Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"Sir Sydney of Hollis Green"

A while back I was remembering a childhood event. I told the story on the air of how my Aunt Sybil "Knighted" my brother,cousins, and me.

Long, long ago when Kennedy was our young, noble King, and Woodstock was an unknown farm town. I was a kid. In this instance I was a kid playing in my aunt Sybil's back yard. I was happily raising hell with my brother John, and my cousins Jimmy, and Henry.

We were happy, secure, innocent, and playing in our aunt Sybil's house in Hollis Queens. Btw, we called auntie, "Mum",...can't remember why. Just as none of us remembers why we call my little sister "Cookie." All lost in the mists of kidhood.

Well there we were scream'n, and jumping, and running around! When out comes "Mum" to the grassy yard. She set up the big lawn chair, and put a pillow in front of it. She also brought out our Grandma's colorful winter quilt.

You guys ever read "Prince Valiant?" My auntie did. In fact it was her favorite story book from childhood. So it's no surprise that we all got "Prince Valiant" sets at Christmas. Well we got sox, books, and other useless stuff too, but Mum always came through with the neat presents.

She once gave me a model airplane w/a real gasoline motor in it! One summer I was flying it in Prospect Park, and the cord snapped. It flew away. I never in all these years found the wreckage. I like to think it's still flying somewhere in the world,..China maybe.

'But the Prince Valiant set, oh my, it was so beautifully made! Bright painted tin shield, golden sword, and plumed "flower pot" helmet! This stuff would be worth a fortune today on ebay if you could find it! (...and I've looked) Well Mum brings these out with her to the yard, and performs magic.

We got in line shortest to tallest, and before we knew it we were Knighted! Me, Henry, Johnny, then Jimmy. Each in our turn would don Grandma's quilt as we knelt before Mum.

She held the golden sword above us while saying grownup words then gently touched one shoulder then the other with the Prince's glinting blade. I can't remember all that she said, but I do know that it felt serious. Not play.

Our Aunt Sybil was giving us something important. Something that was real. Very real. Was that the moment when we all became men? That so long ago summer day when we knelt before she who would later become the "Matriarch" of all our families.

The years passed our innocence slipping away. My brother, and cousins grew up to be paratroopers, and fought in the Indochina wars. They were the "Knights", that's what they called themselves. My cousin Henry even painted a winged "Excalibur" on the side of his helicopter.

I have often wondered if the magic that Auntie gave us that day helped them to survive over there. I think it did. I think Mum knew exactly what she was doing.

There are only two Knights left now my brother, and me. Time, and the world have taken the others. Still that warm day lives in us. That gift from our dear Auntie has seen us into a new century, and a grateful middleage.

God Bless You Mum.

Whereas I said I don't remember all the words that were said over us I always meant to compose something to fill in the gaps. Here it is. I pinched most of it from books, or movies though a few words are mine. I hope it may come in handy for you if you ever have to Knight a worthy person. Be they old or very, very young no matter, one size fits all.

"The Oath of a Knight"

Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave, be honest, be generous, and kind. Oppose evil in all of it's forms. Have the wisdom to do not what is easy, but what is right. Respect Women. Safeguard the helpless, respect all faiths. But beware of "Pride" the source of all error.

Now in the name of G-d the founder of Dreams. She who filled the "Well of Forever" with souls, and put smiles on the lips of the yet born. In the Name of She who painted the void with fire. In that Name!, and in the names of Saint Michael, and Saint George the slayer of Dragons,...You are Consecrated, rise, a Knight, and assume your responsibilities.

The above, and the following two posts are from other blogs I've done in the past. I was looking at my old material, and thought I'd share a few items. Hope ya likes'em



poetreader said...

Thanks for repeating this one. What a wonderful memory to have!


Anonymous said...

Superb film! One of a very few genuinely good King Arthur movies!

Uncle Sidney said...

The best Authur flick there ever was!!

Anonymous said...

As I recall from the movie, the teen who played Modred was a pretty hot patoot. He did a scene with the Morgan Le Fey character, who was his mother, that hinted at smashing every incest taboo in the book.

Merlin's speech reminds me a bit of the St. Crispin's Day speech from Shakespeare's Henry V. If you can find the Kenneth Brannaugh version it's well worth a watch, both from the stanpoint of great swashbuckling action, and carching a young teen incarnation of Christian Bale, pre Batman, when he was VERY cute.

Mr. Chips