Parks and Rec Made Me Cry So I Booked a Trip to Scotland

In typical fashion, Mr. C and I were late to the game.  A few weeks ago, on a lazy vacation day in Kentucky, we discovered the comedy series “Parks and Recreation” produced by and starring Amy Poehler.  Never mind that the show ended like three and a half years ago, but hey.  We’re not big television watchers, and it takes a lot in a show to impress me and hold my attention, but boy, when I find a show that does both, I’m ALL in.  Smart, witty, hilarious, and occasionally quite poignant and touching, I think “Parks and Rec” knocked it out of said park.

The show’s characters are an extremely eclectic bunch, and I get such a kick out of them all!  But it’s Ron Swanson – that deadpan, highly private, masculine, meat-eating, whisky-loving, mustache of a man who I adore the most.

Ron Swanson from the show “Parks and Recreation”, played by Nick Offerman

In direct contrast to Poehler’s character Leslie Knope who is perpetually sunny, optimistic, extroverted, hardworking, and a staunch believer in big government, Ron is distant and reclusive, he seldom expresses emotion (although he occasionally gets the giggles), and is a libertarian who believes strongly in small government.  Despite these traits and claiming that he has no interest in the personal lives of those around him, Ron actually cares a great deal for his colleagues and often helps them in spite of himself.  In particular, he has a deep and profound respect and affection for Leslie.

In Season Six, the Parks and Rec cast goes to London and begrudgingly, Ron tags along.  His new bride Diane was supposed to have accompanied him as a honeymoon of sorts, but she gets terrible morning sickness and stays home.  She insists that Ron go anyway so he can take pictures for her.  Because his “love for Diane trumps his hatred for Europe” (remember, libertarian), he goes with the group even though he makes it clear in that deadpan voice of his that, “All of this could have been avoided if we’d followed my plan for a honeymoon.  A steak dinner, a glass of Lagavulin whisky, then vigorous lovemaking for two hours, and we’re both asleep by 8:30.”

God, I love this show.

So, you’re probably wondering why in the world the show made me cry.  Well.

While the group is in London, Leslie – who holds a mutual affection for Ron and is always finding sweet and creative ways to make her friends happy – hands Ron a little journal as a belated wedding present.  It contains a train ticket.  Ron’s response is, “You think I want to extend my stay on this godforsaken continent?”  Leslie tells him that if he follows the itinerary to the letter, he will not be disappointed.

Fast forward, and we see manly Ron, little journal in hand, making the journey by train to the unknown destination.  “Where the hell are you sending me, Knope?” he asks out loud.  As the episode nears the end, after Ron has made the long crossing by rail, foot, and boat, he finally looks up and discovers where it is that Leslie has sent him.  The Lagavulin distillery on the Scottish island of Islay – the place where his favorite whisky in the entire world is produced.  That big mustache turns up in the sweetest smile, and you smile too.  The man who doesn’t usually show emotion is clearly touched.

Then, to the sound of soft bagpipes in the background and with scenes of a happy Ron touring the distillery, he tells us that he has “finally found a place in Europe that is worth seeing – the tiny islands off the coast of Scotland, where God’s chosen elixirs are distilled, barreled, and prepared for consumption.” This, he says, is worth the trip.

The bagpipes continue to play, and the scene concludes with Ron perched on a cliffside holding the little journal.  Per Leslie’s instructions, he reads aloud a poem by Scottish poet Robert Burns while simultaneously, we see footage of him on the beautiful island.  At the conclusion, Ron is moved to near tears, clearly overwhelmed by it all.

Ron Swanson from Parks and Rec sitting on a cliff reading a poem.

O, Were My Love Yon Lilac Fair“, by Robert Burns

O were my love yon Lilac fair,
With purple blossoms to the Spring,
And I, a bird to shelter there,
When wearied on my little wing!
How I would mourn when it was torn
By Autumn wild, and Winter rude!
But I would sing on wanton wing,
When youthful May its bloom renewed.

O if my love were yon red rose,
That grows upon the castle wall;
And I myself a drop of dew,
Into her bonny breast to fall!
O there, beyond expression blest,
I’d feast on beauty all the night;
Sealed on her silk-soft folds to rest,
Till flied away by Phoebus’ light!

