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The Toast to The Lassies

Proposed by David Shankland, MBE

Well known Radio Broadcaster, Burns enthusiast and a highly respected individual described simply as a "great guy"……the venerable David Shankland proposed this very special Toast to the Lassies.

The Toast to the Lassies
David Shankland, MBE


As I stand before you here in Dumfries on this sublime Spring evening, more than replete I might tell you, after such a marvellous meal washed down with a generous measure of good wine and seasoned with the spice of good company. I must first of all thank you Mr Chairman for your kind and complementary remarks which are much appreciated.

There are one or two days in the life of each and every one of us which are special and for me this is one of them. At my age even to be asked to appear at any reputable function is a privilege. To be actually invited to participate in this Gala occasion therefore is a singular honour, which I will always cherish. Tonight my cup runeth over, tonight I am but a few short heartbeats away from being in heaven
It is difficult to be coherent for less cogent an occasion when the cup of kindness is filled to overflowing, but I am delighted to be your guest for several reasons. Firstly, the warmth of your welcome which relaxes and reassures. Secondly, I know from experience that any function organised by Shirley and her assistant is always of the highest quality and tonight is no exception. I am sure you will agree gentlemen that we have all enjoyed a meal of special quality furthermore to our post prandial pleasure are we not experiencing an evening of friendship and fellowship as well as listening to an outstanding programme of the Bards words and music.

In my opinion an evening such as this provides the perfect sort of perfect pleasure - it leaves one wanting more, so by that token what more can anyone want?
Most important of all, gentlemen, it is my task on this special night to caress and cajole a few simple words into a meaningful tribute to those delectable, those desirable, those delightful creatures collectively called the lassies. Creatures in whom the elements are so delightfully compounded that their charms are irresistible. Can I say en passant that as I look around, I can see that they are magnificently represented here tonight. Tonight it is with a sense of pride that I appear before you to champion the cause of the ladies because I fervently believe that in spite of logic, in spite of legislation, in spite of the lessons of history they are still all too often treated as second class citizens. This is preposterous, as I shall attempt to demonstrate. For a start women are healthier and they generally live longer and are chosen to bear the children. Furthermore in most situations they are more sophisticated, more civilised and much more subtle. When it comes to the constitution of the mind however the female of the species is really made of much sterner stuff. We men bottle up our tensions, until they erode into ulcers or clog the vessels of the heart. Women on the other hand disseminate them in tantrums or harmless tears. In truth it took two million years to make man out of a monkey. When it suits them the ladies can reverse the process in two minutes.

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 loves 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.

Lady waiting for a bus surrounded by a number of children.
Passer-by - "Are they all yours or is it a picnic
Reply - They're all mine and its no picnic

Let us give thanks for the mother in laws of this world for they were human once.

Doctor to man - I am sorry to tell you that your mother in law is at deaths door
Man - I'm hoping you will be able to pull her through doctor.

Robert Burns our national bard was a sensuous and sensitive man who could feel the faintest fluttering of the human heart. He also wrote with great vision on many subjects, including the lassies, as the following example shows

While Europe's eye is fix'd on mighty things,
The fate of empires and the fall of kings;
While quacks of State must each produce his plan,
And even children lisp the Rights of Man;
Amid this mighty fuss just let me mention,
The Rights of Woman merit some attention.

Gentlemen! Please be upstanding, and join me in a Toast to the Lassies!

To the Lassies!