Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Scottish Bride's Travels Ended in North Florida

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Scottish Bride's Travels Ended in North Florida

Article excerpt


This is the tale of a frustrated veterinarian. Like James Herriot, Cathie Parrott always loved animals. But her mother told her that girls couldn't be vets, and that was that.

It all began in Scotland near Inverness, where Cathie was born. Her father was head game warden for the estate of the Countess of Seafield, one of the wealthiest women in the country.

"I grew up with animals," Cathie says. "My dad had anywhere from 8 to 12 dogs, and we boarded dogs for people on vacation."

They also had lots of deer, grouse, partridge and pheasant. In fact, they used to raise 1,000 pheasant chicks a year. Cathie remembers having to move the coops and runs daily after the chicks were born.

Although many young people left school at 15 to learn a trade and begin working, Cathie went on through to the end in the local school of about 250 students, which served several small towns in the area. Then it was on to Edinburgh for college, where she studied home economics and simultaneously took courses in a nearby teachers' college, which gave her a bachelor's degree and a certificate to teach junior high and high school. She got a job in Edinburgh teaching everything from sewing and cooking to sex education and home repair.

Now for a little Scottish history. In 563 A.D., an Irish monk by the name of St. Columba arrived on the tiny island of Iona (only 3 miles long and 1 1/2 miles wide) in the Inner Hebrides. There he set up a monastery, from which his monks carried Christianity throughout northern England and Scotland. Indeed, Iona has been called "the cradle of Scottish Christianity." The graves of many kings are there, and it interests us to know that 19 American sailors who were shipwrecked nearby are also buried there.

Fast forward to the 1960s, and a divinity student at Yale University is encouraged to take a year off and spend some time helping the Iona community in its repair of the old abbey for use as a retreat center. …

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