We’ve been in the Three Tuns once before. Appropriately enough, it was for tequila just after my UK citizenship was conferred; this time, Jackie had just finished her path to Britishness, and what’re a couple of limey’s to do, eh?
The ceremony itself was weird enough when I went through it but so much is going through your head at the time that the details of the event aren’t really in full focus. I vaguely remember the piped-in, easy listening/elevator music last time, but from my observation post I noted this list:
Bridge Over Troubled Water (not the Coolies version);
Walking In The Air (y’know, from the Christmas cartoon, The Snowman);
And, I Love Her;
The Way We Were; and, most disconcertingly,
The Theme from the Deer Hunter
The music ceased and there were some announcements on how the ceremony would proceed then Land Of Hope And Glory started up and the Lord Mayor, preceded by a Sergeant-At-Arms, entered to give a speech cribbed from the London Borough of Hillingdon’s Visitor Brochures. Awful as it sounds (and, indeed, was), it was also oddly touching…looking out over the crowd of Eastern and Central Europeans, South and East Asians, Africans, Arabs, and New Worlders I felt such joy for each of them that I struggled to maintain composure.
Jackie was seated with the 29 other inductees that opted for the Affirmation of Allegiance (there were 22 more that swore an Oath by Almighty God). They made their pledges in groups, with Jackie in the last one. I detected a crack in her veneer during her turn, as well.
Each new citizen was then called to receive their documents from the Lord Mayor, individually. During this, the weird Muzak started back up with Ave Maria followed by O Danny Boy (which was playing as Jackie was called to the pulpit). By the time she was on the stage, Killing Me Softly was the number (which, again made me smile knowing what a fan she is of Don McLean, the subject of the song…she says she didn’t hear any of it).
As the last recipients went forward, the music was Georgia On My Mind (the State Song of Georgia, where we spent 19 of our 34 years together).
Then, it was over. We both needed to get to work, but — being British and all that — we would be remiss in not wetting the baby’s head (since she was newly born as an Englishwoman). I asked for two shots of tequila.
“They’re 3 for £5.” I blinked, glanced at Jax as if I needed her approval, and she smirked, knowingly.
“Did I say two? I meant, six shots of tequila, please.”
God save the Queen.