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Elphinstone Kist   Doric Prose

Fit a Let Doon!     by: Leighton, Marischal

As ye can understan I'm the same's the lave fin it comes till relations, some's nae sae bad, some's aricht (like my uncle Marischal), an then again some o them are nae muckle eese ava. Noo fit I'm aboot tae tell ye is Gospel truth an nae twa wayes aboot it. It concerns a cousin o mine fa hid the misfortune tae dee early on this year (2002), but maybe afore I ging on tae speak aboot her, I micht hae a word or twa aboot my uncle Marischal. Noo there's a lad if ever there wis ane. He made a livin as a journalist, startin aff in Aiberdeen wi the ‘Bon Accord' I think it wis, fitever, that wis him yoked an fae there he gaed on till the ‘Courier‘ in Dundee an syne the ‘Express' in Glesca. He sailed oot tae India an wis the foreign correspondent oot there, for the ‘Express’ atween the wars.
He come hame in 1939 roon aboot the time the war broke oot. I can mine fine his comin hame. Ane o Wordie's horse cairts brocht doon his sea kist fae the station, a bonnie brass bound thing it wis, an awfa heavy. I ken it wis heavy because the cairter, a big reed haired billie, said tae somebody, ‘that thing’s a helluva wecht'. Noo I thocht tae masel, that's a lad that kens a thing or twa aboot luggin heavy wechts, so it must hae been heavy, an fin I saw my uncle hand him a hale shillin, that clinched it. It WIS helluva heavy. I mean a HALE shillin, saxpence wid hae been nae bad. Onywye this kist wis trailed intil the hoose an of course yours truly wis there at the grand openin. There wis aa kinds o goodies packed intil it, there wis a bonny bit o cloth wi a great hillick o beetle shells shewed intil't, an them aa shinin green an blue. A real bonny thing tae look at. It wis at this point, as I mind, that I spied fit I took tae be a sweetie o somekind or ither, an nae un-naturally, I louped it intil my moo wi some satisfaction. Sadly I hiv tae tell ye my satisfaction wis short lived. It turned oot that my highly prized sweetie wis in fact a moth baa. Noo I didna ken if ony o you hiv ever hid the experience o samplin moth baas wi yer taste buds, but if by chance ye are that wye inclined. . .dinna dee't. It is a culinary experience ye can weel dee withoot, as a wifie eence asked ‘Is that things guid for moths?' ‘No' she wis telt ‘it kills them'.
I hiv till agree maist wholehairtedly. My uncle Marischal became my hero. He telt's aboot fin he wis oot sheetin crocodiles an somebody fell oot o the tree. It seems he held the record for shinnin up trees an as far as my uncle could tell me, it had never been broken. My uncle liked a dram noo an again, mair noo than again, and in my later years he introduced me til the gentle art o‘ drinkin the ‘watter o life. It wis aboot this time that he thocht my upbringin‘ had been sorely neglected in certain respects. That is tae say,he deemed it unacceptable that I didna ken ony “richt good sangs" as he pit it. Sae it come aboot that I wis enrolled, as it were, intae the realm o bawdy sangs. We would hae a dram or twa an tell stories an sing sangs, syne laach aboot things near fit tae barst. My mam wis nae amused !! Sae, mair o uncle Marischal anither time
Let's get back tae fit I wis tae tell ye in the first place. Noo I hid this cousin Betty. Mine you she preferred Elizabeth, but we aye ca'ed her Betty. Betty Ellis. Her dad wis a brither o the aforementioned Marischal an he had a plumbers an electricians business in Stonie. Noo Betty an me didna see eye tae eye, as ye micht say, bit gie her her due, she wis a clever kind o a quine. So much so that, I‘m sure fin I tell ye she passed wi honours for some degree or ither an in due course becam a teacher o English, ye winna be suprised. So this wis the background o cousin Betty.
She teen up wi a chap fa hid tee dee wi the North Boats ie The North of Scotland and the Orkney and Shetland Shipping Company. Fit this lad did there I hiv nae idea but the wedding wis announced in due course and yours truly got an invite. I hiv tae say it wis ane o the best weddins I hiv ever been at. The service wis held in the Catholic kirkie in Stonie, him bein o that faith, an the reception wis in the Crown hotel, at that time it wis a Mrs Keillor fa hid the place. Onywye my cousin wis noo Mrs Keir an a puckle priests an freends come oot fae Aiberdeen tae celebrate this event. . .boy fit a nicht. I hid nae idea that holy hair wis let doon in sic a wye. Onywye I kinda lost touch wi Betty, she gaed awa tae bide in Aiberdeen an we never corresponded as is the case wi ower mony folk fin ye come tae think aboot it. However the years gaed by an word come that her man hid deed. So I gaed alang tae the funeral which took place in Dunnottar Kirkyard in Stonie.
Betty, I discovered, had lost a fair bit o her sicht an I felt sad an thocht that maybe I should hae kept up the connection. However I didna an that wis it. Onywye the next thing wis that I heard that Betty hid passed on til pastures new an would I tak a cord at the interment. Sae of course I said aaricht. The day came roond an aa the usual folk arrived wi the usual quiet words. Anither twa cousins cam fae Edinburgh, Marischal and Marjory, son an dother o the uncle already mentioned. As things would hae it I got cord number four which wis at the left shither, so tae speak, an my cousin Marischal he wis doon at the richt fit. Aa very solenn. The word wis said an we aa lifted tae tak the wecht so that the gravedigger could tak awa the boords aneth the coffin. Suddenly the cord my cousin hid broke an operations were brocht till a standstill while emergency repairs were made. At last aa wis ready tae go eence mair. The lift wis successful an the boords were teen aaw syne abody lowered awa. Noo things were gaen alang fairly weel at this point fin suddenly the cord that I hid had o a suddenty cam oot o the fastening in the coffin. Weel ye can imagine the stramash! Puir Betty wis couped intil the hole in the grund in a maist undignifeed mainner an aa them that had soond ropes tae haud on til did their best tae stop her takin a nose dive
athegither. The funeral director mannies started tae loup aboot an the gravedigger lay doon on the grund at the side o the grave an somewye or ither got a rope roond the coffin an we got it up again. By this time the funeral director's henchmen hid got a haud o webbin an this wis pit roon the coffin an the beerial took place.
The funeral directors were maist apologetic an spoke aboot takin it up wi the manufacturers an sic like. Onywye, all's well that ends well, we aa gaed for a meal till a fine hotel in Stonie an I found oot that Betty wrote love stories for Mills an Boon. So there ye are, ye're niver sure but I couldna but think on puir Betty, fit a let doon.

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