Well, it's over. The wedding that is, not the marriage.
Prince William and his gal, Kate, are hitched and off on their fairy-tale life together as the new wave of monarchy representing all of England.
He is 28. She is 29.
Of course, the old Queen herself, 85, still has a white-gloved iron grip on the throne, and Will's dad, Charles, 62, still paces the halls of Windsor Castle waiting to get "the call." So the probability of Will and Kate being the king and queen (or whatever they'll be called) is certain, but way down the road yet.
The wedding was Disneyesque from start to finish. Was that really Prince William and his bride, Catherine, exiting the royal carriage and trodding the red carpet down the storied center aisle of Westminster Abbey? Or was it Prince Charming and Cinderella?
Did the royal trumpeters heralding the new couple have little mouse tails sticking out of the back of the red robes? Or was that in Beauty and the Beast? Oh well, as fairy tales go, this one was a glorious monster.
A million watched the ceremony from the sidewalks of London. Two billion of us sat home in our pajamas and underwear cheering the young couple on.
I must admit that even I got caught up in this one. I watched along with the world, awaiting the first glimpse of Kate's gown. Why? I have no idea. I am totally bereft of any fashion sense.
When "the dress" finally came into view, the announcer breathlessly declared, "Look! Look! It's French Chantilly with English Cluny and with a design homage to the Irish Carrickmacross tradition!" The poor bloke was almost in tears. As for me, "Carrickmacross" sounds more like something Jimmy Durante muttered under his breath when he got flustered.
The guest list was definitely A-list. And they were all turned out in splendid haute couture. And how about those hats! What is it about the British women and their hats? There were bird's nest, music lyres, peacock feathers and frou-frou galore on display at the Abbey that day.
Americans have never really gone hat crazy at major events, except the Kentucky Derby. And I can think of only two examples of historic hats that gained fame "on their own" over my lifetime. One was the iconic simple pink pillbox hat Jackie Kennedy was wearing Nov. 22, 1963. And the other was the uber-hat that Aretha Franklin wore at Barack Obama's inauguration.
That hat was a Frank Gehry-on-drugs tribute in gray, black and diamonds. The huge-bowed hat became her uninvited duet partner on "America the Beautiful." Hundreds were ordered in the weeks following the inauguration.
The Smithsonian Institution even requested the original for its permanent "inauguration exhibit."
Now, where was I? Oh, yes. The royals.
I wondered as I watched if they'd ever have a "real" moment again in their lives. Would they ever sneak into a West End chippy shop and order a plank with some mushy peas again? Would Will ever be able again to sneak into the Blind Beggar over on Whitechapel Road for a pint of Guinness? Would Kate ever be able to watch Monty Python again and roar at the cast's mocking of the royal family? Would there ever be another real moment for these two?
Well, I was heartened by what was the final scene of this storybook day. After the kisses on the royal balcony ("Look! They kissed twice," my favorite British commentator shrieked), there it was. A real moment.
Eschewing the traditional ride through London in the Cinderalla-inspired coach (again with the Disney nod), the gates popped open and out came William and Kate ... in a car!
How perfectly normal. Will driving, and Kate waving. Balloons fluttering from the radio antenna, cans rattling along behind them. "Just Wed" written on the back license plate. Yes, it seemed the most normal touch of the day. Heck, I think I even did the same thing on the day I got married.
Oh, to be sure, it was Dad's $100,000 purple 1969 Aston Martin Volante convertible. But still, how normal for the groom to whisk away his young bride in something as time-honored as the old man's car?
I wonder how that conversation went: "Um, your highness, um, er, I mean, Dad. Can I have the keys to the car tonight?" I am sure Prince Charles said something like, "Sure, your highness, um, er, I mean, son. But … keep your hands on the wheel (wink, wink)."
I'll catch you in two. ...
'Big Chuck' D'Imperio can be heard on weekdays beginning at 6 a.m. on WDOS-AM 730 in Oneonta, and also on Thursday nights from 7-9 p.m. on WSRK-FM 103.9 for his "Oldies Jukebox Show." You can find "Big Chuck" on Facebook under Upstate New York Books. He invites you to contact him at email@example.com. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/bigchuck.
