Found Poetry: Buckingham Palace


I was in the checkout line at Lund’s the other day, finishing up my grocery shopping. The last item out of my cart was a tin of McVitie’s cookies (or “biscuits,” being a British product), which are perhaps the best non-homemade cookies on the planet. The checkout lady commented that the cookies looked good, and I proceeded to tell her the story of how they were introduced to me by my sister when I was visiting her in London last year. (My sister had also recently told me that these little crumbly miracles were available here at Lund’s.)

She said she’d have to try them. Then she paused. “I went to London once, a long time ago, when I was a little girl,” she said. “Oh yeah? I just love it over there,” I said. Then she said, “I had dinner at Buckingham Palace when I was there.” I looked at her. Did the checkout lady at Lund’s just tell me she had dinner at Buckingham Palace? Is she an exiled princess? Does she just have a screw loose? She looked at me and smiled. “The IRA [Irish Republican Army] had planted a bomb in our hotel, which was right next to the palace. They evacuated all of us, and I got separated from my parents and went running toward the Palace gates. The guards took me in, and I was served dinner, cleaned up, and then reunited with my parents. I didn’t see the queen or anything, but it was pretty special.”

Speechless, I thanked her for the story, grabbed my grocery bags, and went on my way. It’s not every day you meet someone who’s dined in Buckingham Palace.

William Shakespeare

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