LONDON _ “I’m going to London to see the Queen. You want to go?”
For as far back as I can remember as a child, this was a saying my grandma used on me growing up in tiny Schulenburg whenever I asked where she was going.
In other words, it’s none of your business.
Well, grandma, may she rest in peace, I really did go to London to the see the Queen.
And I can’t use that line on my kids anymore because they really did want to go. My 9-year old tried to stowaway in my suitcase.
• Still can’t believe I nearly caused an international incident because I playfully criticized the chicken soup at Allianz Park, where the Dallas Cowboys trained during the week.
• Still shocked that they took their complaints up the chain to some big wigs at the NFL.
Did I really do all of that?
But I think we made up before I left. I’m a fun-loving guy. I told an employee at Saracens Rugby Club if he ever came to Texas I would treat him to some barbecue and some southern fried catfish, which is tastier than fish and chip.
Catfish over Cod any day.
Of course, that produced a frown.
The Brits are a sensitive bunch, I tell ya.
But they’re also a fun-loving and nice group of people, as long as you are not talking about their food or being a pushy American.
They are not as direct as we are.
Our bus guide, Anne, was a hoot. She enjoyed giving me heck and asking if I went to those nightclubs.
On game day, I chose to ride the train rather than take the bus to the stadium. Anne went to the front desk and called my room to wonder where I was, saying:
“We are waiting on you, Clarence. Did you stay at the club too late?”
She knew I was taking the train, as my co-worker, Charean Williams, had already informed her. They tell me it was quite the sight to see old Anne cackle as she ran across the parking lot into the Marriott Hotel to “ring my room.”
I became fast friends with a couple of doormen at the hotel and they are eager to come to Texas to try out some barbecue.
Now the cabbies, they were a funny lot. They like to take advantage of Americans who don’t know the British money system. I was shorted at least two times on my change.
In the end, it was worth it cause the sightseeing was amazing. I saw the guards at Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the London Eye, the poppies at the Tower of London and a stereotypical man in a tight suit walking an English poodle.
Some stuff you just can’t make up.
I would like to give Dara McIntosh, an American broadcaster who is working in London for ARISE TV, a special thanks for being my tour guide all week.
I did a sports segment on her network, giving them some insight on the Cowboys with my splendid southern accent and American slang and lingo.
I got a chance to hang out with one a member of my fraternity -- Omega Psi Phi Incorporated. He is from Massachusetts, but moved to Birmingham, England, to work at a university. He took a two-hour train ride to London on Saturday to hang out with some like-minded friends.
As the song goes in our fraternity, “I went to London to See the Queen, She found out I was a Que and she made me the King. The first thing I did when I settled down. I called all the Ques and we wrecked the town.”
We didn’t wreck the town. London is still standing.
And like the Cowboys, I broke curfew a few times.
But it was a trip of a lifetime, save for the 11-hour flight home without wi-fi on American Airlines. Isn’t this 2014? No wi-fi?
Still, the trip to Jolly Ole England is one I won’t forget and the Londoners won’t forget me.
In the words of Dez Bryant, “I’ve gone nationwide.”