Saturday, February 03, 2007

Baltimore Burns!

Since my last post I've been busy with our annual Robert Burns supper. We held it last Saturday (January 27) for about 30 people, down from a high of 42. It was the twelfth annual supper held by the Baltimore Burns Club, which my husband, Simon Walton, founded with his friend Stephen Cullen. No piper this year, and no flutes or guitars either. But we had an emotional, almost operatic rendition of Ca The Yowes by my friend Tammy, and much admired recitings of the Burns poem, To A Mouse, in Scots, Hebrew and Spanish. Of course there were the other usual performances, some better than others, and books of poetry handed out to new recruits with Scottish roots.

This year's theme was Robert Burns the Pirate. I designed the graphic (above, at right), and we ironed it onto black tshirts, which everyone received. I also gave the Immortal Memory Speech. It was my second year delivering this speech. If someone else had wanted to do it, I wouldn't have interfered. I meant my speech to be shorter, but it went on far too long yet again. It was about privateers, piracy, and plagiarism. The virtues of artistic theft, as well as the nasty side. I was heckled.

It doesn't matter who delivers the Immortal Memory--there is always heckling. Several people came up to me afterwards and asked for a copy of my remarks. So there.

No one remembers what time we finally toddled off to bed. We had six overnight guests. The party resumed in a more sedate fashion on Sunday. It was noon when we started moving again. We whipped up and consumed a huge pile of waffles. There were omelets made with leftover haggis and cheddar cheese. In the afternoon more guests from the night before arrived, to help move heavy tables and chairs back to the rooms (and floors) they came from, and to reassemble our living room. We also packed away the dishes and glassware and silver. For this latter crowd I reheated some of the previous night's boeuf bourguignon with barley risotto. In the evening, I mixed leftover strips of grilled chicken (we'd used only a fraction of that chicken in the cock-a-leekie soup) into a pound of ziti and a tipped it into a bowl of butter, oil, and chopped parsley that we'd forgotten to use the night before. I added hefty slivers of parmesan with a vegetable peeler, and served it all up with oily garlic toast made from stale bread.

Always feed the workers, that's our motto. Along with, never let leftovers go to waste.

On Burns night my ten-year-old daughter and her friends also got into the act. They wore kilts. They ate pizza. One of them helped her mother read To A Mouse in Hebrew. They stayed up all night. I vaguely remember going into my daughter's room around 3 am because they were complaining, loudly, that they had lost their internet connection in the midst of some game they were playing against each other. One team was on the floor using a laptop, another at my daughter' desktop PC. They seemed surprised that in the middle of the night they could find no one except each other to play against. They're into Webkinz.

Eight days later, there is still a huge pile of table linens in my laundry room. I've washed it all, but it's still waiting to be ironed, folded, and put away. That's because immediately after Burns night weekend, we had to print and send out invitations for a memorial to my mother that we're holding next weekend, put together auction baskets for my daughter's school's Winter Gala (held last night), arrange a trip to the Labyrinth Museum for my daughter's after-school girls' club, write and revise a magazine piece (it's not finished), improve a Powerpoint presentation about our vacation home in France, and plan a family trip to Williamsburg (using a timeshare week we had banked) around a cousin's wedding next June.

Meanwhile, we are still consuming leftover haggis. Recently, I used it to fill quesadillas. I was the only one who wanted to eat that. But I say, "Live on, fusion cuisine!"

p.s. Last month we also went to Gov. Martin O'Malley's inaugural ball. We were in a great spot when he came onstage with his band and played The Times They Are A Changin'. Ran into a bunch of old friends. Had a blast.

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