By Richard K. Munro
Like most Highland natives, Auld Pop had a vague knowledge of a thing called barbecue, but had never actually eaten any. He was, however, intimately familiar with whisky. In fact from 1914-1933 he often made his own. I do not know and have no knowledge if he ever sold any of his poteen. I do know he used to say, “Prohibition? What’s that? No excise officer ever kept a Highland man from his dram.” “Does love make the world go around? Well aye, mon. “Strrruth! . But whisky maks it go around twice as fast. Aye! An’ gies a mon a sonsie gizz, aye! ThAAt’s a sonsie face – a jolly, smiling face!.
It’s Five O’Clock. “Whisky is liquid sunshine.” said Robertson.
“I hae always felt that distant train whistles heard in the dead of night are God’s way of letting us know the best days are fast runnin’ awa! .Time’s chariot is running by.An’ the broken hairt it kens nae second spring again, though the weary warld dinna cease frae its greeting. Aye, we are a’ togither tonicht for a wee while. But the parting day is comin’. The whiskey, and romance eventually runs out and the night will soon turn to day. Aye. Ye are a leal n’ true mon, Johnny. You stood by me and Jimmy here in a very dark moment. You and the lads and the Dins- were willing to brave the shadows ‘ death. Medal o no’ yer the bravest mon o’ the Regiment. If Auld Port were here today, he wad understand.”
“Aye”, said Johnny.
“Aye,” said Jimmy
Auld Pop said, “here’s a toast to the Ants and to Auld Port!
TO AULD PORT! TO THE ANTS! they said.
It was dark that night in in the distance they could hear the thud of the German guns round Wipers (Ypres).
Auld Port, Captain Dick MacDonald Porteous had led them in many a trench raid but would never do so again.
That morning, as dawn broke Auld Port was killed. They told his parents it was a stray bullet.
Auld Pop, who was there, said, “it was a Jairmen sniper for sure. Aye. “
He used to have conservations with his Argyll Squaddies, Jimmy Quigley and American Johnny Robertson. Hae ye a smoke?” he asked. “Aye!” said Johnny,
““Matches?” he asked.
“Enough to burn Rome,” said Johnny.
“Whiskey?” he said
“Enough whiskey for the a river of pain, loss and sorrow For the Abhainn nam Manach itself -that’s the River Beauly for a Lallan laddie like ye, Johnny! “
“Are ye fou, Johnny lad?
” “No’ yet, Tommie!”
“An’ ye, young Jimmy?
“Chan eil fos tamuill beag Brathair mathair!”
Johnny, and what’s That? I ken it’s yer mither-leed (language).
Auld Pop: “He says, not for a little while yet, uncle!”“
Said Johnny To be or not to be, drunk on whisky, that is the question in the rright-true Saxon tongue.
( a distant train sounds its horn)
Auld Pop grew thoughtful
May 10. 1915 Lang Syne.
Lochaber No More (funerals for an Argyll. “LOCHABER NO MORE” that was known to be played during WW1 Military funerals with Gun Volley at specific parts of this tune.
Lyrics for “Lochaber No More” :
FAREWELL to Lochaber, farewell to the glen,
No more will he wander Lochaber again.
Lochaber no more! Lochaber no more!
The lad will return to Lochaber no more!
The trout will come back from the deeps of the sea,
The bird from the wilderness back to the tree,
Flowers to the mountain and tides to the shore, But he will return to Lochaber no more!
O why should the hills last, that never were young,
Unperishing stars in the heavens be hung;
Be constant the seasons, undrying the stream,
And he that was gallant be gone like a dream?
Brave songs will be singing in isles of the West,
But he will be silent who sang them the best; T
he dance will be waiting, the pipes will implore,
But he will return to Lochaber no more!
Child of the forest! profound is thy sleep,
The valley that loved thee awakes but to weep;
When our fires are rekindled at dawn of the morn,
Our griefs burn afresh, and our prayers are forlorn;
The night falls disconsolate, bringing no peace,
No hope for our dreams, for our sighs no release;
In vain come the true hearts and look from the door,
For thou wilt return to Lochaber no more!