Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Scottish Ancestors

Yes, I know this is Valentine’s Day and I should probably write some deep reflection about love and relationships, but that doesn’t happen to be what’s on my mind.  Anyone who knows my family, especially my mother, knows that we are prone to suffering the consequences of certain choices we make which seem like perfectly good choices at the time.  Whether it’s my mother backing into the broad side of a school bus or Aunt Lois jumping in the “quick sand” or me, devoting a whole evening and even the next morning praying for the families of dead cows, I have come to the conclusion that it is all the result of genetics and therefore the fault of this Scottish ancestor about whom the following ballad was written. (Okay, maybe he’s not my ancestor, but he certainly should have been.)

The Ballad of the Scottish Hod-Bearer

Dear Sir, I write this note to you to tell you of mah plight
For at the time o’ writin’ it, Ah’m not a pretty sight.
Mah body is all black an’ blue, mah face a deathly gray.
An’ Ah write this note to say why Ah am not at work today.

While workin’ on the fourteenth floor, some bricks Ah had to clear.
But tossin’ them doon from such a height wasnae a good idea.
Mah foreman wasnae verra pleased; he is an awkward sot.
So he said Ah had to cart them doon the ladder in mah hod.

Now clearin’ all these bricks by hod, it was so verra slow.
So I hoisted up a barrel and secured the rope below.
But in mah haste to do the job, Ah was too blind to see
That a barrel full o’ buildin’ bricks was heavioer than me.

An’ so when Ah untied the rope the barrel fell like lead,
An’ clingin’ tightly to the rope Ah started up instead.
Ah shot up like a rocket an’ to mah dismay Ah found
That halfway up I met the bloody barrel comin’ doon.

The barrel broke mah shoulder as to the ground it sped.
An’ when Ah reached the top Ah banged the pulley wit’ mah head.
But Ah held on tightly, numb with shock, from this almighty blow
While the barrel spilled out half its bricks some fourteen floors below.

Now when the bricks had fallen from the barrel to the floor,
Ah then outweighed the barrel an’ so started doon once more.
But Ah clung on tightly to the rope, mah body racked with pain.
An’ halfway doon Ah met the bloody barrel once again.

The force of this collision halfway doon the office block
Caused multiple abrasions an’ a nasty case o’ shock.
But Ah held on tightly to the rope as Ah fell to-ward the ground,
An’ Ah landed on the broken bricks the barrel scattered round.

Now as Ah lay there on the ground, Ah thought Ah’d passed the worst.
But the barrel broke the pulley wheel an’ then the bottom burst.
A show’r o’ bricks rained doon on me; Ah didnae hae a hope.
As Ah lay there bleedin’ on the ground, Ah let go the bloody rope.

The barrel now bein’ heavioer, it started doon once more.
It landed right across me as Ah lay there on the floor.
It broke mah ribs and mah left arm an’ Ah can only say
That Ah hope you’ll understand why Ah am not at work today.

Do you ever have days like this?


  1. There must be a lesson somewhere in here. Good one and you have a nice Valentine's Day.

  2. You too, Paula. Maybe the lesson is that if this poor Scottish lad hadn't been sweet on some lassie and was moved by Valentine's Day to do something about it, maybe he wouldn't have had descendants to pass his poor choice-making gene down to...lol