Dori not only rose to Open/Premier professional level, but also took the practical and oral exam for her Associates Teacher certificate for the BATD at age 16 and has since risen to Members level.  She was the main instructor for the Dance Unlimited studio we operated in Omaha for three years offering regular dance as well as Scottish then adding Irish under Maureen MacTaggert-Hall of Colorado.  Even after closing the studio, Dori continued her love affair with Irish, taking up singing and playing the bodhran, continuing to take and teach step-dancing, group set dances and ceilidh (party) dancing and, while associated with Mayer-Torno Studio in St. Louis, MO (, studied to take the grueling TCRG examination.  She anticipated being among a limited few in the entire world to be certified and teaching in both Scottish and Irish. However, time and foot injuries put the dream to rest. Becoming more accomplished as an Irish musician and singer, Dori has been a member of some well-known Irish bands, such as Erin Ceili Band (Omaha), The Lucky Charms (Kansas City) and Flannigan’s Right Hook (Kansas City). Once she established her career as a hair stylist, Dori resumed her connection with the Omaha Pipes & Drums as a tenor drummer and proudly contributed to their appearance at the 2017 World Pipeband Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.


Middle daughter Barbara competed only twice at Open/Premier level before giving up Scottish permanently to throw herself into Irish step-dancing.  She even won a huge trophy at a St. Louis feish competing against some of Riverdance Michael Flatley’s Chicago dancers! When motherhood came along, she gave up performing with the pipeband on St. Patrick’s. The one Celtic talent she will be able to do her entire life, however, is her fiddling.  She began Suzuki violin at age 7, eventually playing with the Omaha Junior Symphony early in high school.  Dance teacher-fiddler extrrordinaire Teri Crumbliss had started her on Scottish tunes and bowing techniques at age 10.  One memorable video we have is Barb practicing at our rented cabin for the next day games competition at Estes Park CO and holding the attention of an entire herd of mesmerized elk.  Mom particularly enjoyed when she performed a couple of times with her dad on his (parlor-type) shuttle pipes.  She proudly supports her eldest son’s passion for the bagpipes and even flew to Scotland to see him stand beside his grandfather as the Omaha Pipes and Drums competed in the Grade 4 Level of the 2017 World Pipeband Championships in Glasgow. 


When Deb was just a raw beginner she demonstrated unusual percision and talent. At age 12 her last Novice competition was in Kansas City.  I was one of the other two competitors on the boards with her which was noted by several observers.  I didn’t have a prayer since she danced close to perfect and took the “Dancer of the Day” trophy.  The following year she placed in regionals and went to nationals.  A bout of Mono the year after that side-lined her and she ultimately quit competing in 1995 in high school.  However, she went on to get a degree in dance performance from Oklahoma City University in 2002 and performed for over three years in Broadway shows in Branson MO.  She has also judged regular dance competitions across the U.S. and still teaches a few Master classes for her former teacher at Mary Lorraine’s Dance Center in Omaha when her work and family responsibilities allow.

The Westies

In 1990 we bought our first White West Highland Terrier, the ever-arrogant Doogie McBowser.  He was a mascot of the pipeband and comparatively well-behaved.  Well, he did steal a funnel-cake in passing at the 1991 games in Arlington TX but redeemed himself when he won the Jack Russell Terrier race (to the announcer’s surprise).  At his games in Estes Park that fall he learned about the terrier dig (racing through tunnels made of baled hay to reach caged rats) and “played tag” with Lyle before settling down and doing the obstacle course.  The following fall at the games he “posed” for the “Westie Calendar” photographer and became Mr. November.  Shortly after that we took in our second guy, the imperfect-but-always-loving Charlie McBarkley. The pair enjoyed the games, especially the dog activities, tolerated fan attention and even posed with the formal portrait of the red-coated military Frasier Highlanders of Canada.  Oh, the laughter and joys those puppies gave us over their years.  Seen in our family portrait, they traveled to every game with us until Charlie passed in 2005 and Doog in 2006.  We haven’t taken our current Westie, Ruby, to the games because she came to us later in her life so is not the traveler and showman of her predecessors. And, yes, as an owner I learned the history of the breed and was motivated to incorporate Doogie and Charlie as characters in one of my novels.