by Cornelia Amiri
Far away from the white foamed sea crashing against the ragged crags of Scotland, the East Texas village of Kilgore is nestled amid flowering dogwood and stately pine trees which stretch high into the vast, azure sky. Where brawn, lusty sons of Scotland, garbed in clan tartans, gathered together, not for war, but to bare their bonny knees to a blind folded lassie.
Aye, this was the Kilgore Texas Celtic Heritage Festival’s annual Bonniest Knees Contest. Now for the non -Scottish, ‘tis nay a boney knees contest, ‘tis bonny as in the song, “The bonny earl of Murray, Oh! He was the queens love.” A young lassie sat as pretty as a queen, blindfolded so she couldn’t see a thing, especially the knees before her. Lifting her hands, palms outward, she wiggled her fingers, ready to explore the line of men in kilts.
The first Scot took the stage, loudly shuffling his feet. As he scooted up to the lassie’s lap, he pressed his hard muscled calves up against her shapely legs. Reaching out, the lassie laid the palms of her soft hands over his bare knees. When she’d had her feel of one Scot, another stepped forward. And so it went.
The judge's fingers were cool and smooth as they slid over the men’s knees, but the men dare not utter a moan or groan of pleasure for that was cause for immediate disqualification. The Scottish lads braced their knees and kept their desire in check beneath their tartan kilts.
The judge’s claim of inexperience came into question, when a young girl in a kilt, a piper, bared her knee. With but a brush of her fingers across the young girl's leg, the judge disqualified the contestant. “It’s a girl. I know what men’s knees feel like and that’s not it.” Our blindfolded lady of justice caught another lassie and declared, “It’s a woman. They're too smooth.” With these cheaters swiftly disqualified by the judge’s skilled touch, the vocal master of ceremonies surmised this judge must have had a lot of experience with men.
With the women contestants gone, the men walked forward one by one, and lifted their kilts to the blindfolded lassie for the second round of judging. There were times when even this stouthearted judge feared the unknown, but a redheaded assistant guided her hands to the fellows’ knees. For the judge dare not touch the wrong part of the male anatomy.
When a woman in the audience yelled out, “He’s lifting his kilt a little too high. I’m seeing a lot more than knees,” shrieks of glee and sighs of disapproval were heard from the crowd as they all strained their necks, seeking to discover if there was more to see than mere knees. At this time, the softest warble of giggles spilled from the judge’s lips and the musical lilt neither ceased nor quieted until the contest ended.
One historically garbed Scot threw his round shield down on the stage. As it landed with a loud reverberating bang, the judge nearly leapt out of her chair, unsure of what was coming at her. He wiggled his pleats along with his arse as he lifted his kilt high, first for the audience’s approval then for the judge’s expert touch. His kneecap was hard beneath her fingertips. But when she finished her feel of him, the judge merely shrugged and announced a low score to the redheaded assistant.
As her slender hands stroked one lad’s knee, the mischievous Scot dripped water from the plastic bottle in his hands onto his leg. The water trickled down to his knee. With a high-pitched squeal the judge flung her hands back while the disqualified rogue was banished from the contest. This trickster was a past winner, well known about those parts, who pulled a prank each year. Part of the fun was no one knew what gag he would pull at this year’s contest.
The judge seemed to be having a bit too much fun as it took her several rounds to pick a winner. In her defense she dutifully declared, “I want to be sure I pick the right one. It’s only fair.”
The winner was announced and before the cheers of the crowd was awarded his name on the Cypress Knee Trophy along with bragging rights and a pair of tartan boxer shorts. “My wife and I will have fun with these tonight.”
A hush of bafflement fell over the crowd. One onlooker voiced the question in everyone’s mind. “Your wife?”
The winner held the package of underwear up to the audience. “Aye they be two of a pair, don’t ye know?”
When the audience’s laughter subsided, the contest came to a close until next year when brawn and lusty lads in kilts will gather in Kilgore once more.