The kindness of strangers

I lost my kilt pin last month at the Stone Mountain Highland Games.

This happened at some point during the Parade of Tartans, when I marched with my Fergusson family and about 100 other Scottish clans and families in front of thousands of spectators.  The clasp must have caught on something and sprung loose, and the pin slipped free of the fabric and vanished under the feet of the masses.  I didn’t realize it until we were back at the tent.  David and I went back to look for it but it was hopeless.  Far too large a space, still too many people wandering around, too tiny of a pin.


My Mom gave me that pin when I was elected Regional Vice-President of Clan Fergusson.  It’s not super expensive, nor even an heirloom, but it means something very special to me.

I was crushed.  When we got home that night, and without any expectations of ever recovering my brooch, I sent a message to the webmaster of the Stone Mountain Games website and asked if he could connect me to the organization’s Lost and Found.  I described the pin and gave my contact information.

Three weeks later, a lovely lady from the Games Administration – Mrs. Grey – called me and asked me to describe my pin.  “It’s gold, a thistle, with a purple stone,” I replied.

“Can you tell me about the ribbon?” She asked.

“Ribbon?” I was perplexed.  “Huh? Oh wait, there’s a snip of tartan ribbon in the pin to represent my husband’s clan, the Douglasses.”

That was the identifier she was looking for.  She took down my address and said she’d send it on.  Today, I opened the mail to find an envelope containing my kilt pin, none the worse for its journey back to me.

Thank you, Mrs. Grey, from the bottom of my heart and my thanks also to that kind stranger, who picked up the pin and turned it in to Lost and Found, knowing it meant something to someone.

“I’m reminded that no matter how hard we try, nothing we do is in a vacuum.”
Mike McIntyre, The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America



Instant Grat Instagram: “It’s Bloody Brigadoon!”

I had all kind of plans for a post today but work exploded and the writing thing never happened.


Thankfully, there’s my phone, Instagram and lots of great memories.

These particular ones are from the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and Gathering of Scottish Clans last July.


Beautiful North Carolina mountains and amazing skies.



Grandfather Mountain and 50,000 Scots and “wanna-Scots”



Highland dancers warming up



Tossing the sheaf!



Sheepdog trials – herding ducks!



Flags from 80 Clans and 15 Scottish Societies!

“Not the bee upon the blossom,
In the pride o’ sunny noon;
Not the little sporting fairy,
All beneath the simmer moon;
Not the poet, in the moment
Fancy lightens in his e’e,
Kens the pleasure, feels the rapture,
That thy presence gi’es to me.”
Robert Burns

Three Things Thursday: July 9, 2015

My contribution to to the lovely Nerd in the Brain’s weekly show-n-tell of happiness all come from our wonderful first day at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in North Carolina.


It’s both one thing and many things, so I’ll try to narrow it down to three themes – I may cheat and show you more than one picture for each category, if you don’t mind.

Music – lots of gorgeous fiddle and mandolin, spiced with flutes, drums and fabulous harmonies:



Sheepdog Trials (my weakness, I could watch them all day):


The Torchlight Ceremony recognizing all 120 Scottish Clans and Societies in attendance:

And I will bonus you some gratuitous “Men in Kilts.”

  Thank you as always, Nerd in the Brain, for letting me share my happies!