I discovered in a new way my not so noble feet of clay over the holidays. I like to think I’m generous and open hearted, but I discovered a stingy, miserly side of me this Christmas that came as a bit of a shock.
And I had help in my fall from grace, too. A dear friend of Scotties and Scotland pushed me over the brink. Let me explain.
Now, it all begins back in 1969 when I moved my young family to Glasgow, Scotland, and discovered Scottish shortbread. Um-hm … those of you who know this delicacy know of what I speak! Historians think England’s battles to control Scotland were over territory, but I’ve always believed it wasn’t land at all — they wanted Scottish shortbread!
After seven years in Scotland I came back to the States with a love for the land, the Scots people, and the terrier that wears their name. I also came home with unslakable appetite for proper fish & chips and Scottish shortbread.
Over the 37 years since my Scotland days I’ve had to do without: fish & chips are not the same on this side of the Atlantic, and shortbread … well, commercial options come up ’short.’
So you can see my predicament when GSM writer, Carolyn Grande, of Longmont, CO., sent me once again this year a tin packed with homemade Scottish shortbread. I’m guessing, from the moment she addressed her package to me and put it in the mail, Imps and lesser demons were taking wagers over the downfall of my generous spirit. That’s because I suspect Hades longs for heavenly shortbread every chance it gets!
Well, the shortbread arrived in my mail and a Jekel & Hyde transformation came over me. What can I say? I knew it the moment I tore into the package and ate the first delectible square: my eyes narrowed as I furtively glanced around the room assessing my chances of squirreling away my prize before dogs or humans could know of its arrival. I knew my boys were coming for the holidays–ravenous wolves with appetites unbounded– plus Albie and Burnsie are eager connoisseurs of all things Scottish.
Call me greedy. Call me Silas Marner. Call me whatever you like. I confess I did what any real lover of Scottish shortbread would do: I planted my taste bud flag on my prize tin of homemade shortbread and hid it away as my private stock — out of sight and out of reach!
On second thought, I can’t blame Carolyn Grande for my fall from grace. And I certainly didn’t learn miserly hoarding from my good-hearted parents or in seminary. No. Can’t really blame anybody but me.
All I can say — now that my shortbread tin is empty — is: sorry boys, sorry Scotties. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, especially when it comes to Scottish shortbread!
No. My fall from grace was my own . . . but I know this: never man fell with a more delicious grin on his face!
Joseph Harvill, publisher Great Scots Magazine