It’s not often that a story that dominates world headlines has a direct effect on our lives.
Okay, a change in the market price of crude oil may increase or decrease the price of a tank of gas by two or three bucks, but the change (especially if it lowers the price at the pump) generally doesn’t last long.
But take for example the decision of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — until a few days ago the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — to give up their Royal Highness-ships and become just another stunningly attractive multimillionaire globetrotting couple.
Earlier this month, they attended their last Commonwealth Day, which probably would prompt at least a small twinge of nostalgia for me if I had the remotest idea what it is.
I do not mean this to be critical of the young royals; that, after all, is the role of the British press, and they are welcome to it.
I thought it was kind of neat that a commoner from our side of the pond captured the heart of Great Britain’s most eligible bachelor.
This is a prime example of an earth-shaking event that didn’t produce even a tremor in my life.
Actually, I did almost meet the prince/future duke on a visit to London a few years ago. Mary and I visited several of the royal palaces (from the outside only).
As I was taking a picture of a British soldier posted at the gate to one of them, an elegant motorcar came flying out of the driveway, the driver speeding like a bat out of Balmoral.
“Look,” one of our fellow gawkers cried out, “It’s ’Arry!”
Our guide confirmed that we had, in fact, just gotten a high speed glimpse of Prince Harry.
But as is so often the case, this has nothing to do with today’s essay.
After visiting Scotland a couple of years ago, Mary and I thought it might be nice to visit Ireland, next door neighbor to the Scots. It was just an idea, not really a plan.
But a few months ago, we got an email from the FSU Alumni Assn. informing us that an affiliated travel agency was putting together a two-week tour of Ireland this month for a bus load of alumni, and we were invited to get on the bus.
All went well until medical science discovered that a virus named for my favorite beer was threatening to wipe out large areas of Asia and Europe. Those most at risk at catching it were (1) senior citizens with (2) the usual assortment of health issues that keep Medicare providers busy and (3) were planning to be in places with large numbers of people.
On the face of it, Mary and I easily qualified for the first two categories, and our trip to Ireland would take us through four international airports and put us on three airplanes in the course of about 24 hours.
The more we thought about it, the more we thought that maybe that also put us in the third group, given that in each of these venues we would be in close proximity to people who have recently traveled in all parts of the world.
Fortunately, we had purchased travel insurance, and were able to get a refund of our entire trip expense except for the insurance premium. The Tallahassee hotel where we had reservations for one night in each direction cancelled our reservations for the two nights without penalty, and the vendor from whom we purchased the exact size suitcases required for our trip agreed to take back our purchase with a full refund.
We planned to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Bartow at our well-named Unparade.
(S. L. Frisbie is retired. He was to ride on a float as King of the Big Arsh something-or-other in Bartow’s celebration. The St. Patrick’s Day parade he and Mary had anticipated seeing in Derry, Ireland, was cancelled out of concern for the Coronavirus. Oops! So was Bartow’s.)