We were waiting for Daddy in our usual Tuesday afternoon Library time. There were a couple of young girls in blue and grey school uniform, rather enthusiastically bouncing around the library. They flitted in and out of the children’s section, talked loudly with someone on the computer and then struck up conversation with one of the librarians. We sat and read. By the time Daddy did appear, I had wandered over to another part of the library and was looking for books by a favoured author.
“Oh, hello,” I said to Tim as he appeared around the bookshelf.
“Have you got the car keys?” he asked.
I was aware of the blue and grey girls slowly slinking around the bookcase and staring at Tim.
“Are you the Mayor?” one of them courageously asked.
“I am,” he smiled.
“You came to our school, today!” said the other boldly.
I mother-hen gathered the children together and fussed Miss Puddleduck back into her wellingtons, shuffling them out of the children’s section of the library, while the two blue and grey girls stared. They stood grinning, looking from Tim to us in awe of the fact that the Mayor might be a normal man with a normal family.
We chuckled together later over the school girl’s delight in their boldness in both recognising and speaking to the Mayor. I teased and asked again with the same ‘stating the obvious while knowing the answer’ awe in my question,”Are you the Mayor?”
Tim laughed and said,”See, I’m a celebrity.”
A small town celebrity, perhaps! The Bishop put it much better when he told a packed Cathedral at the Queen’s Jubilee Celebration Service,”You are all symbols.” He was saying that the Queen was a symbol and so were the Civic dignitaries filling the Cathedral that day. They were symbols of pomp, ceremony, tradition, order, duty, and a history lesson rolled into one. They were symbols making a modern moment significant.
Today, the Mayor made his moment of duty significant by being one minute late to the school assembly he had to attend. He made the children guess why he was late. Was that the car wouldn’t start? There were road works or bad traffic, perhaps? No! He’d left his symbol that he was a symbol (his chain of office) in his office the day before and only remembered it as he was leaving to make the short journey down the road to the village school. So he detoured to his office in town, got his chain and hastily sped back to the village just in time for a hurried entry onto the school assembly platform. Amongst some of the pupils his nephew and niece grinned delight at their Uncle’s performance as he blundered into their midst, still pinning his chain of office on.
The assembly progressed and the Mayor commended all the children for their enthusiasm with which they sang about working together and having fun. It was 9.15 in the morning, an early hour to be celebrating such achievements. The teachers didn’t know quite what to make of the Mayor who gustily appeared, running late and bringing humour to the morning routine. Perhaps a breath of fresh air has blown the dust off this symbol in that he’s a little younger and fitter than your average Mayor.