The pipes are calling

Kenneth Pfeiffer and Troy Himmelman
With much pageantry, piper Kenneth Pfeiffer ushered in the haggis, presented by executive sous chef Troy Himmelman and followed by men in Scottish dress. Photos by Ralph Stewart

By Pat Waring - February 1, 2007

Tartans made of good Scottish wool were perfect cold-weather wear last Saturday night, although some of the men dressed in kilts might have found them a bit breezy on the way into the Harbor View Hotel, site of The 20th annual Burns Nicht Supper.

Around the world, gatherings such as this one honored the extraordinary life of the poet Robert Burns. Here on the Island, more than 140 guests joined the Scottish Society of Martha's Vineyard for a celebration steeped in tradition. In 1796, nine friends gathered at the poet's birthplace to raise a glass to his memory and those attending last weekend's dinner did the very same thing.

Catherine Mayhew
Catherine Mayhew of Vineyard Haven raised a toast to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at last Saturday's Robert Burns dinner at the Harbor View Hotel.

Alan Reekie had the honor of reciting "Ode Tae a Haggis," ending with a shot of scotch whiskey. Some traditions are better than others. The various toasts, some funny, some more poignant, linked the Island event to similar dinners around the globe. A solemn moment came with the reading of the names of friends and family who died since last year's dinner. The names were read to the beautiful music of "Flowers O' the Forest," played by Sandra Bitterman on the Celtic harp.

At the end of the evening, all joined hands and sang "Auld Lang Syne," and bagpiper Kenneth Pfeiffer played "Amazing Grace" as guests filed out into the cold night.