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Continued: Rosenblum: A birthday to remember, even if it kilts him

  • Article by: GAIL ROSENBLUM , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 19, 2014 - 8:56 PM

At the car repair shop, a guy dragged him into a small office, shut the door and told him a randy Scottish joke.

Standing in the lobby of a theater, a woman expressed an interest in feeling his tartan fabric. He later realized that she was trying to see if he was wearing underwear.


“A true Scotsman never answers that,” he said. Then he put on a Scottish accent and continued. “What do I wear under me kilt? Me socks and me shoes.”

Taylor also is often asked if he plays the bagpipes. His straightforward answer: No.

“It’s incredibly difficult to play,” he said.

Most people, though, are simply curious, approaching Taylor with questions about his heritage, or to share stories of their own.

The kilt, as eye-catching as it is, has utilitarian roots, said Taylor, seated in the den of his warmly appointed home. He serves delicious Scottish scones and is dressed in a blue-striped dress shirt under a yellow V-neck sweater and, of course, a red plaid skirt with black knee highs and yellow ribbons, called “flashes.”

Scotland was a very poor country for a long time, he said. The “whole nine yards” refers to nine yards of fabric that men would lay on the ground, gather by hand into pleats and wrap around their bodies, securing the fabric in place with a belt, then throwing the excess, called a plaid, over their shoulder for warmth when herding.

The bright flashes, while aesthetically pleasing, served the purpose of keeping one’s socks up.

Each clan had its own series of tartans, including the everyday kilt, the ancient, the hunting, the weathered and another for dancing.

Taylor owns four tartans, including one with pockets. The most formal cost upward of $800. He confesses to wanting to add to his collection. After all, he has three seasons to go.

“It’s kind of like women with shoes,” Hunter said. “You can never have enough kilts.”


Follow Gail on Twitter: @grosenblum

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  • For his 60th birthday, Scott Taylor of Edina wanted to do something with a kick. He decided to wear a kilt every day of 2014.

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