Monday 3 October 2005|
Bow Bar Or Bust
My hosts are wonderful, letting me use the computer for hours to try to sort out flights and such, and offering whatever other support they can. I leave Plockton at about noon and drive five hours straight to Edinburgh, up beautiful and empty Glen Shiel, and then up achingly poignant Glencoe, veiled by sun-tinged mist. I gobble the last of my cheese and crackers as I pass over desolate Rannoch Moor, and am not hungry when I get to Edinburgh, so I skip dinner. I want very badly to go to the Bow Bar, especially since I donít know if Iíll be back. I spend a quiet few hours there with pints of Landlord and a couple of glasses of whisky. My flight is in the morning, at 10:20, and a long and sad journey is ahead; but tonight, just for a little while, I can sit in a familiar place and take some small comfort in a good dram.
4Ė8 October 2005|
The trip home went exceptionally smoothly. Were I inclined to think that way, Iíd say that God, or Fate, or Something, was watching over me. I wonít elaborate here on the events of the following days. Let me say only that what left us this past Sunday was but the last remnant of the man who was my father; we have mourned all through this past summer as he declined, and now feel mostly relief.
I will be returning to Scotland to meet Bobby and Ron, whom I have been begging for years to join me on a trip. I am very glad not to have to leave them on their own; Iím supposed to be the guide! But I will only spend the eight days that they will be there before returning home again to help my mother get things in order. Iíve missed my scheduled visits to Skye, Knoydart, and Stirling, and will miss Bladnoch and the Mull of Galloway. Thereís always next year.
As my trip was approaching this year, I gave a lot of thought to canceling, as my father was obviously failing. My mother said go, so I said goodbye to Dad and went. Not long ago, Bobby told me of being in the same situation some years backĖhe took a trip to Germany with some misgivings, as his father was in poor health. In some town or other over there, he wandered into a shop full of beer steins, and decided to buy one for himself. He chose one he thought particularly handsome, and as the shopkeeper handed it to him for inspection, he noticed an inscription in German on it. ďWhat does this say?Ē Bobby asked, and the shopkeeper translated:
Live life while the lamp glows, and pluck the flower as it blooms.