Clan Donald in Northeast USA by William N. McDonald III, Regional Commissioner.

Here is a quick, illustrated report of our Gathering in early November. If you couldn’t make it, a lot of people were sorry. 46 got there and 30 members of the St. Andrews Golf Club joined us. It got off to a flying start with a cable from our High Chief:

Delighted to send greetings to you all. May the new spirit working through Clan Donald continue to flourish. Have a successful, fruitful evening. -MACDONALD.

After convivial preliminaries, a hilarious and colorful dinner started at 6 p.m. The tartaned procession of honored guests was piped in with many banners. (One was made by Rosa, the wife of the new High Commissioner). Before everyone had recovered from the first course, another piped procession emerged from the kitchen. It was the Chef with Haggis carried shoulder high on a silver platter followed by the dining room steward. Both were needed to provide evidence that the priceless silver quaich, filled with lethal Glencoe whisky, was drained after the Haggis had been stabbed. (The quaich is the trophy for piping excellence established by Ellice at the Colonial Highland Games, Fair Hill, Maryland of which he is Chieftain.) Our Southern New York State Commissioner, Bill Javane made the Haggis and it was so good that it was entirely consumed. Our U.S. Deputy High Commissioner N.J. MacDonald almost stole the show when he addressed the Haggis with Burn’s Ode and rendered the following sentiments in poetry:

Here’s to us
There may be others better
But they are all dead!

Everyone felt touched with Clan Donald greatness when the Chief of Clanranald told us that two days before he had been piped into the Canadian Parliament sitting in Ottawa after lunching with 25 Clan Donald members of parliament including two who were cabinet ministers. He spoke of the clan as a royal race concluding with news of his family and small girl who had requested a Snoopy Doll from America which his hosts, Barbara and Jim McDonald, had found for him that morning. Clanranald was presented with a big color photo of Castle Tioram, his chiefly seat.

Sharing the honors was our new High Commissioner, Ellice McDonald Jr. of Delaware who was presented with the seal used by Macdonald Chiefs before 1380. He spoke stirringly about rebuilding Clan Donald in the U.S. and in Scotland.

The guests furthest from home came from Chattanooga, Tennessee. John R.H. MacDonald is the Commissioner for a new Clan Donald region: the Middle South. He and his wife, Dorcas, came as honored quests and observers. John is the author of both the Castles and Tartans of Clan Donald which most of you got as new members. He was also responsible for several earlier national newsletters. Richard MacDonald our New Hampshire-Vermont Commissioner came a long way too, and drove home that night! So did John McDonald, our Deputy Commissioner for Pennsylvania and his wife, Sue who live near Philadelphia!

Before dinner, everybody had been enchanted by the Clan Donald exhibition  arranged by Gordon Silvie, our New Jersey Commissioner, and his absent wife Betty, recovering from a bout in the hospital. She had put together an astonishing array of gift possibilities with a Clan Donald motif dominated by an outsized wooden Clan Donald badge encircled with Per Mare Per Terras. Scraps of tartan had been transformed by gifted hands into temptations including flowers (arranged with heather), jewel boxes in various sizes and enticing Christmas tree ornaments. A fringed scrap basket upholstered in tartan could have been sold for a smashing price if anything had been for sale. POINT: “Go and do likewise, talented ones.” Your questions will be answered. Directions are available.

Also on the program before dinner was my 25-minute sound and light show of “Scotland’s Clan Donald Country”. This effort to project the common heritage of all MacDonalds and their Septs is available to anyone who will gather together new members in their own areas.