‘Tis all about the haggis – and the whisky

Robert Burns Dinner, Wyoming style

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PINEDALE – Revered Scottish poet Robert Burns might have shed a few salty tears of pride into his own glass of whisky to look down upon the crowd of celebrants gathered to celebrate his birthday anniversary, albeit a couple of days late.

Not only was an authentic haggis piped and drummed into the decorated dining hall of the Lovatt Room on Saturday, Jan. 27, but the music flowed, toasts were plentiful and the cock-a-leekie soup’s aromatic flavor hovered over a veritable feast of Scottish dishes and desserts.

As mistress of ceremonies and organizing chieftainess, Joni Mack led the full house of plaid through the rituals of a Burns Night Dinner, celebrated first in Scotland soon after Robert Burns’s July 21, 1796, death and now observed around the world.

Nancee Meleski bore the haggis to the front where Jim Meleski addressed the encased crumbly delight with Burns’ “Address to the Haggis” and a sharp knife, followed by toasts made mostly with Scotch whisky… The Selkirk Grace and readings of Burns’s famous dialect poems followed. Madeleine Murdock related “Rabbie” Burns’ Immortal Memory from his Jan. 25, 1759 birth to beyond the grave.

Mack and Scott Murdock traded withering barbed “compliments” first to the lassies and then the lassies’ reply. More toasts… Entertainers performed traditional, not-so-traditional and contemporary music – Meleski with Jocelyn Moore, Michelle Humber with guitar and piano and Sisters of the Heart.

The best-ever event at the Pinedale Library was made possible by the committee of volunteers and the community, with the Pinedale FFA on hand to help.

To Madeleine Murdock’s great pleasure, celebrants joined in learning the Virginia reel, with Valerie Lee deftly making sure dancers grabbed the proper arms. To close, pianist Ann Noble accompanied the crowd in a heartfelt “Auld Lang Syne.”