Back to where it all started – Costa Mesa
It’s seems to be a trait of mine that I’m always late in getting the “Beaton Path” newsletter out. Such is the case for this edition. It was Memorial Day Weekend, over two months ago, that I’m reporting on. This was my first trip by air since my accident five years ago, not a short one-hour drive, but a four-hour flight to California. The Scottish Fest at Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa (Great Los Angeles area) is my flagship Highland games where I started performing thirty-six years ago. Needless to say, it was a very emotional experience with many friends and fans there to greet me. Linda and I took along our young, student nurse/caregiver, Ashley Probst, to help us out. She was marvelous; we couldn’t have done it without her!
On Saturday we arrived at our parking location in the Fairgrounds and during the short 150 yard trip to my Sales Booth we were stopped countless times by folks who’d been waiting to speak with me. A short time later, the Opening Ceremonies were held in the Main Arena where I was introduced by the Chieftain, Tom Reoch, as the Honorary Chieftain. I had prepared a speech that was expected to last for approximately eight minutes, but was asked by Tom the day before to limit my comments to two-three minutes. I conveyed this information to the crowd and took advantage of the time afforded to me to announce that my “CDs were available for sale at my booth directly outside of the Main Arena”. This was “vintage” Beaton hawking his wares and was met with both laughter and clapping.
Following the Opening Ceremonies, there was a rededication of the “Alex Beaton” Stage. The first dedication took place in 2012, but I was unable to attend due to health reasons, so Tom wanted to rededicate while I was there. Bad Haggis with Eric Rigler was on stage performing prior to the Ceremony. Eric, a close friend of mine, played the Uilleann (elbow) pipes for “Braveheart”, “Titanic”, “Avatar” and many other feature films and TV shows (The Outlander). As the “Titanic” is one of Ashley’s favorite films, I asked Eric to perform the theme song and dedicate it to her. She was very moved. He also was asked by Tom to speak a few words during the Rededication and his words meant so much to me.
The entire weekend was successful and the crowning glory is that I returned to St. Louis with no ill effects from my journey. If health permits, this means that I am able to make similar journeys in the future.
I sold out of my CDs and DVDs that I took to these Games! Please note that my CDs & DVDs will, again, be for sale at Pleasanton (http://www.thescottishgames.com), Estes Park (http://www.scotfest.com) and Stone Mountain (http://www.smhg.org) and Seaside (http://www.seaside-games.com). As a reminder, some of my CDs are sold out and are only available for download from my website (www.alexbeaton.com).
Linda has been instrumental in helping to keep Glenfinnan Music going; she’s my partner here and in life. Linda has, and continues to be a wonderful, loving and caring wife. As you can imagine, it’s now been five years since my injury and she has had to deal with so many issues to keep me alive and strong – some issues known to only a few. I would not have been able to make the trip to California if it wasn’t for “my Linda”. In spite of the fact that I drove her and Ashley nuts with worry about getting a pressure ulcer, she was determined that I stay healthy so I could make the trip.
On a sad note, I’m still alive … (oops, Linda asked me to add this comment).
Seriously though, I share with you our sadness over the passing of two close friends, Karen Glasser and J.T. McPherson. I’ve known Karen since 1992, having been introduced to her by her long-time partner, Chris Chesser and saw her frequently as we lived close to one another during the time I lived in L.A. She was in the film business and, at the time Braveheart was made, worked for Mel Gibson’s ICON Productions. Throughout the time I knew her, Karen was kind, enormously generous of her time and attention to all who knew her and a strong advocate for animal rights. J.T. McPherson was one of the most unique individuals I have ever met in my life. There is so much that can be said of this man, from his unusual diet to his tempting powerful, distilled, peach-flavored drink; from his distinctly Southern accent to his great love of his beautiful family and his Scottish roots. They will be sadly missed.
In closing, I’m hoping that you aren’t experiencing misfortune with weather related storms and tornadoes. Given with what is happening across the country, we have little to complain about with our excessive heat and humidity here in St. Louis. Wishing you all good health and happiness and an enjoyable summer!
I expect to have another “Beaton Path” newsletter out in the near future; however, don’t hold your breath.
PS: I will not be attending the St. Louis Highland Games this September 24 as Linda and I planned to be out of town that weekend.