Since Rabbie Burns Day falls on January 25, this is a big Scottish month. And since I grew up in Burns Country (Ayrshire) in Scotland, speaking the language, I’m kept pretty busy going around making speeches at Burns Suppers in Toronto, Hamilton, and Montreal (even once being re-imported to Scotland to do so). My Translation of “The Address to the Haggis” into modern Canadian has made me thousands of dollars, and over the years has become semi-official, so that it is featured at the annual event staged at home by Margaret Atwood and Graeme (no relation) Gibson.
This year I did my stuff at a Scottish Studies fundraiser at The Granite Club (scandalizing the audience by revealing a Burns link with the slave trade). On the day itself I marched around the Burns statue in Allan Gardens with 20 other kilted eccentrics (at the pub afterwards, a “warm up event” in the fullest sense) I concluded the “Toast to the Lassies” with the story of the lovestruck John Kenneth Galbraith, the farm girl who was the object of his affections, and the cow. It’s in my chapter on Robertson Davies, who loved the story.