Happy Tuesday, Friends.
Since we last talked gratitude, Queen Elizabeth II died. I have complicated feelings. As a child I loved the really great pictures of her on everything from fancy plates to collector spoons and tea tins to arena walls and highschool foyers and hospital waiting rooms. I loved that she served in the armed forces, as a mechanic, no less, in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS). Because really, there’s something so great about a woman who can take care of her own ride.
And while she was unflatteringly silent after Diana died, which really bothered me, just a few years later after 9/11, she said that Grief is the price you pay for love. And I’ve thought a lot about that in the last 20 years.
As I grew up and learned what service meant – as a daughter, as a Catholic kid, as a mother, as a woman, as a decent human being, I understood more and more what an amazing woman Elizabeth was. I watched the benchmarks she set by her example: Her loyalty to her family, her duty to her country, her partnership with Philip, her sense of humour and poise, all wrapped in sensible shoes, amazing jewelry, and great hats.
My dad is anti-monarchy. He has snarky remarks whenever the subject comes up, which I rebut with my own arguments about how ER is the leader the world needed to look to. You don’t have to be an asshole to command respect. You don’t have to be a serious matron to be loved by a commonwealth of nations (and beyond). You can have a pack of dogs and bomb around in your Land Rover with sunglasses on and a kerchief around your head like you’re looking for someone’s ass to kick, and then put on a fantastic brightly coloured suit and accept flowers from children. Truly, Elizabeth was the total package.
So today, friends, I give thanks for people who live their lives in service to others, and instead of giving you a list of other things I’m grateful for, I’m going to focus on being grateful that of all the traits her majesty had, humour is one that we could all do with a little more often.
To that end, I give you a Ma’amalade Sandwich, James Bond and Queen Elizabeth (yes, I know she didn’t *actually* hop out of the side of a perfectly good helicopter, but I believe down to my marrow that she *could*), and, The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh (when a swarm of bees interrupted her birthday party) – which is my favourite picture of her.
Godspeed, Liz. Long live the King.
If you can choose to be anything this week, friends, choose to be grateful, and do it with a bit of humour.