Well, it's over. The wedding that is, not the marriage.
- Big Chuck
Safety Patrol D.C. visits never get old
I asked Cam Morris, head of Eastern Travel/Oneonta Bus Lines, how many years her company has been handling the Safety Patrol trip to Washington, D.C.
My pal Brucie, savior of Sidney's hospital
Ask any hospital administrators if they've ever heard of a closed hospital in New York state that has ever been re-opened. They will say, "Impossible." In a half century of going through records you can't find any.
Catching a whiff of 'Vermont Vapor'
We just came back from a weekend in Manchester, Vt., and my wife insists that something "magical" happens when you pass the state sign. "I think they spray 'Vermont Vapor' out of the sign or something," she opined, "something that actually changes us."
Selections from the virtual mailbag
Well, it's time to open up the email bag, and it's really full!
Recalling days of 'Doughnut King'
In 1969, I was "The Doughnut King" in Sidney.
- Monday, March 11, 2013
Opera great's visit still a thrilling memory
Opera singer Marian Anderson (1897-1993) has been called the "most distinctive American voice of the 20th century."
- Monday, February 25, 2013
Film clip a window into Oneonta's past
One of my radio listeners sent me an astonishing piece of video recently. I posted it on my Facebook page (go to Facebook, search "BIG CHUCK") and it has been viewed by well over 1,000 people in just a week.
- Monday, February 11, 2013
Many made stop at upstate naval base
My father was in the U.S. Navy. Not for long, but he did enlist out of high school in 1944. He did his naval training at Sampson Naval Training Base in Romulus. Shortly after Dad's basic training, he was honorably discharged because of a health issue. So, although his service was brief, I needed to find out as much about it as I possibly could.
- Monday, January 28, 2013
Local foods worthy of national spotlight
Well, President Obamaâ€™s second inauguration is over and we can all breathe a sigh of relief and satisfaction.
- Monday, January 14, 2013
Remembering lives of the not-so-famous
I write about 25 columns a year for this paper. And I must admit, this annual one is always my favorite. A lot of famous people left this world last year, including General Norman Schwarzkopf, Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, singer Andy Williams and TV's George Jefferson actor -- Sherman Hemsley.
- Monday, December 31, 2012
Canines create unforgettable moments
Last year, I used my holiday column to pay tribute to my dog, Stella. The darn dog actually received fan mail after that, and has insisted that I do a shout-out to her canine colleagues each year around this time. So, to keep Stella happy, here goes.
- Monday, December 17, 2012
Nothing like an old-fashioned movie theater
What is it about a movie theater?
- Monday, December 3, 2012
Chuck's daughter returns to a town full of memories
My daughter Frances, OHS Class of 2000, came home for Thanksgiving last week after not having been in her hometown for nearly five years. I asked her to be my "guest columnist" to share her thoughts about coming home for the holidays. I hope you enjoy her story.
- Monday, November 19, 2012
Time to move on after grueling campaign season
Nobody likes a presidential election campaign better than I do. But this one darn near took a piece out of me.
- Monday, November 5, 2012
One nasty hurricane more than enough for one lifetime
Hey, Sandy! Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
- Monday, October 22, 2012
Latter-day stunt men still knew how to thrill
What is it with all these crazy stuntmen all of a sudden?
- Monday, October 8, 2012
Andy Williams, last of the great crooners
When singer Andy Williams died a week ago, it truly was an end of an era.
- Monday, September 24, 2012
Senator's farm was all I imagined
Many years ago, when I first arrived in Oneonta, Daniel Patrick Moynihan was the senior senator from New York state. His top aide, Ross Frommer, used to come into the radio station for interviews and to tell my audience about the various legislative efforts involving "their senator."
- Monday, September 10, 2012
Family's history includes ancestor who knew Lincoln
- Monday, August 27, 2012
Making up for lost time on Facebook
If there ever was a true-blue phenomenon, it is Facebook.
- Safety Patrol D.C. visits never get old