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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

December, 2005

 

Moo Town News
"Bonny Prince Charlie"
By Judy Borello

If this dates me, so be it! My grandparents used to refer to Prince Charles when he was a baby as "Bonnie Prince Charlie," as did many others.
When I heard Prince Charles was coming to the town of Pt. Reyes Station with his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, I thought "Wow!" what an honor.
The week before the Prince arrived, the town was abuzz with the Secret Service, both Brits and American "Men in Black," tramping all over, inside buildings, on roofs, and measuring our streets and sidewalks.
When the week before the Prince came to town, the Independent Journal (IJ) snapped a picture of Fred the Pug, who is the sentinel at the front door of the Old Western Saloon and ran it on the front page, all hell started breaking loose, at least at the Saloon.
Ruby, my sassy redheaded bartended and her son Bobby who actually owns "Fred" were getting bombarded with phone calls and people stopping by the Saloon to see "Fred."
Bobby who also bartends and cleans at the Saloon and hangs out there a lot so Fred became the sentinel at the "swinging doors" for years. I refer to Fred as Fredrika since Fred is actually a girl. She is over 13 years of age and dines on carrots, tomatoes and apples (all organic I'm sure)!
When Saturday, November 5th rolled around, Bobby picked me up at 7:30 a.m. because the town was to be closed off and we wanted to make sure we could park. My daughter Michele Pelton had called early and said she wasn't going downtown Pt. Reyes that day because it was going to be a zoo and the Prince wouldn't probably come into the Old Western Saloon. I agreed and told the same thing to my son Thor Spargo, so both my children lost out.
As I raced to the door when I heard Bobby pull up, I grabbed my Akubra Australian Corduroy hat, equivalent to a Stetson made in America and away we went.
Perching on a chair on the top stair of the Old Western Saloon with "Fred" by my side, I was intrigued to catch all the action. Bobby couldn't find a bow tie for Fred, but as luck would have it a lovely Brit loaned us her royal dog collar from Buckingham Palace and Fred wore it proudly.
Facing Toby's Feed Barn from our perch where the Prince was going to visit the Farmer's Market (great local organic food--home grown) we were captivated by the number of Secret Service who had cordoned off the sidewalks in quadrants. One pony-tailed SS lady came over to the steps of the Saloon and said, "I want these steps cleared off," and I retorted very emphatically, "Well, I guess I'll be the white woman's Rosa Parks because I own these steps and you'll have to drag me off and arrest me before I ever leave my stairs."
Well, she snorted and laughed and walked off, with the Brits to the side of me cheering me on. Adrenaline was rushing when the Prince and his entourage pulled up in their limousines. Cheers went up everywhere.
Prince Charles spent well over an hour and a half at Toby's and what was wild, the Moo Clock atop the Western Saloon usually gives off at 12 noon and 6:00 p.m. and I was going to give John Moore the business because he hadn't reset it for daylight savings time. Well much to our surprise it went off at 11:00 with a rooster crow and four moos. It was perfect. The locals cheered and Prince Charles thought he was surrounded by farm animals and he laughed. I said to John Moore, "You're a genius!"
A British lady whispered to me, "He's going to go in your Saloon." I asked her why she thought that? Her answer was, "Because that was his secretary that just went into the bar."
The secretary called me into the Saloon and told me I could pick five friends to stay inside and the multitude that gathered inside would have to go.
My face dropped and I said, "Do you know how much I'm going to be hated by my locals?" That was one of the hardest decisions I've made in my life and I had seconds to make it in.
I chose Rob and Katy Prokopec, Kim Daniels, Dave Cooke, and Phil the pool player, plus my two bartenders Ruby and Bobby. She cleared the bar and the "men in black" started arriving as I perched outside with Fred. My heart was galloping. "The Prince is really coming, the Prince is really coming!"
I gazed at him, as he meandered across the street working the crowd, shaking hands and smiling warmly. Ladies were presenting Camilla with gorgeous bouquets of flowers and a British lady whispered to me, "Just stay in your chair and let the Prince bend down and greet you.
I thought, "No way! I'm going to stand tall with pride and greet him at the door." When I did we glided across the floor-and I say glide because I don't think my feet touched the ground. I said aloud, "We're going to toast the Prince and his lovely wife Camilla. Well, Ruby had poured a pint for Prince Charles (Boont Amber Ale) and a pint of Lagunitas Beer for Camilla and a Coke for me. Ruby had scooted off to pour drinks for the crowd. Prince Charles said to me, "If you toast, you should drink a beer with me. "I responded, "Well Ruby is way down the other end of the bar." And that's when the most astonishing thing happened. The Prince said, "Well, we'll share mine!" I was flabbergasted, and my heart was instantly racing-no Prince, you don't want to do that, but I yelped out, "Certainly!"
I couldn't believe that Prince Charles actually shared his mug of beer with me. I have a best friend that won't even share her water with me. I gave Prince Charles an Old Western Saloon T-shirt and told him it was for his raucous son Prince Harry. He unfolded it and started laughing. "He'll wear it!" he said.
He stood straight and proud and is very thin, so thin you could shoot a pea through him, but he has the most beautiful, warm blue eyes that give you eye contact at all times.
I saw him glance over at my rotary phone and he said, "I like this place."
Honest opinion: I always had the perception that the Royal Family was stiff, stodgy and not too good-looking. Well, I erased all that because I found the Prince to be handsome, charming and very sincere, and I thought 'how cruel the British press is towards Camilla. She's actually an attractive, warm, down-to-earth lady.' I remember that day as I was being interviewed by the press, quite a few mentioned, "He charmed you. And I have to say emphatically, he did!
When Ruby tried to bring Fred inside the bar the crowd booed so when she set him back down instead of boos the crowd yayed!
When the Prince left he patted Fred on his head and since Fred is a girl we can't refer to Fred as "Sir Fred" but either "Lady" Fred or Dame Fred!
PS: My Prince has come and then he went, but the memories linger forever!!!

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