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Wednesday, January 04, 2017


Year-by-year friendships bind together the loose ends of time. Across the English-speaking world we bid good-bye to the old year by singing “Auld Lang Syne.” In doing so, we celebrate long-standing friendships. That’s as traditional as it gets.

 Most folks know, or at least are familiar with, the tune. The words are attributed to Robert Burns, but the melody is not. Some people are familiar with the verses in their entirety. Only a fraction would know the verses in the actual Scottish.

“Auld lang syne” literally means “old long since” or “old long ago.” The words could be rendered idiomatically as “long ago” or “days gone by.”

With obvious nostalgia, Burns recalls the cherished relationship with old friends and the good times they shared together. The memory of these old friendships is honored with the traditional round of adult beverages.

                        Chorus: “For auld lang syne, my dear,

                                    For auld lang syne,

                        We’ll tak a cup o’kindness yet,

                                    For auld lang syne.”

            We’ll have a drink together for old time sake.

                        “Should auld acquaintance be forgot

                                    And never brought to mind?

                        Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

                                    And auld lang syne?”

Burns asks a rhetorically probing question, then answers with his recollections.

                        “And surely ye’ll be your pint stoup,

                                    And surely I’ll be mine;

                        And we’ll tak a cup o’kindness yet,

                                    For auld lang syne.”

            You’ll have your tankard and I’ll have mine for the next round.

                        “We twa hae run about the braes,

                                    And pou’d the gowans fine;

                        But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,

                                    Sin’ auld lang syne.”

            We’ve worn ourselves weary since the old days in fields and flowers.

                        “We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,

                                    Frae morning sun till dine;

                        But seas between us braid hae roar’d

                                    Sin’ auld lang syne.”

Rough seas separated us since the old days when we played in the streams.

                        “And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!

                                    And gie’s a hand o’thine!

                        And we’ll tak a right gude-willie waugh,

                                    For auld lang syne.”

So, let’s clasp a hand of friendship and share a good drink for old time sake.

At year’s end, on December 31 following an evening of celebration, the strains of “Auld Lang Syne” once again drift across the room as sure as midnight rolls around the world.

In the midst of busy lives and an unpredictable new year, remember to honor precious friends and friendships. The value of enduring friendship transcends time; the reservoir of reciprocal affection is always present to draw from.

Happy New Year!


Dennis M. Patrick can be contacted at P. O. Box 337, Stanley, ND 58784 or (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).



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