The central theme of this sabbatical has been "the Spirit's music" - - and there is plenty of music that we have been hearing. It began with the click-clack of Monday's morning train to Oban, a seaside town on the western coast of Scotland. The train from Queen Street, Glasgow, took us north, along Loch Lomond, through the foothills of the Highlands, and out to the coast.
Not far from the Oban train station is a remarkable fish and chips place which Jamie remembers from seven years ago. It takes little convincing on her part to get us to stop. After lunch, we wandered up the street to our B-and-B, stopping a few times at the second-stores so the girls can plunder them.
At 8:30, we make our way to the Skippinish hall. "What this things called again?" It's a ceilegh (pronounced caylee), I explain, an evening of traditional Scottish music. The hall fills quickly, with many local teens and young adults. The band is wonderful, mixing it up from reels to pipe tunes, with a young lass emerging from behind the bar to twirl to a traditional dance.
Pretty soon, Angus MacPhail, the accordion player, calls everybody to the dance floor. That's when it begins -- hand clapping, hooting, hollering, shouting, singing. It is a lively evening for all of us. When the DJ takes over at 11 pm, we linger for a few songs, as Meg declares, "We know these songs!" Ah, she can't fool me. She was dancing with the rest of them.
But the next morning will come early. Six AM, in fact. It will be a big day...