Copyright © 2004 Henrietta W. Hay
Marriage in a Scottish Castle
June 11, 2004
In January of 1993 I flew down to Houston. Texas was one of the few
states I had never been in and I enjoyed having son Dave show me all
the sights, including the beautiful Cultural Center which houses drama,
symphony, opera and ballet.
And I went to the Opera, a very rare experience for me, since I am not
an opera buff. The Houston Grand Opera was presenting Benjamin
Britten's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." The man I was sitting next to
was holding a huge bouquet of flowers on his lap and seemed especially
restless. When the curtain rose and Cobweb came on-stage for her solo I
had trouble keeping him off the ceiling. Cobweb was being sung by
Pamela , his daughter and my only granddaughter, making her operatic
debut at the age of 15. In the interest of journalistic objectivity I
will restrain myself from describing in detail her voice, her poise and
her beauty. Let's just say that this grand mothering business can get
pretty exciting sometimes.
Each of us has a talent. Hers is music and she has been expressing
herself in it since was a very little girl. I don't, of course, see
her very often, but one summer when she had finished her junior year at
Peabody Conservatory, she came to Grand Junction and I took her to Aspen
to spend the summer at the Aspen Music School. We had a wonderful, all
too brief time of learning to know each other as adults and to share our
loves -- music and the mountains. After college she moved to London
where the opportunities for opera singers are greater. As she gradually
built her career, she met a young Scotsman named Paul. Next week they
are to be married in Doune Castle, Stirlingshire, Scotland I am having
trouble taking it in -- a descendent of mine getting married in a
Scottish castle, with my two sons and all the other males in kilts.
Unfortunately I am unable to go, but my imagination is in full bloom.
I'll be in Scotland next week -- in my mind.
Doune Castle was built at the end of the 14th Century. Restoration was
started in 1833 and further repairs were made in 1970. It is now in the
stewardship of Historic Scotland. Today, various castles in Scotland
are rented out for special ceremonies, like weddings! On a much less
serious note, this is the castle in which most of "Monty Python and the
Holy Grail was filmed.
By an interesting coincidence which makes me wonder about fate, they
chose June 16 for the ceremony. Nearly 100 years ago in the heart of
America, Decatur, Illinois, the two young people who were to become my
parents were married on June 16, 1909. I find myself thinking of my
parents who were of German and English descent, and their
great-granddaughter, who is half Polish, and a historic Scottish
castle, tied together by the continuity of family.
The world has changed a great deal since 1909. But love lives on, and
so does marriage. My parents celebrated their 50th Anniversary. And I
these young people will be equally happy.
The theme for the Aspen Festival the year Pamela was there expresses
it beautifully. It is a quote from Hessiod (8th century B. C.), "Let us
begin to tell of the muses, singing with blended voices of the things
that are and will be and were before us."