Glengarry Highland Games. I wore my kilt (obviously), and carried our wee babe (who is looking rather red-headed in these shots) in the Celtic wrap Christine picked up some time ago.
Christine took many a photo of myself with wee Rose in the sling, she said, for the sake of posting something to one or two of her baby-wearing Facebook groups. Apparently father-images are a thing of some envy. Still?
The three of us wandered the grounds in the most brutal heat, visiting with various friends and acquaintances we came upon, as well as visiting the Clan MacLennan booth (I did this talk for them last year on working genealogical research), and watched some of the hammer toss.
So many I had hoped to see this year, but didn't. At least we found some. I mean, given some fifty thousand people wandering around (the largest Highland Games outside of Scotland), I suppose I couldn't expect to find everyone I knew (although there were many I did expect to see in the beer tent).
Oh, but the heat, the heat. We went from beer tent to beer building (which, at least, had some version of air conditioning). Christine looked at various garments, and we promised ourselves we would attempt to pick up something for Rose before next year, with the proper tartan. Rose bounced to the music, and wasn't startled at all by the largess of bagpipe din. Given the fact that both Rose and I radiate heat, we spent most of the day with a layer of sweat-blend between us.
In nearly every photo, Rose in her red-headed sweat-curls.
Christine picked up a small onesie-with-kilt for Rose, of course. We didn't see the proper tartan to match with mine, or any of the McNair ones, but did find one with a Nova Scotia tartan (where some of her family originated).
Rose floated between sleepiness, and bouncing to music, unable to sleep properly until we landed in the massive beer tent at the far end of the Fairgrounds. We realized the white noise of the
crowd was enough to lull her, rather quickly, into complete unconsciousness.
Quite a difference from last year. Or the year before that. Or the year before that.
We drove home the long way (in part to help the baby sleep further, and to help re-charge Christine's phone), with a stop-over in Alexandria to pick up a phone charger just in time for a hard-hitting rain. We discovered later it avoided Maxville altogether, which was incredibly fortunate. We drove various back-roads, heading due west from Baltic's Corners, ending up at St. Elmo, right where we married. Some roads I hadn't been on in some thirty-plus years, since my school bus drove me home on the final day of grade eight; some roads I'd never been on at all.
Sunday, August 3, 2014: After a night on the homestead, we let Rose play on the lawn for a while. After a while, her cousins appeared (my sister sending them out of the house so she could get something done), and they played with her as my father told stories of how the yard used to be. He told of a row of trees, including a walnut tree. He told of the big tree still in the front of the yard, planted here by his mother, transplanted from her own parent's property.
At my sister's log house, we had another of our annual barbecues, including family, neighbours and my brother-in-law's birthday. Rose spent some time with her cousins, Rose and Christine spent time in the pool, and I tried to do as little as possible, between baby-time and drinks.
A languid, slow-moving day.
My cousin Kim arrived with her youngest daughter Allison, and her new young man (who seems nice enough; I decided not to hammer him with questions--yet). We discussed many things, including histories not everyone (yet) knows. There are more hidden truths in that family than I can sometimes bear, and more than half, once you really inquire, doesn't even appear to be true. But silence is a tricky barrier, and stronger than steel, it would seem.
We walked back to the farm, late. Late, late. Baby slept, and slept some more. We all awoke sore.
Monday morning, we drove out, exhausted, to Christine's mother's cottage for a few days, deep in the hills of the Laurentians. Can you believe it has been six years since we first went out there, together?