Excused Absences – Part Two: The Royalty Pay A Visit

In the Fall of 2014 I learned that I was to be honored by a royal visit. No, not Prince Harry and Princess Catherine; they were already here last May for a wedding. This time the  royal personage involved was none other than my grandson, Prince Micah, making his first visit to Memphis, accompanied by  his royal attendants and parents,  Lady Cameron and  Sir Eric.

Since they would not be bringing a full accoutrement of Court members, I feared I would have to scramble around for some ladies in waiting, squires and the like.  But as soon as word of their visit got out, I was  fairly besieged with offers for royal duty. In fact, I feared we would have a surfeit of hangers on at the Memphis Court. In the end however, since in the South we would rather have too much of a thing than not enough, all who offered were given tasks to perform. And now, according to Prince Micah’s decree, the following pictures are to be shared with all  his subjects, as he was unable to grant an audience to all. Micah iun Memphis-5

Immediately upon arrival the Prince suffered a bout of very pink cheeks, brought about by the Arctic air. Someone forgot to order balmy temperatures.Micah iun Memphis-2

Luckily, heads did not roll. Here, Lady Cameron allows him to gnaw on a blanket.Micah iun Memphis-10

The diminutive Prince took quickly to allowing others to wait upon him. Here, the Matron Emmy receives a welcome opportunity.Micah iun Memphis-12 Early the first evening of the visit, two more matronly Ladies in Waiting arrived: Great Aunts Lady Ann and Lady Mare. They were suitably impressed with the Prince’s advanced growling and drooling skills.

State visits occurred on Saturday and Sunday with young Prince Ollie, approximately eight months of age,  who made the trip over from Arkansas with his attendants. Ladies Ann and Mare were able to serve both royal households. No pictures of the state visits are available at the moment, but Prince Micah was deemed the more bellicose of the two young rulers.

By Sunday evening, freezing rain and sleet covered the Memphis area. The frigid temperatures  caused  Prince Micah’s Court to be held largely in front of the fireplace. At this point, and I do lower my voice here, the two major female Court attendants began a  daring task which was distinctly unrelated to the Prince  – that of cleaning out an entire craft room. Lady Cameron felt that going through her high school detritus DURING A ROYAL VISIT was worth the risk. I bowed to her judgment.Micah iun Memphis-24

The entire Court tacitly withheld  knowledge of the craft room project from the minor monarch, fearing his wrath. Lady Cameron knew from experience that her young highness would nix such a project here just as he would at home. There were close calls, yes, but the swift interventions of the Jester Grandaddy and Sir Eric prevented certain disaster.Micah iun Memphis-11 Micah iun Memphis-14 I don’t believe the Prince noticed anything amiss,

I look normal, don't I?

I look normal, don’t I?

but by Tuesday he was plagued with a runny nose which may have diverted his attention. Upstairs the cleaning out moved apace, with hefty bag after hefty age of trash lined up in the hall. Downstairs the menfolk labored unsuccessfully to wipe their charge’s nose. As the Prince protested such treatment , suddenly we heard    – DING DONG!

And the next installment of Courtiers arrived – Sir Eric’s parents, who had driven through the ice and snow all the way from Illinois just to be able to see their grandson, the Prince.Micah iun Memphis-17

Lady Cameron consults with Sir Eric's Dad.

Lady Cameron consults with Sir Eric’s Dad, no doubt while Lady Annette rocked the Prince.

We were all glad for the influx of fresh attendants who knew more songs and silly games and who were willing to spend their days on the floor in front of the fireplace. I was mostly upstairs in knitting needle hell, for the project, once begun, could not be abandoned, and with new Court members on hand , my services would not be missed for the nonce.Micah iun Memphis-25

