My very first Caledonian meeting was about four or five years ago. I came in, not knowing anyone. There was an elderly couple sitting not far from the door. They were speaking to each other. I noticed them right away because she had an oxygen tank. I wasn't in the door more than a few seconds when the gentleman rushed to greet me. Soon, he was joined by his wife. They were both so sweet and were so welcoming.
Other than being instrumental in building the Scottish Gathering and Games, Bill Hanna was the reigning winner of the Bonnie Knees contest.
Betty Hanna was a premiere kilt maker in the Arizona. Many of our gentlemen wear Betty's kilts.
Over time I got to know them better. Betty's health began to go South. Bill's wasn't much better. He was soon on an oxygen tank as well. When Betty passed away, I was so sad. One of the first acts as President of the Caledonian Society was to attend Betty's funeral. It was devastating.
Bill told me that shortly after she passed away he received a package of tartan she intended to make kilts for her family with.
The following Arizona Scottish Gathering and Highland Games I suggested to Chairwoman Paige Mcmillan that we dedicate our Celtic Education tent to Betty Hanna.
We set up a blue ribbon cutting. Paige made sure that the whole family had VIP badges. We asked Bill to cut the ribbon. For me this was the least I could do.
After Betty's passing, we saw Bill Hanna as often as he could make it. He attended the Irish Festival in 2004. He frequented the Irish Cultural Center and was a big fan of the Center. He was an honored guest at the Tucson Celtic Festival Fundraiser tea the Caledonian Society threw. He event won a door prize.
Bill would call me once in awhile. He seemed to always know when I needed him. If I felt low or tired, he would be right there with a smile or a call.
One CSA meeting, Bill gave me a flower pin for James (my husband). This pin represented Free Masons when it was illegal or dangerous to be known as Masons. That same meeting, I stood in front of everyone doing the President thing. As we were transistioning to the program, I could see Bill heading for the door. I smiled and gave him a little wave. He blew me a kiss.
Dave, Bill's son called me one day to let me know Bill was in hospice at St. Lukes. I called Kay and we decided to meet down there. It was so fragile and not long for this world. I spoke to the family for awhile. When they left the room, I went to his bedside. I kissed him on the forehead. I whispered to him, "Its okay, you don't have to come to next month's meeting."
I miss him just about every day. The only person I think more about is my father.
This world is a lonelier place without Bill and Betty Hanna.
"Slainte mhor agus a h-uile beannachd duibh!"
"Good health and every good blessing to you!"