Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Being English

This afternoon I visited a friend sitting Shiva on the death of his 90-something mother. She lived her entire life in London. Her son, reflecting on her passing, summed it up as a life lived well:

"She had a long life, suffered no great personal tragedy, enjoyed her many descendants, was clear-headed until the end, and met the Queen".

Ah, the English.


Anonymous said...

she was born in 1920 - no great personal tragedy - maybe no great one but in all likelihood a lot of not so great misfortunes

if I read about all the stuff that qualifies these days as great personal tragedy I guess they don't make them that way any longer

I have no idea whether it's true or not but I like that claim that a cup of hot tea and several times the sentence "it's over, it's alright now" cures almost everything.

Mind you I am not judging whether the stiff upper lip is the better way to cope with life but to neglect it completely as a possibility may not be so wise.


Bryan said...

Sounds like a perfectly fine eulogy to me. I, personally, would definitely be more satisfied at death if I met QE2.

Anonymous said...

don't you dare to mock us gals

alone shopping for the dress for the occasion offers delights you guys can't even dream about.


Jon said...

You're friends with the Chief Rabbi?

Bryan said...


I wasn't mocking! QE2 is one of the most interesting people alive today. It would be truly be a crowing (hehe) moment of my life to meet her. Americans are generally antipathetic towards monarchy, but me? I love the royals.

As for dressing for the occasion, it's just not as fun for us because it's a very simple decision. If you're a civilian, wear a tuxedo. If you're a military man, wear your classiest dress uniform.

Anonymous said...


I agree to the Queen being really something to watch - when Diana died the press read as if she'd be forced to abdicate every minute. When the movie came out and later when they faked that walk-out of hers from a TV-thingy the press read as if she was the most cherished and indispensable institution England had.

It's a lesson in perseverance to behold and how well it behoves one to keep steering the course and heed the screemings of the market place only marginally.

Also I think by making it clear that this or that behaviour is not OK in a young prince they teach a very minor residue of manners to the country.

and yes I pity you guys for having only very minor access to the pains and pleasures of dressing-up - but unless an American tuxedo is differnt from a European one I doubt tuxedo would be OK. Somewhere in the back of my mind, it says tuxedo is only for evenings. So in case you are civilian better check-up, if you want to stay prepared ;-)


Yaacov said...

Jon -

The Chief Rabbi sat in London, and I'm in Jerusalem. Anyway, I've never met him.