Toast to the Lassies


How well I loved the trusty, thrifty, brave and faithful, the well-loved, cross-dressing dog of our youthful first days of television: Lassie.

That not the Lassie I'm to toast,  I've not learned much in my life with those lassies, but I made this rule: Never compare a woman to a dog.

Personally, I don't know why women should be so sensitive. Dogs are loving, honest, intelligent creatures. They give us much, and expect little back.

Burns loved dogs:

"He was a gash an' faithful tyke,
As ever lap a sheugh or dyke.
His honest, sonsie, baws'nt face
Ay gat him friends in ilk place;
His breast was white, his tousie back
Weel clad wi' coat o' glossy black;
His gawsie tail, wi' upward curl,
Hung owre his hurdies wi' a swirl."

(The Twa Dogs)

But why should this be, really? Why shouldn't women like being compared to dogs? Is there really anything more or less natural, more or less fitting, or more or less flattering about the comparison to "a gash and faithfu' tyke" than to

"...a red red rose
That's newly sprung in June.
O my luve's like the melodie
That's sweetly played in tune."
(My Luve Is Like a Red, Red Rose)


But dogs and women really are different

The longer the man takes to get home, the more excited the dog gets

If a dog smells another dog on you, it doesn't get angry, it gets interested

You can put a dog-collar on a dog without it calling you a pervert

Dogs don't talk

On the other hand, Dogs and Women are alike in many ways.


Neither believe that silence is golden.


Neither can balance a checkbook.


Both put too much value on kissing.


Any woman that thinks the way to a mans heart is through his stomach is aiming just a little too high.


Q:What is the difference between a wife and a girlfriend?
A:About 45 pounds!!


Marriage is a three ring circus: an engagement ring, a wedding ring, and suffering


Marriage is the process of finding out what kind of man your wife would have preferred


The institution of marriage is spelled out right there in the ceremony.  You walk down the aisle to the altar, make a few promises and sing a couple of hymns.   The purpose of marriage is exposed…aisle..altar…hymn.


Tam O’Shanter found out his bachelor days were over when he had a dram or two too many ae market day in Ayr.     He woke up with a thundering head and aches all over to see his wife Kate standing over him……


ay, ye
ah waant a wurd wi ye
juist poppt in, duid ye
oan the wey hame fae wurk, wur ye
juist poppt in
fur a wee blethir, wus it
a cheerie chinwag, eh
a quick hiya boys tae the smithie an the miller, eh
an a wee hauf o hevvie juist
tae keep juist
tae keep ye gaun, lyke

but juist the ane tho
ay juist the ane
an a wee ane, mind
juist the wee, wee, wee, weeist ane
an then ye'r awa hame
sulky sullen dame an aa that ken
gaitherin hur broos, sae seh is
ay, juist the ane
gaitherin stoarm, ken
nursin hur wrath, whit
ay, juist ane bit
ay, nae bathir
oh, ay
well, dinnae geis it, Shanter
juist dinnae geis it

ye cam in heir
fowre in the bliddy moarnan
an ye wur buckled
cuildnae staun
cuildnae speik
haverin a load ay keech, sae ye wur
tellin us hou ye'd juist goat bak fae a ceilidh wi the deevil
an hou come ye'd seen viv lumsden's belly button
a bletherin, blusterin, drunken blellum, sae ye ur
whit a state tae git intae
voamit stens doon the bak o yir jaikit
werrin sumbiddie else's schune
how cuild ye be werrin sumbiddie else's schune
an of coorse
yir knoab wis hingin oot the tap ay yir breeks
nae schemm, huv ye
an sei if ye'v byn oot wi yon hoor kirton jean again
sae help me, ah'll chap it aff
an ye hud tae be seik
aa owre ma bran new, deep layered
haun-med bi crippilt weans in kilbarchan
tender pyle carpit
duidn't ye
whit a state

ye wur that pischt
that yir ain voamit
goat aff the flair
an ran ben tae the cludgie
an spewed its ring
ah dinna ken

fowre in the moarnan
ye cam in heir
duidnae waant yir tea, duid ye
(ah'v hud chips)
slavin away since six this moarnan
a ten myle hyke throu the snaa fur fyrewidd
fechtin aff wolfs an bears an lions
(ah'v hud chips)
slavin away
sooth o the boarder spanish meatballs
orange ginger
an tatties
(ah'v hud chips)
romanoff a la lila, wattir chestnuts
an custart
ah hud tae sen the bairns oot
tae bolivia fur the fukkin chestnuts
an ye cam in hier
but ah'v had chips
an a wee dona kebab

an juist whit
in the nemm o the wee man duid ye dae tae the horse
ma best brawest cuddie, puir meg
that wis the tocher aff ma ain faithir
ye'v went an broke it
ye'r an eejit shanter
a fukkin eejit
ah dinna ken whit ye wur playin at
bit ye better
fynn that tail

But we can easily imagine that there were exchanges in the Burns home which provided the model for the ferocity of Tam O Shanter's missus.

Burns could not have attained the status he has were it not for the fact that he was surrounded by remarkable women.


And, aren't we all?


What I am saying to you gentlemen is simply this; forget about the pin up girls and the busty blondes. They are the stuff of fiction; they are figments of your imagination. The real women of your everyday life have all the qualities you seek if only you have the sense to see it. Cherish them; give them the respect they deserve. Even if they burn their bras give them all the support they need.
Let us give thanks for the sweethearts of this world for bringing romance into our lives.
Let us give thanks for the spinsters of this world for they are unclaimed treasures.
Let us give thanks for the wives of this world for their love, their loyalty, their passion and their patience.
Let us give thanks for the mothers of this world, for theirs is the most noble role of all.

Auld Nature swears the lovely dears
Her noblest work she classes;
Her 'prentice han' she tried on man,
And then She made the lasses!

Gentlemen! Be up, on your feet, and join me in a Toast to the Lassies!

To the Lassies!






This speech was written and delivered by Edwin Millar, a former president of the Halifax Burns Club, at our 2010 Burns Supper.