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June 29 – That Old Time Religion
Morning in Melrose and a return to Galashiels

Dana and I are up early and outside again on this gray morning. It's dry, but chilly and I'm cozy in my new sweater as we sit on the bench outside the bed and breakfast chatting and smoking (cough). I smile as the man with two English Setters appears again. Apparently this is his morning routine. I get a better look at the dogs this morning; one has golden patterns in its coat, the other silver. Again, the one closest to us turns his head to look at Dana and I, as if to say, "I'd love to stop and say hello, but my master won't permit it."

We meet Alan in the foyer and Robin coming down the stairs as we reenter the house. Robin, knowing what's foremost in my mind, asks Alan if he knows of a camera shop nearby. He gives us the names of a couple of large outlet-type centers somewhere, but I fail to make note of them, relying on Robin's memory and the fact that she's the one that has to get us there. He asks what we will do today and we tell him of our plans to see the border abbeys and the statue of William Wallace that is hidden away in the woods near Dryburgh Abbey.

Robin mentions that I was born a Wallace and he nods, smiling, and asks if we plan to see the monument in Stirling. We quickly relate our tale of climbing to the top, something he's done himself many times. Soon he's on his way out the door to work, and we've seated ourselves in the dining room sipping tea, coffee and juice as Yvonne bustles about serving us our breakfasts.

After we've tucked into our meals, Yvonne appears again to see if we need anything else, lingering to chat for a few moments. I mention the man with the dogs who has passed by both mornings. She knows exactly who I'm speaking of, and tells me that the dogs are named Ettrick and Yarrow, after the rivers that run through this area of the borders. The man used to have a third dog as well, Tweed. I smile, wondering if the gold patterned dog is Yarrow, for the golden yellow bloom of the yarrow plant.

"Alan tells me you're a Wallace." Yvonne smiles. "My Gran was a Wallace," she continues, and I smile in response. There is something about Yvonne, something about Melrose and Galashiels, some unnamed something that makes my heart swell. This is my Scotland, this little nook of the borders with its misty blue hills and winding rivers, its green and yellow pastures, its history.

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