Jack McCaig Snr.


Born 8th October 1929  at  Currievale Farm
Died 1st January 2015  in  Edinburgh,  aged 85

Honorary President
2012,  2013,  2014,  2015
Honorary Vice President
2004,  2005,  2006,  2007,  2008,  2009,  2010,  2011
Vice President
1976,  1978
1977,  1978,  1991,  1992

Proposer of the Toast “The Lasses”  1974,  1977

Proposer of the Toast “Let it Blaw – the Balerno Burns Club”  1975,  2003

     Proposer of the Toast “The Immortal Memory of Robert Burns”  1976

Recited  “Tam o’ Shanter”  1981,  1982,  1983,  1984,  1998,  2009

Proposer of the Toast  “Our Hosts” or “The Landlord – Landlady”  1982,  2007

Reply to the Toast  “The Lasses”  1985

Recited the Address  “To a Haggis”  1989

Reply to the Toast  “The Artistes”  1990

Proposer of the Toast  “Chairman & Croupiers”  1994

 One of Let it Blaw’s “Jolly Beggars1999,  2003

Served on the Club Committee
1990,  1991,  1992,  2005
Became a member of ‘Let it Blaw’  1966
Father of Club Member Jack McCaig Jnr.
Brother of Club Member Tom McCaig

The Empty Chair

My cronies, I staun’ here the nicht

An ask ye for yer patience

Tae tell ma tale and keep ye bricht

Wi mair o’ my orations

I had prepared some stumblin’ lines

Wi thoughts o’ referendum

But news on Ne’erday change my mind

Caused me tae amend them.

For mair years than a can recall,

Wi’ humour, sangs an’ clatter

I’ve sat amangst ye in this hall

Though Januar’ winds might batter

But this time roon’ it’s no the same,

A feelin’ hard tae capture

An empty chair that bears his name

Wha’ held us a’ in rapture.

I wis a pair benighted chanter

Wha hadnae played for ages.

When, tae the folk club I did saunter.

Tae try the Kestrel’s stages

An wha was I tae be sae bold

It could hae been a blunder

Ma knees were shakin’ truth be told

The strain that I was under.

Ma e’en then lichted on a man

Wha seemed tae hae some mettle

He walkit up an shook my hand

At once my hert did settle

“Ye are a singer.” he declaimed

“Well that’ll suit me fairly.”

“Whaur de ye cam frae? Whit’s yer name?

I’ll pit ye on quite early.”

What I didnae quite ken then

At that unsought encounter

That Jack McCaig wid cam my friend

An’ be a guide and mentor.

A count me lucky by a mile

Twas me he took a shine to

Cos he could be a richt thrawn chiel

Wha said whit he’d a mind to.

He’d work on fairms, he’d ploughed the riggs

O’ mony a fairmer worthy.

And then at nicht he rest his legs

Doon in the ploughman’s bothy.

An there he said he learned the sangs

Frae men wha worked wi’ horses

Wi’ tales o’ woe and richts an’ wrangs

In thae cornkister verses

Mony a day sat at his knee

Regaled wi tales an’ stories.

The things he dae, the things he’d see

While drivin’ on the lorries.

A big wheel man wha roped an’ happed

The cargo that he carried.

Wi’ coal an’ steel an’ a’ sic trap

That folk a’ needed ferried.

Balerno was his life lang hame

He’d kent it since was wee.

The Laird o’ Glenbrook he became

In his hoose beneath the tree.

An’ if ye took the time tae go

Oot tae that stately pile.

An’ chappit at the the door ye’d know

He’d greet ye wi a smile.

An’ evr’y Januar’ at oor meets

He’ mak his contribution

That had us rollin’ in oor seats

Wi muckle laughs an’ hootin’

An t’ward the end efter the turns

As we a’ kent he must do

Tae gie “The Star o’ Rabbie Burns”

Roared oot wi’ usual gusto.

But sickness breaks the strongest herts

As e’en oor Rob would find.

The haughty laird, the lad o’ pairts

Still find themselves enchained

An though he faucht it lang and hard

Wi’ a’ his strenght resist it.

Like oor Robin, Scotland’s bard

That mortal coil he slip’t it.

We’ve paid respect tae absent friends

An’ Jack he got a mention

But here his story doesnae end

And I’ll hear nae dissension

For though we hae an empty chair

That nane o’ us can ‘herit

I for ane still see him there,

The least that he should merit.

So fareweel then tae my pal Jack

I liked tae cry him Faither,

An’ though my muse the pow’r may lack

Tae ‘scribe him as I’d raither.

Ah’ll ne’er forget a man like him

I’m glad our paths did mingle.

I wish him noo a hearty dram

An’ a warm seat by the ingle.

Jim Weatherston
BardMarchbank Burns Club
Friday 30th January 2015