I am pleased to share with you this recent message from Graeme Decarie:
My famous friends …
Just to let you know that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were not the only aristocracy of my social circle, here is the tale of my meeting with Field Marshal Earl Alexander of Tunis, commander of Imperial Forces in Italy, then in North Africa, then in Italy. And then governor general of Canada.
It was a Sunday, and he was visiting Camp Tamaracouta. On Sundays, there was a service in an open air chapel across the lake. The Congregation was seated on pine logs. Just in front of the first log bench was me, the organist at a portable pump organ, and the cutest 13 year old you ever saw. I was assistant leader of a camp site for boy scouts from Chinatown in Montreal.
All were seated. Then Field Marshal Earl Alexander and his entourage entered, resplendent in medals and ribbons. And, to my horror, he took his seat no more than three feet from me.
All went well until the last hymn. As I began the intro, a massive bumble bee flew to hover over my fingers. I was terrified for all four or five verses. But I valiantly played on.
The hymn finished. But I still had to play on as people stood to leave, and that bee still buzzed over my fingers, with an occasional dash for my nose.
It was then I became aware that someone was standing beside me. I looked – first at the khaki trousers, then up to the immaculate military jacket, the Sam Browne belt, the rainbow of medals and ribbons, and up into the face of Field Marshal Earl Alexander of Tunis.
He smiled at me, then stood rigidly to attention, raised his hand to his forehead in salute. And I heard him say, “Splendid chap. Splendid.”
[End of text from Graeme Decarie]