The Queen and I

This is a gratitude retrospective. In the 1990’s once or twice a year, I would perform on Grand Cayman Island. They were incredible gigs that lasted 2 weeks and although the pay was light, the accommodations were all inclusive (except drinks and we know I don’t drink). And all activities, which for me meant snorkeling, were free as well. I even gave diving a go, but I still preferred to snorkel. I loved it there!

During one of these gigs in 1994, Queen Elizabeth II was returning to visit “her” islands for the first time in 17 years. Everyone was excited, including me. They really fixed up the place, cleaning anything that could be cleaned and putting a fresh coat of paint on anything that could be painted. The island literally shone. They love their Queen.

It was scheduled that she was going to drive down Seven Mile Beach Rd. to the Governor’s Mansion, at a certain time and we went out to have a look (our hotel was on that road). There were quite a few people waiting as the motorcade with the white Rolls rolled slowly down the narrow two-lane street. The Queen was in the backseat doing the “Queen wave” to her adoring fans and subjects. It was pretty cool and after she passed, we walked back into the hotel. We had seen the Queen. Keen.

About two hours later one of our Caymanian friends called and said that the Queen was leaving the Governor’s Mansion well ahead of schedule and would be driving back past our hotel and if we wanted another look with less people around, we should go out now. It had also begun to rain. Lynn opted out, but I walked down to the road again (it was a warm rain). I was the only one out there. I could see the motorcade coming and I stood, in the rain, waving and smiling (a bit like an idiot I suppose) as it approached.

They were going quite slowly and as the Rolls started to pass me, I saw her notice me standing there. The Queen of England looked directly at me and waved at me with her fingers. Not the “Queen wave” but a personal, just at me, real wave. I was thrilled, because that kind of thing does thrill me.

They say that you cannot un-see something, so somewhere in the grey matter of Queen Elizabeth II there is an image of me, in the rain, smiling and waving. It is probably somewhere way in the back, under a stack of old National Geographics or somthing, but it is in there. However, the image of her waving back at me is right up near the front of my brain in a box marked, “cool stuff that I will never forget.” I am grateful.

Birds. Peace. Love. Earth. Laughter. Music.