Reflections on the Queen’s passing and the arrival of Fall

Published 9:44 am Saturday, September 24, 2022

By Steve Stricker

Monday, September 19, no daily Mass all week as Father Mark was out of town – sort of needed a break but now had no excuse for not working on my overabundance of projects, which I did, and in church two days to setup the altar etc. for tomorrow’s Mass’.

Then “day off” Monday, cat, Jag (Jaguar), who adopted me in 2016, (thank you, God) as every day got me up at 5 a.m. so watched NBC’s stunning funeral coverage of one of my all-time heroes, Queen Elizabeth II, from 5 to 11 a.m., six hours nonstop in London, England’s beautiful Westminster Abbey – then, long mesmerizing march of hundreds, military cadence to rhythmic drum beat, not one person out of step (I walked around house to it), mum’s oak coffin draped in the Royal Standard, carried on a 123-year old gun carriage used to carry Queen Victoria 1901, Kind Edward VII, King George, King George VI, Winston Churchill, and Lord Mountbatten – pulled by 98 sailors of the Sovereign Guard, 40 additional Guards who acted as a brake, down the Royal Mall (Mal) to Wellington Arch, then in a Royal Claret Jaguar Land Rover State Hearse that Queen mum helped design with the Royal Household, 23 miles to her final resting place, St. George’s Chapel within the walls of Windsor Castle, next to her husband of 73 years, Prince Phillip, who died at age 99 in April 2021, father King George VI, mother Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and sister Princess Margaret.

Not only was Queen Elizabeth II the only living monarch in my lifetime, she was a special hero to me over many years by her poise, softness, toughness, sense of humor, longevity, tough upper lip, that smile, and felt a special closeness to her as my Scottish mum to be was a Lord Lieutenant to her, know she was present at the funeral, been past Buckingham Palace, loved London (know it was squeaky clean this day) under/over Tower Bridge, have driven extensively in Scotland, England, love both – and purchased my tea since Scottish fairy tale dissolved from the Queen’s London and Edinburgh gift shops, sipping it while watching this astonishing pageantry as the British do so very well.

From the Queen’s Balmoral Castle, Scotland where she died to Windsor Castle, England and all stops in between, I have been overwhelmed by the Queen’s pallbearers – soldiers from the Queen’s Company, First Battalion of the Grenadier Guards, one of the oldest regiment in the British Army, tallest soldiers, traces its history back to 1656 – remarkable in their discipline, perfect execution, protection and total reverence for her majesty .. .so very well-done lads!

After a beautiful ceremony, the Queen was (gulp) slowly lowered into the Royal Vault of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, whilst the Queen’s Piper piped a final somber tune exiting the Chapel (whew), camera then focused on a visibly emotional, now King Charles III, as the congregation sang God Save the King (tears flowing down my face) and it seemed at that moment, the weight of the Crown now on his shoulders, appeared to sink in … God save the King!

Through all this wonderful pageantry, I couldn’t get my head around the fact that Queen Mum, who meant so much to me, was really gone – born April 21, 1926, Queen at age 25, June1953, died September 8, 2022, age 96 – 70 years and 214 days as monarch – and my life is out of balance….  Time passes so very quickly.

Speaking of time passing so quickly – perhaps you missed it, asleep, at City Grocery, Proud Larry’s, but at 8:03 p.m. this past Thursday, September 22, the earth shook, sky flashed, time stood still as the Autumnal Equinox kicked in – that is, night and day were of equal length as the sun crossed the equator heading north, zero degrees tilt, shining directly on the equator and exactly due East out my front door – the official beginning of Fall.  Actually, it happened quietly as your and my life continue to slip by…. Love our southern, four fully defined seasons – tire of one, another thankfully begins.

My house on South Lamar, as my birth home in southeast Missouri, faces due east (comforting familiar orientation), and when looking out the front door of my lovely house I had built in South Oaks, August 2000, at times the Sun is straight east (fall and spring equinox), extreme left (winter solstice), and extreme right (summer solstice). 

The Earth rotates counterclockwise every 24 hours, orbits counterclockwise around the Sun taking 365 days, the moon orbits the Earth counterclockwise every 29 and a half days, while in the center, it takes the Sun 25 days to spin or rotate counterclockwise a full turn…but you knew that – so Happy Fall, eye-blink and it will again be spring, summer, winter, fall…and our lives like the seasons, Queen Mum, are flying by…time is now to tweak our legacies.  Rest in peace Queen Mum; Go USA in the PGA President’s Cup, GO REBELS…and you know, Go you and me – Peace Out!Steve is an Oxford resident, worked on Campus, received his Ph.D. in Counseling from Ole Miss, is an LPC, NCC, and can be reached at sstricke@olemiss.edu.