Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Dog Sings

Still in a weakened state, this afternoon I sat and gazed out of my living room window at passers-by passing by. As commonly happens in such circumstances, one finds interest and novelty in imagining the different styles of hat which each passing man, woman, and child might wear in private. After a while however, one's mind begins to wander.

I saw a stately woman with mien of lord or lady march past my home clutching the hand of a grubby urchin. I was reminded of my dear late mother and how she used to hold my hand as we trudged the streets of Dundee when I was nothing but a child. She would often leave me standing in various doorways while she went off with one of my many uncles who would charitably provide her with temporary labour. Before she went, she would always sing a tender little song, then instruct me to sing it to myself until she returned. As long as I was singing it, I would be safe from any harm. I had not thought of that song for years until today, when it appeared, unbidden and fully-formed in my mind. I began to sing:

'Twas the gatherin' o' the clans, and all the Scots were there,
Skirlin' on their bagpipes...'

I was more than somewhat surprised when I heard a tiny tinny voice complete the line from over by the mantelpiece. I tried another snippet from the song:

'O the ball, the ball, the ball o' Kirriemuir,
Where folk o' high an' low degree were...'

Sure enough, the little scottie dog from Monopoly (for this curious canine was surely responsible) completed the line yet again. I tried once more:

'There was dancin' in the meadows, there was dancin' in the ricks,
Ye couldnae hear the bagpipes for the swishin'...'

and was happy to note that the little scottie dog sang the remainder of the line. I went on in this manner, singing line after line and listening as the little scottie dog finished off each verse for me with gusto.

It made me feel safe and at ease.

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