Monday, July 7, 2008

Sword Quest 1980's style

In the late 80's, I went to England with my parents. It was winter, but we lucked out and had pretty nice weather as we explored randomly around the country in a shoe-box sized car. I had my eye out for swords, but wasn't having much luck.

Then it hit me! I had recently seen the movie Highlander, which had just come out, and I knew that Scotland was the place to seek swords. I began a relentless propaganda campaign on my parents. We were crisscrossing huge chunks of the map, so I convinced them that a quick jaunt north would be no problem... a simple diversion for a day or eight. They didn't know I intended to make a pilgrimage all the way north to Eilean Donan castle (where Highlander was filmed). There were swords there, I was certain.

Snow, flat tires, and many small roads later, we made it! What good sports my folks were to embrace this huge trek so spontaneously. We got there and Eilean Donan was closed for the winter.

I was wandering around the massive walls, smelling the icy air blowing off the loch, and a big door suddenly opened... A kind little old lady who normally ran the gift shop stepped out into the snow, and beckoned us inside. I could hardly understand her, but she poured us a dram of something delicious, and let me wander the gift shop. Weee!

Swords were waiting around each corner I felt, so I plunged into the dim space. ...... I still have the small carved walking sticks, books, candles, and other stuff I bought there. There were no swords, except a musty ancient post-card that showed one hanging on a wall. To the mental soundtrack of Queen, I left that castle feeling like an exile.

Melancholy can sometimes feel pretty good, in a weird way. I loved that trip.

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