.”
The apron led us to a first date (some of you may recall I mentioned at my blog about showing up for said date bearing a dozen brown eggs). Being a typical male Davidson, and somewhat desperate, I wasted no time in proposing marriage. That was on November 21, the same date my parents were engaged back in 1961. Though I think a shotgun was present at their engagement…
Dinner's served! Sorry, Alan, I, um, grabbed a
burger on the way over... looks really good, though.
We were married in July of the following year. I had Scottish relatives attending and we thought it fitting the reception be held in a fancy restaurant where copious amounts of turnip, haggis and single malt would be served to the 50 guests. 
My best man and his wife flew in from Los Angeles, fulfilling a promise we had made to one another as teenagers to be best men at each others weddings. We were led into the stone chapel on the grounds of the Children’s Psychiatric Hospital by a piper wearing the Davidson tartan. My father even wore a kilt for the first time in his life. After a bit of coaching, he figured out where his sporran should hang. 
Who needs a DJ when you have pipes?
The only odd incident during the ceremony itself was that a small boy belonging to one of the guests crawled about the floor near the front of the chapel and began spitting into a floor grate. He then crawled over to my father and tried to peek up his kilt. “Away you go, ye wee toad. If ye dae that ye’ll be in fae the fright of your life,” he whispered at the boy, forgetting how good the acoustics were in the small building. The red-faced mother hurried over to retrieve her stray child.
During the photo session later in the park, the best man became somewhat annoying and the matron of honour came within inches of pushing him into the fountain on which he struck a Burt Reynolds-esque pose. The only thing that prevented her from doing so was that we still had to attend the reception.
Due to our advanced age, my indifference to details, and the fact that V had been married twice before we opted for a more subdued, classy reception. There was no dancing and background music was supplied by a piano player. We had agreed on a selection of songs but she was also free to take requests from the guests. V had an intense dislike of ‘The King’ so there was only one stipulation…no Elvis. Even if requested by the PM, the Queen and the Holy Father himself. If Elvis you play, we do not pay. The frightened piano player cooperated fully.
The dinner flew past with nary a hitch. Well, perhaps a small hitch. Even with the copious amounts of scotch, 37 people balked at consuming the haggis. Words like barley, onions and uterine wall were bandied about. The restaurant quickly managed to whip up something involving liver, eggplant and raw seaweed to replace the unconsumed mélange of internal organs.
The cutting of the tiered carrot cake went very smoothly, unlike at my sister’s wedding years earlier. The icing on her wedding cake could not be broken through with a thick knife, a heavy hammer and harsh words. The offending cement layer had to be chiseled off prior to serving it to the guests. How’s that for a bad omen.
The Davidson clan, including Alan's father beside the blushing bride.
What a good looking lot!
That’s the story behind our fairly uneventful meeting and subsequent wedding. I’m secretly hoping that the haggis, and the fact the old man wore a kilt, has brought us a measure of good luck. Knock on wood (*raps knuckles against skull*).
My thanks to you, Ms. Olliffe, for allowing me to clear up any misconceptions my Facebook friends may have about my marital status.  
Best wishes and fair weather to you and Mr. Webster on your special day.
Kind Regards,
Alan W. Davidson
PS. I made up that stuff about the single malt…and the haggis…and the spitting boy.

Alan W. Davidson carries on a juicy stream of interesting conversation almost daily at his cheerful Newfoundland blog, Conversations From Land's Edge. When we're lucky, he posts his fiction or his travel photos or pictures of him in a fez. You just never know what to expect when you pay a call but you're always guaranteed a smile and a good time. Alan's one of my favourite blogging buddies and Dave and I can hardly wait to meet him and V, along with the lovely and talented Laurita Miller and her family, when we travel to Newfoundland on our honeymoon. 
While I was looking for an appropriate song for Alan and V, I came across this one from Lisa Hannigan. It's not slick, but its remarkably honest beauty made the breath catch in my throat. 


  1. V looks beautiful! That's a shame you made up the story about the spitting boy, Alan. ;) So, how come you didn't wear a kilt as well?

  2. Sorry, ladies. I just don't have the legs for a kilt...and going commando just doesn't feel right to me.

    Actually, Laura, the spitting boy story is partially true...he was at the best man's wedding in LA. Except there were no kilts involved.

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to 'get my story out there' Cathy.

  3. Nice. Love the Kilt. Haggis...not so much. You made up the spitting boy....I think you made up making up the spitting boy. :P

  4. Oh really, who DOES have the legs for a kilt? And is commando really what Scottish gentlemen wear in the vicinity of their neverminds?
    And Wulfie, if I could figure out what you just said I'd probably agree with you. (I'm sure you're just discombobulated by the thought of Alan's commando.)

  5. Hey, you did not mind being seen in your Tom Selleck getup, so can't figure out why a kilt would embarrass!

    Yes, V is really lovely! And I enjoyed reading about your wedding. So, liver, eggplant and raw seaweed is preferable to haggis? o_O

    Thank you, Cathy, for inviting Alan to share his very funny story.

  6. What a lovely story...and you two make an adorable couple, Alan W. Davidson and "V". I think it's sweet that you remember what it said on her apron...or did you use a magnifying glass on that there photo?

    I never realized men went commando under kilts until an episode of Sex & the City. Who says you can't learn from watching tv??

  7. Exactly, Marisa! Actually my son Angus says Alan looks remarkably like Mario, the plumber dude from Nintendo.
    I do see the resemblance.

  8. Kathryn: you learned that on Sex & the City? Aw, I must have missed that episode... who was the guy wearing the kilt? (Inquiring minds...)

  9. Another great love story. And a great great GREAT song choice.

  10. Thanks, Tim. I KNOW - isn't that an awesome song? Just love it. Have been looking into more Lisa Hannigan stuff since then and am mightily impressed.

  11. A lovely meeting a meeting!

  12. Lily - Maybe work meetings are potentially more exciting than I thought.
    Or not... I never get Burton Cummings-Super Mario lookalikes at my workplace.

  13. As Laura, I was wondering about the absence of quilt. I bet the bride wouldn't let you, eh? lol

    Nice wedding story! :)

  14. As long as the piper could play YMCA...

  15. Mari says you weren't allowed to wear a quilt? Geez Alan, ya gotta stand up for yourself.
    Aaron - somehow I can perfectly picture you doing the arm motions to that song. You can, can't you? You do, don't you? Yah, yah, I figured...

  16. Yeah, I'll pass on arm dancing to the song. Thanks for all the comments folks. I'll be off now for a meal of internal organs. Perhaps prance aboot in my kilt for a wee bit.

  17. Your wedding photo is lovely.

    Who coached your father on where to hang...well, never mind.

  18. I think the spitting boy could appear in a story of his own, but only if accompanied by a man in a kilt with a thick brogue.

    And don't you look like a lovely couple. V looks beautiful, and you just prove that beards never go out of style.

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