November 2015

In this Issue:

 November Meeting  Maschino School of Highland Dance
 Letter From the Editor  Recipe for Scotcheroos
 In Flanders Fields  Society Officers
 Remembrance Poppies  Coming Events & Celebrations
 November Historical Events Meet the Members
 Odds and Sods  A Word from our Advertisers

November 12 Meeting

We have two programs planned for the November meeting, 6:30 PM at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central in Phoenix.

Snacks will be served. No charge for Members. We ask for a 5.00 donation for adult Non-Members. Social half-hour at 6:30, progam at 7:15 PM; 50/50 raffle follows at 8:30.

The Remembrance Table

The Scottish American Military Society will remember the brave and noble men and women who have served in the service of our country throughout its history. Most recently... World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The music refrain you will hear during the presentation is "The "Sands of Kuwait" written by Pipe Major Colin MacKenzie of the Queens Own Highlanders. It honors all who were lost in the Gulf War, and is played by the Pipes and Drums of the United States Air Force Reserve.

Castle performanceCeannard a’ Dòigh
(Leading the Way)

Serving twenty years as Senior Drum Major of our Highland Games, Kevin Conquest of the Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band will share the traditions and role performed at the front of a pipe band.

This will include his own experiences competing around the world, performing for members of the Royal Family, and leading tattoo massed bands performances in Scotland.

Kevin ConquestReceiving an award 

Letter from Editor, Don Finch

Dear fellow Caledonians,

November is the month we remember, and give thanks. Depending on where you grew up, November 11th is known as Armistice Day, Poppy Day, Remembrance Day or Veterans Day. It originated with the signing of an armistice (a cessation of fighting) on November 11, 1918 thereby ending the Great War. The agreement was signed by Sir Douglas Haig, a Scotsman who was Commander in Chief of the British Army. By the way, his family owned the Haig whisky distillery!

Locally there are Veterans Day parades in Mesa, Tempe, Phoenix, Anthem and Surprise. Check the local Chambers of Commerce for details.

We have another opportunity to remember the fallen in the Scottish community. On the Sunday closest to Remembrance Day, there’s a Memorial Service at The City of Mesa Cemetery to honor the 22 RAF Cadets that were killed during WW2 training exercises at Mesa’s Falcon Field. This year’s service  begins at 10:45 am on Sunday November 8th, where the Society will be laying a wreath, accompanied by the Scottish American Military Society, and the Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band.

Need another Scottish gathering fix? Take in the Tucson Celtic Festival November 6-8 at Rialto Park. The CSA’s tent is in the Clans area.

Keeping with the military theme, our November 12th meeting will feature a ‘Remembrance Table’ ceremony by Post 48 of the Scottish American Military Society, followed with an illustrated talk by Kevin Conquest, Senior Drum Major of the Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band.

Don Finch Finally, make a note on your calendar to attend a Cultural Fair on Saturday, November 21st from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm at the Tempe Public Library, 3500 S. Rural Road. Nessie will be there along with local Highland Dancers. Wear your tartan and give us a hand at the CSA Information table.

Oh…Happy Thanksgiving, and don’t forget St. Andrews Day on November 30th. (more about that in our next issue). Slainte! DON

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, tho' poppies grow
In Flanders fields

John McCrae was a poet and physician from Guelph, Ontario. He developed an interest in poetry at a young age and wrote throughout his life. His earliest works were published in the mid-1890's in Canadian magazines and newspapers. McCrae's poetry often focused on death and the peace that followed.

At the age of 41, McCrae enrolled with the Canadian Expeditionary Force following the outbreak of the First World War. He had the option of joining the medical corps because of his training and age, but he volunteered instead to join a fighting unit as a gunner and medical officer. It was his second tour of duty in the Canadian military. He had previously fought with a volunteer force in the Second Boer War. He considered himself a soldier first; his father was a military leader in Guelph and McCrae grew up believing in the duty of fighting for his country and empire.

McCrae fought in the second battle of Ypres in the Flanders region of Belgium where the German army launched one of the first chemical attacks in the history of war. They attacked the Canadian position with chlorine gas on April 22, 1915, but were unable to break through the Canadian line, which held for over two weeks. In a letter written to his mother, McCrae described the battle as a "nightmare". "For seventeen days and seventeen nights none of us have had our clothes off, nor our boots even, except occasionally. In all that time while I was awake, gunfire and rifle fire never ceased for sixty seconds.... And behind it all was the constant background of the sights of the dead, the wounded, the maimed, and a terrible anxiety lest the line should give way." Alexis Helmer, a close friend, was killed during the battle on May 2.

McCrae performed the burial service himself, at which time he noted how poppies quickly grew around the graves of those who died at Ypres. The next day, he composed the poem while sitting in the back of an ambulance at an Advanced Dressing Station outside Ypres. This location is today known as the John McCrae Memorial Site.

Source: Wikipedia (Image, poem and bio)

Remembrance Poppies

The red poppies that McCrae referred to had been associated with war since the Napoleonic Wars when a writer of that time first noted how the poppies grew over the graves of soldiers. The damage done to the landscape in Flanders during the battle greatly increased the lime content in the surface soil, leaving the poppy as one of the few plants able to grow in the region

Poppy Wreaths

Inspired by "In Flanders Fields", American professor Moina Michael resolved at the war's conclusion in 1918 to wear a red poppy year-round to honour the soldiers who had died in the war. She also wrote a poem in response called "We Shall Keep the Faith". She distributed silk poppies to her peers and campaigned to have them adopted as an official symbol of remembrance by the American Legion.

