Elizabeth and Minnie

Donald Shephard

Mins lived in Boughton by the mill
Snug behind the old church hall
The invitation caused a chill
She gave her neighbors all a call.

"The Womens' Institute must meet
On Tuesday next, so make your plans
For tea and biscuits both quite sweet
At Mrs. Cakeandale's new manse."

The vicar's wife in Sunday hat
Called them to order as the chair
Disposed of minutes just like that
And ordered Mins her news to share.

"We are invited, drum roll please,
To Sandringham Estate what fun!
Will royal wonders never cease,
To meet Elizabeth, Queen Mum."

The ladies lost their decorum
And filled the manse with joyous noise
Royalty had sought their forum
To meet and greet in stately poise.

"Move we accept" spoke Mrs. Stone
"Seconded" many echoes said
Passed unanimously less one
Confused biddy with addled head.

Michaelmas Day at last did dawn
They all set off to meet Queen Mum
And waited on the lavish lawn
Girlish chatter caused a hum.

This garden was on such a scale
That trees which grew along the ways
And shrubs and bushes told the tale
Of opulence in Empire days.

When Elizabeth, Queen Mum met
The local village ladies group
They curtsied, smiled and seemed quite set
On being speechless like a troop

Of silly school girls shy as mice.
Yet she was human just like they
She raised her children to be nice
And helped her man with feet of clay.

The bombs that fell on East End dock
Had fallen too on palace grounds
Which gave the Queen a bond of rock
With working women on her rounds.

Now widowed, old and respected
She spoke at once as if she knew
Them long ago and expected
News of family and a few

Well wishes to their friends and kin
But when it was her turn in line
Elizabeth asked my mum, "Min,
Is not the weather fair and fine?"

The cat had got her tongue that day
Queen Mother waited for a while
But nothing could my mother say
Our royalty left with a smile

And passed along the line to call
On Mrs. Cakeandale whose view
Of subjects large and matters small
Gave Queen Mum a timely cue

To end the greetings with a wave.
The royal vicar's scarlet hat
Appeared in time the queen to save.
She vanished like a Cheshire cat.

The group returned to the village
That's when Mins' conscience gave a wince
For once back among the tillage
She's kept on talking ever since.

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