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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Word of the Day

Sporran: a large purse or pouch made of leather or animal fur to be worn at the front of the kilt from a chain or leather strap, as part of the traditional dress of Scottish Highlanders

The sporran is the man-purse of Scotland, and is an incredibly useful place for a kilt-wearer to stash a wallet or keys.

This weekend, I was a bridesmaid at my childhood best friend's wedding. Since her new husband is from Scotland, the groom, the men in the wedding party, and a fair number of the men in attendance rented kilts instead of tuxes.

My fella also joined in on the fun, and did the Scots one better.

You see, during World War II, some soldiers from my hometown served with a regimen from Scotland. They all became great friends, and after returning home, the Western Pennsylvanian soldiers formed a Highland marching band using the tartan of their war buddies.

My dad would later join this band, and so bagpipes at cookouts, knives worn in socks, parades, and men in skirts with dead animals around their waists were a big part of my childhood.

Dad offered Brady the use of his regalia for the wedding, and with some trepidation, Brady accepted. A small part of that trepidation probably involved worries about spending a day in Chicago in a kilt, but I suspect that that some of it centered around my dad's somewhat eccentric sporran.*

One traditional sporran style is the animal mask, which uses the taxidermied head of the animal as the flap. The sporran for my dad's kilt looks something like this.

To any animal lovers reading, I know this is cruel and wrong, but Dad's sporran is about 30 years old, and far more tasteful looking than the one pictured here.

And Roscoe, as Brady dubbed his taxidermied sidekick, was a huge hit at the wedding. The Scots in attendance loved the sporran, and Brady was cornered by the wedding photographer at several points during the evening so that Roscoe could be documented in the wedding album. Regarding this, Potts had only the following to say: "Kind of weird to have people taking pictures of your groin all night, but what the hey."
* Brady, looking over my shoulder, insists that this is not the case. For evidence, he submits the following toast, delivered at our wedding by his uncle Charlie:
So, a guy from Pennsylvania finds himself in a bar in Alabama. The locals, rightfully suspicious, ask what he does for a living. He says, "I'm a taxidermist."
"What the heck's that mean?" is the reply.
"Well," he says, "I mount dead animals."
And after a quick huddle, the assembled slap the visiting Yankee on the back and say, "It's all right, boys; he's one of us!"
And Mary, that's how we feel about you.


Larry said...

This appears to be a supply house for all one's sporran needs. A skunk sporran? Who knew?

mary_m said...

I know, the skunk is a little bit baffling. I also found a wolverine face mask that's grisly beyond words.

Rebecca said...

According to my friend Josh, who was recently a groomsman at his friend's wedding to a Scottish lass, kilted wedding party = no waiting in line *anywhere* in Las Vegas.