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  • Birthday Greetings

    I met the Queen, and wished her well
    with many happy returns on her special day—
    of course, not on her actual birthday,
    but close enough—she had just
    turned sixty and I was twenty
    (give or take.)
    We had all been briefed beforehand in
    the proper forms of address should she
    stop and speak to one of us while
    going on her walk-about
    when last the band had played
    (not likely!)
    So, it caught me well off guard when,
    while standing at attention,
    she approached and stopped and spoke
    (to me!)
    My goodness! You’re a young lady!
    said she, and all that I could muster was,
    Yes Ma’am!
    (Perhaps, this year, I'll send a card.)



    * True story—as a member of the RCAF-Reserves for nearly 20 years, I was the first female piper in the band's 50-year history. (Hence, my screen name, pipersfancy.) In the mid-80's, Queen Elizabeth II was welcomed to my city of Winnipeg with a Command Performance at our old Winnipeg Arena. It was a huge, drafty barn of a facility... not really suitable for our local hockey team, much less a royal visit... and my band mates and I were all joking about how the Queen would possibly do a walk-about the circumfrence of the building... (we laughed at the thought of her hiking up her gown and making a mad dash... or maybe they were going to find her a scooter to ride on?) So, as we were all briefed on the correct forms of address should the Queen actually speak to any of the performers following the show, I wasn't really paying close attention as the possibility seemed too remote to be concerned... Imagine my surprise! I like to think I redeemed myself the following day when I was presented with a second opportunity during the opening of the Royal Western Canada Aviation Museum. This time, there were not hundreds of performers and a huge arena... just a few invited guests, a ceremonial military guard, and us... the pipeband. This time, the Queen conducted a ceremonial inspection of the troops, and when she came to me, she stopped. She recalled having spoken to me the day before, and went on to ask me questions about how I'd become interested in playing the pipes, what I was studying in university, long-term goals for life... etc.

    So, I had a very pleasant conversation with the Queen... (but still, neglected to wish her a happy birthday!)
    pf

  • #2
    Wonderful story well expressed and very interesting! You caught her attention; bet she would enjoy this verse too. Maybe a really nice present for her big nine o?.. The Queen is so enduring and seems to be doing great for her age.

    Comment


    • pipersfancy
      pipersfancy commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks very much, Katray! I appreciate your comments, and am glad you found this little story interesting. It's one of those things few people even know about me... (well, I guess a few may know after reading this)... Seriously, it's not the kind of thing that lends itself easily to conversation... Say! Did I ever tell you about the time I met the QUEEN!!!???

      I'm fairly ambivalent in regard to the ongoing discussion on whether or not the British royal family has outlived its purpose in our modern world... No question that the royals live a life of privilege, but I do believe the Queen has been diligent in performing her duties of service over the past 90 years, and I think she's performed them well.
      pf

    • AlexandratheLate
      AlexandratheLate commented
      Editing a comment
      Love the revelation of your name Piper and wow! What an amazing event.

    • pipersfancy
      pipersfancy commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks AlexandratheLate— yes, it was kind of a cool thing to have happen!

  • #3
    I was curious about the name Pipersfancy. 20 years in the reserves? That is a long time. So in your picture, is that your uniform? That is a great story. I bet your bandmates teased you about all that attention.

    Comment


    • pipersfancy
      pipersfancy commented
      Editing a comment
      I enrolled in Air Cadets as a young teen and began learning how to play the pipes through that organization. My instructor was a member of the Reserve band, and by the time I was 15 or so, I was already traveling with the band on short trips to play in parades, take part in Legion/Veteran events etc. So, when I turned 17 (the age a person can officially join the military in Canada—with parental consent) it seemed the logical thing to do. I was an active member of the Reserves 'till I was 37 (and living/working in the US!) So , yes, 20 years!

      No—the photo is just me... I like hats and have a variety I often wear. I haven't had on a uniform in over a decade! If I can figure out how, I may post a photo of me in full dress regalia. (It was pretty neat to see... and I always felt a great deal of pride while wearing my uniform!)

      Thanks so much, cc springer, for your comments!
      pf

  • #4
    Love the back story - on both your name and the verse - true life is often great inspiration!

