Friday, August 28, 2009

Blessing Blackburn ~ The Sequel ~ Installment 1

"'Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. As you enter the home give it your greeting.'" (Matthew 10:11-12)

Friday, 8/28/09
10:00 pm in Brooklyn, New York

Until a certain paradigm-shift moment in April, I had never really considered visiting Scotland even once, much less twice (or more). Although Del and his brothers had talked about it on occasion, their idea seemed more like a dream than a concrete eventuality. And it would be the Good Old Boys Club, I thought – something they would all enjoy together while I cheerfully stayed home and tended to my responsibilities here in Brooklyn.

Even last Christmas, when someone gave me a lovely three-CD set called Celtic Treasures: 50 Hymns And Songs Of The Celtic Tradition, my thoughts were about the sweet givers and the nice music and the One they honor – certainly not about traveling to the place of origin!

But on April 15, 2009, my twin sister, Marie, who lives near San Francisco, sent an email to her siblings and friends telling us to watch this lady – she would make our day! I didn't delete the message, but neither did I click the link. I was too busy that week. However, a day or two later, our New York morning newspaper had a very large article and picture of a lady in a gold dress, singing. The article's first few lines noted that she had an otherworldly voice – and I wondered if perhaps she and my sister's lady were one and the same. I decided to recheck Marie's email, and clicked the link. Shock! Tears of delight! Del, come here, watch this! Tears in his eyes, too! I don't remember how many times Del and I watched Susan Boyle's audition video that day, each time with tears, but they were the first of hundreds of views that led to countless comments and many new friends nationwide and globally – along with an unexpected interest in Scotland of all places!

I realize that the Scottish people and government have been preparing a big global reunion called Homecoming Scotland 2009 for quite some time. A major attraction was to be the 250 years of Robert Burns. How about the 5 months of Susan Boyle?! And her first CD is just in production as her 500,000,000 internet viewers wait like the RCA dog for the sound of her voice.

Marie had wanted to accompany Del and me to Blackburn in June, but her passport had recently expired and she needed a little more time to renew it. Within weeks of my return to Brooklyn, Marie was offering to treat me to another visit to Blackburn! Of course, I accepted! We quickly arranged our flights so that her best fare and route would bring her from SFO to JFK, where I would meet her at the gate for the JFK to EDI flight – occupying adjacent seats! We ended up choosing exactly the same Delta flights that Del and I had taken. God willing, we will depart on September 1 and return on September 8. It's all good, really good.

Marie called the Happy Valley Hotel to see if a room might be available, but they were completely booked because of the Edinburgh Festival. I had seen a couple of bed and breakfast signs in Blackburn, so we Googled around and at last found the charming Burnview Bed and Breakfast in Blackburn! Marie emailed and then called, and within minutes we had booked the Twin Room!

Other exciting arrangements are also in progress, and we will note those as the blog unfolds during the next couple of weeks. Marie will kindly oblige as a guest blogger, and readers will have an opportunity to ponder whether heredity or environment is the greater influence in twin development. With just a few days remaining until we depart on Tuesday, the challenge now is to see if we can travel ultra-light – each of us carrying only a purse, a laptop and a very small bag. If Susan could wear the same dress in every concert on the BGT tour, we can repeat our outfits a few times in Blackburn, can we not?