Greenwich Gossip

Friday, November 26, 2010

Guardian Angels at Work

Yesterday the Hitel family of Riverside was driving through Pennsylvania on their way to Ohio. The road was beginning to ice over. Without warning, their car slewed, went into a spin and veered off the roadway, flipped over, righted itself, and crashed into a stand of trees. The car was totalled:

Fortunately, the whole family survived unscathed. Jamie Hitel, his wife Sarah Harris, and their children, Gabi, Maddy, and William, walked away from the wreck in one piece. As Jamie put it, "I was driving west, but after some wet snow on I-80 am now facing east. But thankful to be alive. Could have been much worse."

Typical British humor and understatement, as usual (although Jamie and Sarah recently became US citizens). Jamie, as many folks in this Town know, is the Director of Music at Christ Church. His elder daughter, Gabi, is a mainstay of the choir (she was sitting directly under the crushed part of the roof, but her headrest stopped it from going any further). His younger daughter, Maddy, did a brilliant cameo on the violin during the exquisite performance of the Fauré Requiem at Christ Church last Sunday afternoon. The whole family is a powerhouse of talent, and we are very blessed to have them here in Greenwich.

There are, as some of you may know, four Archangels in the Anglican tradition: Uriel, Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. They are frequently to be found at Christ Church, but they also watch over their charges worldwide. Yesterday noon they snapped together to form an angelic safety zone around the spinning car. Here's how it probably went down: Uriel, the point man, cleared the path around them so that no other vehicles were involved in the accident. Michael and Gabriel stayed to the left and right of the car, which is how Gabriel was able to rescue his namesake by flipping the car right side up again. Raphael, the rear guard, pulled on the bumper to slow and then stop the forward momentum before more than the front end of the car was seriously damaged. Angelic teamwork at its best.

In two days we will celebrate Advent Sunday, the beginning of a new liturgical year. One hopes that the earthly powers that be will work in a few moments of thanksgiving for the miraculous preservation of the Hitel family in their hour of great peril. And also, perhaps, for the many gifts that they have shared with us in the past, and will continue to share with us in the future, thanks to their guardian angels.

And Soli Deo Gloria, as J. S. Bach used to write each time he finished a new composition: to God alone the glory.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wills and Kate Wedding: Update

The word is that Kate Middleton has paid a recent visit to Westminster Abbey to evaluate its suitability for her forthcoming wedding to Prince William. No surprise here; Wills is said to be opposed to St. Paul's because his mother's marriage there turned out not to be a happy one in the event.

Westminster Abbey is, it would seem, a far preferable venue. The reigning Monarch, Queen Elizabeth, was married there, and it is of course the place where royal coronations take place. Thus the next time Kate would play a starring role at the Abbey will be when Wills and she are crowned King and Queen of England.

As your scribe wrote in his novel, Winning the Lottery, back in June of 2008:

"In the autumn Wills and Kate were married in a grand ceremony at Westminster Abbey. The general feeling in the Royal Family was that St. Paul’s, where Charles and Diana had married, should be given a rest for a bit. Like another half-century or so."

Once again, it is pleasant to see one's fiction becoming fact. And what is this string tied around the scribal finger? Ah, yes--a reminder to pick up a PowerBall ticket today. And to keep his eyes peeled for blonde TV reporters on Greenwich Avenue. Back in February there was a pleasant encounter with Kathryn Hauser of Channel 12 News, who looked for all the world like a dead ringer for Sarah King. But she was already engaged, and was in fact married four months later. So predictive fiction works at its own pace, it seems, and is not to be rushed. Still, it's nice to see that so much of it has already come true since the book first appeared in print just two years ago this month. And that Wills and Kate are making the right choice of where to exchange their vows.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton Engaged!

And high time, too. Your scribe predicted this event over two years ago in his novel, "Winning the Lottery: A Tale of Greenwich and London." Since then he has been waiting patiently to learn whether his fiction would become fact. And today, it has.

One wishes the Royal couple all health and happiness in their new life together. They will bring new energy and verve to the monarchy, and undoubtedly a tremendous boost to its popularity. Wills is actively employed as a helicopter rescue pilot, and Kate, the first commoner in recent memory to marry an heir to the throne, is also actively engaged in her family's business. They are real people, not figureheads. Great Britain is lucky to have such a fine pair of young people as its future King and Queen.

Now, as you are all undoubtedly asking, what does this have to do with Greenwich? The answer is quite simple: we almost had Prince William's mother, Princess Diana, as our neighbor here in Town. Had she and Dodi Al Fayed lived, they might have married, and thus received as a wedding present the lovely house on Round Island, formerly home to Frederick and Patricia Supper of Greenwich and Palm Beach. The house is presently owned by Dodi's uncle, who carried out extensive renovations in anticipation of offering it to Dodi and Diana. Alas, it was not to be.

And so we fall back on your scribe's fictional novel, in which the protagonists meet, fall in love, and honeymoon in England, where they meet Wills and Kate and the Queen. Thus is cemented a strong relationship between Greenwich and the Royal Family. Perhaps this fiction--which almost became fact 13 years ago--may yet become reality.

After all, just as in the novel, your scribe, too, went off to London to visit with the Queen. See:

And then earlier this year he was invited for cocktails at Winfield House in Regent's Park, and to visit the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square, both of which are important settings in the novel.

So little by little, it seems, the events of "Winning the Lottery" have been coming true. How's that for a tribute to the power of words? Simply write a story, and watch it turn into reality. Pretty nifty, wouldn't you say?

And so let us here in Greenwich send our best wishes to the newly-engaged couple in England (you can find Prince William on FaceBook these days), along with an open invitation to come and visit when they make their first trip to America together. As readers of this blog know, we enjoy frequent visits from British musicians and choirs; and our fellow citizen Natalie Pray is very active in both the St. George's Society and the English-Speaking Union. Probably no town our size in the entire United States has so many ties to Great Britain as does Greenwich.

Congratulations, Wills and Kate! Please come and visit us soon!