Entry to the coveted Rose Parade seats that my wife and I had been allotted was strictly controlled and to keep out gatecrashers we were each given a symbolic red rose as a passport. Afraid of losing mine, I attached it to my coat and forgot about it.
By Reg Green
Months later, as I shuffled through security at London’s Heathrow airport, a husky man with a strong grin and an even stronger Irish accent said to me “Aye, you’re a proud man today.”
Ragging between English and Irishmen is an age-old custom, though coming from a complete stranger was a surprise. And how did he know that, though now a U.S. citizen, I was born in England? “What makes you say that?” I asked. He pointed to my lapel pin.
Ah, yes, now it was clear. The day before, England’s rugby team, whose symbol is the red rose, had humbled the mighty New Zealand thus qualifying for the world cup final. I didn’t need to remind him that earlier in the tournament Ireland had been walloped by New Zealand 46 to 14.
Instead, I just smiled, enjoying a mental victory lap and afraid that he’d write me off as a total wimp if he discovered that I wasn’t celebrating a game in which 240 lb. titans thump each other into the ground for pleasure but instead a parade of delicate flowers.
A week later England lost in the final to South Africa 12 to 32. I wonder if that Irishman is still searching Heathrow for the little Yank with the English accent to remind him that a fall traditionally comes after a show of pride.
This article is a reprint from Dec. 30, 2021. We hope you will enjoy it as much as we did. May lovely memories stay fresh in your minds always.
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