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The first time I met a Scotsman in a skirt I was unimpressed. The young kilt-wearing Scotsman, his buddy, my girlfriend and I met on the night train from Exeter to Edinburgh. While he and his trouser-wearing companion were members of the Black Watch regiment, traveling home, Franny and I were Americans headed for our first visit to Scotland.
If the whisky the Scotsman was drinking had not emboldened him, then the joy of going home had. He danced across our compartment, threatening to reveal what a man wore beneath his kiltnothing.
Franny appeared intrigued, but I was very youngyoung enough to be offended by his threat of exposure. Abashed, the kilted Scotsmans companion pleaded with his friend to sit down and behave. But he did not sit, nor did we ever learn what was under his kilt. Our Black Watch friends departed during the night to seek a more receptive audience.
It wasnt a promising start to our trip, as I remained unimpressed by Scotsmen. In the morning as our train trundled forward, Franny and I opened the window shades. The gorgeous Scottish hills greeted us. Open-mouthed, I stared at the heather covered moors. Months in Englands patchwork of meadows had left me longing for the open country of my native Midwest and the moors wide open spaces made me feel at home. I pleasantly recalled my great-grandmothers maiden name had been McFarland. I began to reconsider my impression of Scotland.
When Franny and I emerged from the train station, we admired Edinburgh castle, which loomed over the city. For the next two days we toured the castle, strolled along the Royal Mile and admired St. Giles Cathedral. Gradually I became aware that I moved among things older, wilder and more deeply rooted than any in the English south. Elements were stronger and more vital; Dwellings were less tamed, but still civilized in this ageless land.
Once again I saw a Scotsman wearing a kilt. Oblivious of gawking coeds nearby, he strode purposefully along Princes Street. I simply stared appreciatively.
He towered over the crowd. He was fair-haired, broad-shouldered and long-limbeda mature, handsome man, and no homesick kid. He wore the traditional pleated kilt, a green wool coat and a white shirt with ruffles at his throat. Each step he took radiated strength and determination. Every move revealed a man who knew where he was going and what he wanted accomplished.
I knew he was a male in charge of his destiny. I drew in a shaky breath for I was impressed. Hooked, I succumbed to Scotlands magic.
Since then, Ive never looked at a kilt-wearing man without admirationand appreciation. A true Scotsman walks and talks like hes king of his fate. I suppose its the land that makes him earn his way.
Thats the appeal of the Scots hero and thats what Ive written about in THE SCOTSMANS LADY. Write to me c/o Zebra Books, 850 Third Ave., New York, NY 10022
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