Madame E. Guérin attended the 1920 convention where the Legion supported Michael's proposal and was herself inspired to sell poppies in her native France to raise money for the war's orphans. In 1921, Guérin sent poppy sellers to London ahead of Armistice Day, attracting the attention of Field Marshal Douglas Haig. A co-founder of The Royal British Legion, Haig supported and encouraged the sale. The practice quickly spread throughout the British Empire.

The wearing of poppies in the days leading up to Remembrance Day remains popular in many areas of the Commonwealth of Nations, particularly Great Britain, Canada, and South Africa, and in the days leading up to ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand.


Scottish Historical Events in November
by Jo Ramsdell

November 1 - Samhain

Wheel of the YearLast month this diagram was shown of the Celtic calendar with its seasons and festival  days.  Samhain (pronounced sah-win) is the Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or “the dark half” of the year. 

Traditionally the festival is celebrated from sunset on October 31 to sunset November 1.  This festival falls approximately halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice.  It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals, which are also celebrated approximately halfway between the two yearly solstices and equinoxes:  Imbolc-February 1, Beltrane-May 1 and Lughnasadh-Ausust 1.

The modern Irish name is Samhain, in Scottish Gaelic Samhainn and in Manx Sauin.  These are also the names of November in each language.  These names all come from “Old Irish”.   

November 1 - St. Andrew's Day

St. AndrewSt. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and his day is celebrated on November 30.  Andrew, the brother of St. Peter, is said to have died on an “X” shaped cross.  This shape is now reflected on the Scottish flag (the Saltire) a white X on a field of blue.

There is a lot of folklore associated with St. Andrew’s Day, particularly around young women who hope to marry.  At midnight as November 29 becomes November 30, young women prayed to be shown signs from their future husbands.  They peeled an apple in such a way that the peel remained in a long, single piece and threw this over their shoulders.  The shape that the peel formed on the ground indicated the first letter of their future husbands’ names.

Many Scottish associations or groups celebrate St. Andrew’s Day with a dinner similar to the Robert Burns suppers. 


Maschino School of Highland Dance

Maschino School of Highland DanceWe neglected to mention that the featured Dancers at the Diamondback's Celtic Heritage Day were from the Maschino School of Highland Dance.

On Sunday September 13th they joined the Society and other Celtic groups based in the Valley to attend the Diamondbacks vs. LA Dodgers baseball game at Chase Field.

We apologize for the omission.

You can visit the School and see more pictures like these at their Facebook Page



Dancers on the field

Recipes from the Society's "Flour of Scotland" Cookbook

Scotcheroos - by Gail WYlie

1 cup sugar                                    1 cup light syrup
1 cup peanut butter                         6 cups Rice Krispies

Cook sugar & syrup in 3-quart saucepan, moderate heat, unti lit begins to boil.
Remove from heat.
Stir in the peanut butter. 
Mix in Rice Krispies.
Press into buttered 13 x 9-inch pan.
Let harden.

1 x 6 oz. package (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips.
1 x 6 oz. package (1 cup) butterscotch chips.
Melt over hot, not boiling water.
Stir to blend.
Spread over Krispies  mixture.
Chill about 5 minutes, until top is firm.
Cut into bars.                                                 Yield: 48 2 x 1 inch bars

Flulr of Scotland

Odds and Sods
From The Scotsman's 'Scotland on Sunday'

Haggis eating winnerScot wins world Haggis eating competition

Lee Goodfellow, right, took just 47 seconds to eat a 1 lb haggis. Picture: Hemedia

(read the full article)


The humble potatoPotatoes are more important to Scots than alcohol

The humble potato is seen by 94 per cent of Scots surveyed as a versatile food.

(read the full article)


Nessie's name?Loch Ness monster "was to be named after queen"

New papers revealed that Nessie was due to be named after the Queen.

(read the full article)

Upcoming Events and Celebrations
If you would like your special date recognized in our monthly newsletter, we need to hear from you. Please let us know your correct birthday and anniversary information by email to and it will be included in our Celebration list.

November 7-8 Tucson Highland Games
November 8 RAF Cadet Memeorial Ceremony, City of Mesa Cemetery
November 11 Veteran's Day
November 12 Monthly Meeting at the ICC
November 21 Cultural Fair at the Tempe Library
November 26 Thanksgiving Day
November 30 St. Andrew's Day

Meet the Members - Mike and Sharon Fox
Mike & Sharon Fox

Mike and Sharon Fox have been married 38 years. 

Mike was born and raised in Wisconsin, a Marquette University grad. After a time in the Marine Corps, he worked as a General Manager and in Marketing in Milwaukee, Denver and Phoenix. His heritage is mostly McGillivray, plus McDonald, Rooney and Preston heritage. 

Sharon was also born and raised in Wisconsin, a Marquette University grad. Her profession is a Speech Pathologist. 

They have 2 daughters who are both married. One lives in Jacksonville, Florida and one here in Arizona. They have 2 grandsons and 2 granddaughters.

Membership Renewal Reminder

Dues are still only $25 Single and $40 Family. This admits you to all our wonderful monthly events with food and entertainment provided. Join now and your dues will cover the remainder of 2015 and all of 2016

It’s easy to pay by credit card or PayPal, just jump to the Membership Page

Society Meetings
Regular membership meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ. beginning at 6:30 pm. Come join us or log on to

Caledonian Society Officers
President: Don Finch
Immediate Past President: Mark Clark
Past President: (2010 – 2012) Jean Latimer
Vice President & Membership Chair: Ian Warrander
Secretary Vicki Phegley
Treasurer: David McBee
Games Chair
Paul Bell
Trustee 1: Mark Pelletier
Trustee 2: Michelle Crownhart
Trustee 3: Thom von Hapsburg
Newsletter Editor:

Don Finch
Statutory Agent: Dan Miller

A Word from our Advertisers

Kilt Rental USA

Bagpiper USA
Len Wood

Lois Wallace


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