At this point in the show, as character Cris Traeger would say, I was LIT-erally in tears.  Call me crazy. Call me a sentimental fool.  I just really miss Scotland, you know?  Mr. C and I had already been planning a return trip in the spring, provided the whole Brexit thing doesn’t derail our plans. We were sort of waiting to see how it plays out before making final arrangements.  But after that “Parks and Rec” episode (and perhaps a bit too much whisky?), we said ‘screw it’. That is what trip insurance is for after all.  So I got on the computer stat, found cheap airfare, a wonderful place to stay, and marked the calendar.

Just like that.  Done and Done.

So cheers, Ron Swanson.  Cheers Leslie Knope.  And cheers to you, Scotland.

We’ll see you in the spring.


*airplane photo courtesy of Pixabay

31 thoughts on “Parks and Rec Made Me Cry So I Booked a Trip to Scotland

    • It has a way of getting under your skin, doesn’t it? It’s nice to connect with someone else who has that same heart and soul connection to it. We are going to stay in a small village outside of Inverness called Farr. I know it’s all amazing, but what has been your most favorite region you’ve visited thus far?

    • We will be staying in a small village outside of Inverness called Farr. Glad to hear that you think Brexit won’t be an issue for us. I have worried that at best it might cause crazy long lines through customs and at worst could ground flights. Hopefully it will all get worked out.

    • It’s my current favorite. We love it so much that we bought the whole series on DVD. We are now in the final season. It really is a terrific show. Thank you for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  • Yippee! Well done with booking your trip, you’ll be handy for a bit of Nessie spotting in Farr. I haven’t seen this show but I can imagine how it pulled at your heartstrings to see Scotland portrayed like that. As for Brexit, you never know, it might not happen (many of us live in hope), and even if it does it could take ages for anything to take effect, going by the amount of indecision and disagreement on all sides.

    • We are so excited. I found airfare that was just too good to pass up so we decided to go for it. Now to get through the next 7 month wait. I’m not sure I’ll make it that long. πŸ™‚

      • I know it will sometimes feel like ages, but 7 months isn’t too bad at all. You’ll be here at arguably the best time of year in Scotland, so it’s worth waiting for. πŸ™‚

      • Yes, and considering this is the beginning of our festive season (Halloween, Thanksgiving, then Christmas) it should fly by. Lots to keep busy with in the meantime. How far are you from Farr (no pun intended :)? I think it would be so much fun to meet you in person. And the Delightful Assistants too! Maybe if it’s not too far, we could meet up halfway for a cup of tea. Just wanted to throw that out there. πŸ™‚

      • We live quite a bit south of Farr, about 110 miles away. It would be delightful to meet up for a nice cup of tea. πŸ™‚

  • Having just returned from our first ever trip to Scotland, I can really relate to this. We had a destination to go to (meeting family I had only met once before) and it was COLD! The snow on the hills as we drove though, in June, was a rude shock to us Aussies. But the beauty of the place, the wildness, the skirl of the pipes β€” and those gorgeous, shaggy coo beasties! We love Scotland and one day hope to return, but Australia is so very far away…

    • Their weather seems pretty unpredictable as of late. We were in the Highlands in May and it was uncomfortably hot! We were lamenting the fact that we hadn’t packed shorts. It is such a wonderful, magical country. I hope you get to return one day. πŸ™‚

  • really like this. Love Parks and Recs, but missed this episode. I can confirm it is currently cold in Scotland. Raining too. Maybe time for a wee goldie…cheers!

  • Thanks, Peter. You are in the cold and here in Virginia, we’re having record January temps. 63F/17C today! It should be snowing.

    As soon as the clock is appropriate, I’m planning to have a wee goldie myself. Maybe two. πŸ™‚

    • It’s such a great show! I remember the first time I watched it, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I couldn’t tell if I liked it or not. But after the first few episodes I was hooked. I think it’s one of the best shows ever. πŸ™‚

  • I too was also late to P&R, Only started watching after I completed The Office ,(a few times). I love P&R, The episode when Ron visits Scotland is a brilliant part, it also holds so much to me, because I love being in Glasgow Central station (a beautiful station). Also the part when Ron looks to train times, is the train that I would get home, I felt kind of proud, that a Giant US television show we would show Glasgow Central, and Scotland in such a great light. Having watched The Office & P&R, there is a few Scottish connection to them. Do you have any idea why there is a connection?. I have tried to Google and that is why I am at your blog. I would live to know. Thanks for reading. Steve.

    • Nice to meet another P&R fan! I have tried to watch The Office, but I can’t seem to get past the first few episodes. It is supposed to be so good, so not sure why it doesn’t click with me.

      I don’t know why there is a connection to the shows and Scotland. Maybe the producers just know what an awsome country it is like we do! πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for your comment!

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