Through the week either the temperature or frozen precipitation kept the young Master indoors. Efforts were made to keep the Prince’s routine  unchanged from that of his California home. The Prince’s expectation is that his work continue unimpeded, no matter his location.Micah iun Memphis-9 Just when the Illinois contingent had to depart, Great Aunt Lady Ellen appeared upon the scene, and after a brief introduction to our local Princess Lillian, Micah iun Memphis-28was eager to participate in Court life and intrigue. Since the craft room had been the only intrigue, we made do with a sociological experiment about whether a cardboard box can rightfully be considered a throne.Micah iun Memphis-29 Too soon it was Saturday, and the last full day of the royal visit. The weather had improved enough for the Prince to hold an impromptu audience, which greatly cheered the throngs who had been denied a viewing.Micah iun Memphis-32 The Court members struggled to complete the rest of the scheduled events. First, there was the royal photo shoot, which had to be held indoors. Four attendants were required for the grueling session.Micah iun Memphis-34 And there was a last afternoon coffee, served with cookies, at which two more Court ladies, Great Aunt Lady Carla and Lady Alexis, and a fellow royal, Princess Cee Austin were able to pay Court to the Prince.Micah iun Memphis-35Micah iun Memphis-36Micah iun Memphis-26 The last night of the visit was rather glum, for every single member of the Court was sad and plumb worn out. This writer, for example, was unable to move from her own bed after 8:00 P.M. Sometime in the early morning the Prince and his small contingent were conveyed to the airport from which they returned to California.

We have had no negative feedback from the visit, so we must conclude that his Highness was pleased with the level of service that can be provided by a minimum of eleven volunteer attendants. I wonder if Prince Harry and Princess Catherine had such a well functioning temporary Court for their Memphis visit?

Come On Over!

Hey! I’m having a party and YOU”RE INVITED!!! We are somewhat limited in that this is a ladies’ dinner party on a Monday night, but if you’ll join me while I get everything out for tonight you will FEEL the excitement!!! Come on; I’ll show you!

Since I’ve recently returned from Istanbul. we’re having a  simple Turkish theme.  The menu is Turkish red lentil soup,DSC_0425 homemade bread,DSC_0428 salad with a Turkish lemon dressing, and Turkish delight for dessert. DSC_0417DSC_0435  The soup recipe is from  Bimur’s Turkish Cookbook. I was able to use my dried mint DSC_0376and pul biber (red pepper).DSC_0384  They were some of my treats from the Istanbul Spice Bazaar.

I’ve already cooked our food so it’s time to set the table. This is a no-fuss party, so we’re using our clear dishes which can go in the dishwasher.DSC_0357 I’m putting some fresh mint on every plate;  later we will use it in our soup. Our dinner napkins, which had to be pressed but thankfully not starched, have a simple but timeless design.  Timeless design is also Turkish! DSC_0361Spices from the Istanbul Spice Bazaar will be part of the table decor, as well as party favors for the guests. DSC_0358They’re even shaped like dolmas, don’t you think?

Now let’s get out a few pretties. It is nothing but pure Magpie Fun to get pretties out for a party. We have fancier things, but tonight is more casual. Here are the wine glasses I painted a few years back. Which one will you choose?DSC_0399

DSC_0397DSC_0396And look at these cocktail napkins. DSC_0368They are an estate sale find. The package said they are paper but are supposed to look like silk. I don’t know if I will serve any chai, as many ladies don’t want caffeine at night, but I’m ready with my Turkish tea set if there are any takers.DSC_0365

Here is a cute little guy I’ve had for a while. DSC_0387I bought him somewhere and then rudely shoved  him into the back of a  kitchen cabinet where he languished for years. If I hadn’t had to clean out my cabinets to be painted he might still be there. He will be on hand tonight to help the ladies with their olives.

I will serve the dessert on this lovely torte plate given to me by a very special lady in my yoga class.DSC_0370 It may be a little large for the occasion, but the lady who gave it to me is so peaceful and generous I would like for her spirit to be a part of the gathering.

So that’s it – an easy dinner party for a weeknight, combining Turkish and Southern hospitality! The only thing left to do is pop the bread in the oven. Wait a minute! I need to go press my hostess apron!DSC_0423

Yes, waist lines did used to be smaller, but no matter. I can get it around me. Thanks for being here a little early to help me set things out. I get such an adrenaline jolt  before a party that I’m always afraid I’ve forgotten something. But of course that’s part of the fun too! Oh! Wasn’t  that the doorbell?