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Happy La Naomh Anndrais!

November 30, 2016

Okay, he was an Irish writer talking about England, but I’m going to apply his quote to Scotland. (If I can work in a Welsh reference, I’ve got most of the country covered.)

England and America are two countries divided by a common language
– George Bernard Shaw

Several years ago I travelled to Scotland to visit a good friend. He’s very traditionally Scottish, the proud member of an ancient Scottish clan. Although he lives in Edinburgh, his family is from the Scottish highlands. He took me on a driving tour along scenic winding roads. The sensation of driving on the “wrong” side of the road was heightened by his aggressive, yet very skillful driving.

We stopped at what we in America call a gas station. I was quickly discovering that trying to name things in Scotland was not an easy task. As we went in to pay for the petrol, the old gentleman behind the cash register started talking in either a language or a dialect that I completely failed to comprehend. Not wanting to appear as the “ignorant American” I didn’t say anything and let my friend handle paying for the fuel. Once we were well out of earshot of the people in the station, I asked my friend,

What was that he was saying?

I have no idea.

You’re Scottish, why don’t you sound like that?

Because I was properly educated!

Although to be honest, it sounded more like eshucadated.

The country was every bit as lovely as an Americanized vision of it would be. The heather was just starting bloom. We visited centuries old cemeteries that contained the graves of his ancestors going back for countless generations. We heard people playing the pipes. The weather, notoriously unpredictable, was beautiful. We drove past towns about which my friend retold stories of betrayal and unselfish kindness.

When did that happen?

Early sixteenth century.

We visited his parents’ home, Renton, which has been in existence since literally the beginning of recorded history in Scotland, the census of the thirteenth century.

I was thinking back on this trip and my friend’s obvious pride in his heritage as I noticed a story about St Andrew. He is the patron saint of Scotland and today (November 30) is St Andrew’s day. The title of this post “La Naomh Anndrais” is gaelic for the name of his day.

So, if you have a Scottish friend, go ahead and wish them a La Naomh Anndrais. Just don’t ask me how to pronounce it.

I have no idea.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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