    Comment


    • pipersfancy
      pipersfancy commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you, RhymeLovingWriter— it's actually taken me a long time to get around to writing down some of my personal experiences. Reminiscing over this event put a smile on my face, so I'll have to pull out the old photo albums this weekend and let myself reminisce some more!

  • #5
    I guess a conversation, or two, with the Queen trumps my conversation with Tim Allen. Well, I was Queen for a half-day!
    Very interesting story pipersfancy, and nice to know a bit about your fascinating background. A piper, a poet, and a patron of the Queen!

    Comment


    • pipersfancy
      pipersfancy commented
      Editing a comment
      Oh goodness... Now you've got me struggling to write another:

      A piper, a poet, and patron of the Queen
      when Whimsy arrives, life is filled with such dreams.... (Nah! Doesn't quite work for me!)

      I don't know... it's early and I haven't had coffee, yet!

      Anyway—thank you for reading and commenting MHenry! As always... my appreciation!
      pf

  • #6
    A cool poem. An even cooler story. And ha ha, I thought you like to fly piper planes. Funny with how many things people come away with.

    Comment


    • Brainwreck
      Brainwreck commented
      Editing a comment
      Sounds like you lead a very full life.

    • pipersfancy
      pipersfancy commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm just coming to the place in my life where I can appreciate all the experiences I've had, and begin to share them with others. You would have not recognized me as the same person 5 years ago. I've been dealing with severe symptoms of PTSD for a long time, un-diagnosed and without help, and it had left me virtually crippled in my life. Funny though, I've always been able to work. My counselor has talked a lot about how I've compartmentalized things to the level of actually creating parallel personalities that got in the habit of checking out when needed... I've been on the path of healing, which means re-connecting the disconnected parts and reintegrating them into my own true self... hard work!

    • Brainwreck
      Brainwreck commented
      Editing a comment
      Parallel personalities. Sounds like another poem.

  • #7
    Wonderful story and what an awesome experience! I pray for your recovery from PTSD, or at least peace of mind. My son has this also, and I know it is a heavy burden. Good luck with all you wish to accomplish in life.

    Comment


    • pipersfancy
      pipersfancy commented
      Editing a comment
      Aww—how kind of you to say, contsil. Thank you very much, your well wishes are greatly appreciated! I am doing a lot better these days... as I hope you son is as well!

  • #8
    Thank you. He is much better than he used to be, but still struggles on some days. His PTSD is not service related. It was caused from some unfortunate experiences in his youth.

    Comment


    • #9
      Pipersfancy, WOW. I think we have all learned more about you from this poem than all the others put together. Piper on.
      Well, once again I just skip over words.
      Last edited by Brainwreck; 04-22-2016, 04:12 PM.

      Comment


      • grant hayes
        grant hayes commented
        Editing a comment
        'Well, once again I just skip over words'

        Brainwreck, you're commenting in poetry again....😊

    • #10
      neat! 👍🏼

      Comment


      • #11
        One of life's unexpected moments. For myself, those are among the finest! Thank you for sharing this with us Piper!

        Comment


        • pipersfancy
          pipersfancy commented
          Editing a comment
          I agree, graydon— I also think there's a lot of small, unexpected moments that come and go within our lives but are overlooked, or not acknowledged as such. I'm one who is forever intrigued by the magic of life! Thank you for your kind comment!

      • #12
        I really enjoy everything you write. This however, is very special. The story behind it brings it all together as well. I bow to your awesomeness,,

        Comment


        • pipersfancy
          pipersfancy commented
          Editing a comment
          Aww, that's sweet— but I'd really rather you not bow! I like to share experiences, and hear about the experiences of others. Dialogue works best when we're all on equal footing!

      • #13
        Quite topical, pipersfancy, this winsome tale. I always find it strangely charming that there are still North Americans who have a Queen. We marsupials have Betty Windsor as 'our' monarch too. We are the subjects of the same kingdom, pipersfancy.

        Comment


        • pipersfancy
          pipersfancy commented
          Editing a comment
          We're members of the Commonwealth, too! (Betty Windsor... LOL!)
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