My dad and his sister in Glasgow have been a-buzz about this video of the island where they grew up, Islay, in the Hebrides. It was filmed when he was a teenager, and he and my auntie recognise a bunch of the people in it.
It's so funny to think of my dad growing up there and talking like that. His dad was one of the three doctors on the island, and he used to go on rounds with him, so he would have seen a lot of these places. Now he's more American than the Americans. On our family visits to Islay, we've still run into people who remember his dad, and some who still speak Gaelic, which about half the kids in his school spoke as their first language. The school headmaster used to teach after-school Gaelic classes for those kids, but he could have been arrested if the government had found out. My dad has a lot of respect for him. The last time we visited, we arrived on Sept 11, 2001, which turned into a very surreal day and made for some long dinner conversations.
Two of the most colourful personalities include Burt Marshall, a hefty guy from Blackpool who owned the Machrie Hotel and golf course (which my great grandfather used to own). Mr Marshall wore a kilt every day, and almost always wore the sporan way off to the side or around the back, to keep it out of the way. His favourite phrase to use with his guests was 'If you don't like it, you can lump it', which pretty much summed up Scottish customer service of the era.
Another one was Bessie Williamson, who started out as the housekeeper for the guy who owned Laphroaig Distillery. But she got to be so good at running it that he left it to her when he died. Enter the Canadian chappie who you see at the end of the film, who says, 'I met a young lady down there...'. Dad chuckles, 'Yeah, she was 55.' Then I'm not allowed to blog the rest of it. Ha ha, island gossip. He sent me this link with more history about the distillery. I love Islay whisky, but I can never forget that my grandmother used to go down the road to Bowmore Distillery with a bucket to collect raw whisky for washing her windows. (Cuts the grease like nothing else, she said.)