Robert Burns turned 258 this year, kept alive by Scottish laddies and lassies who gather to honor the poet every year at Burns Nicht Suppers held all over the world. The first Burns Nicht was held in 1796, the year Robert Burns died and nine of his friends gathered in an Alloway cottage in memory of the bard. On Saturday, the 30th Vineyard celebration was held at the Harbor View Hotel where members of the Martha’s Vineyard Scottish Society remembered the poet and their heritage, along with consuming untold amounts of haggis, the traditional Scottish meal made mostly of sheep organs encased in the animal’s stomach.
There were also many men in kilts, a procession of which was led by pipe major Sheldon Hamblin who carved a path between tables as chef Nick Sawyer of the Harbor View Hotel hoisted the haggis into the air.
David Rhoderick recited the Ode to the Haggis with passion and wit, following in Robert Mackay’s footsteps. Mr. Mackay was a founding member of the Island’s Scottish Society, known for being able to recite the eight-stanza poem from memory. Mr. Mackay died in March of 2016, not long after reciting the ode for the 17th time last year.
“I think we have a worthy successor to Bob Mackay,” said Chris Scott, emcee of the evening.
At one table, Barbara McKinnon sat wearing her father’s tartan. She recalled one of her first Burns suppers about 20 years ago. Two men proposing toasts had been…
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