Tamira’s birthday in England, turning six
Our hotel surprised us with a 6am knock on the door
And a birthday cake
“Why don’t you go to Windsor Castle?”
So we glide through the early-morning fog
We’re at the gate—clippity clop: a horse and wagon emerge
I hoist up Tamira and place her in the face of the man holding the reins:
Good morning, Your Majesty—today is my daughter’s birthday
His majestic reply: “So what’s that to me?”
I put her down and am surrounded by a gaggle of photographers:
“What did he say? What did he say?”
I said he said happy birthday
“No he didn’t! We heard every word!”
And I thought, “Is this news?”
I felt intrusive
The next day in the daily: “Grumpy prince snubs little girl, leaves her in tears”
The palace had to issue a formal, face-saving apology
And sent us (we had given our names to the paparazzi) a sublime letter
To snuff the conflagration
But the conflagration remained un-snuffed
Several months later, BBC invited me onto the radio
(My one chance to speak to the entire U.K.)
I was taken aback—that day marked the opening of peace talks in Northern Ireland
In our pre-show banter, I hazarded bashfully: You know there’s real news today?
And they assured me that our chat would be very important to Great Britain
And I waxed as a subject: as a Canadian, the queen is my queen too
I knew my life was meant for some purpose, but this?
BBC: “Was your daughter very disappointed?”
RC: No, she sees royalty in everybody.
BBC: “What did you tell her about this encounter?”
RC: Well, there’s a blessing in Judaism upon meeting royals—(my chance to introduce you all to beautiful Yiddishkeit)—Baruch she’nosan mi’kvodo li’briyosav. Blessed be the Holy One who bestows upon His creatures His own glory.
BBC: “Well, today’s the prince’s birthday. What do you wish for him?”
RC: I wish for him that he celebrate life through the gleeful eyes of his grandchildren.
Well, rabbi, this has been an extraordinary chat. Thank you so much.