By Brad Dison
Two American tourists took a much-needed vacation in England and Scotland. They had visited the usual tourist attractions in London such as Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, the British Museum, and the Great Clock of Westminster, which is commonly referred to as Big Ben. They traveled to several cities in Scotland and visited the usual tourist sites there such as Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, and Holyrood House. Finally, they decided to get away from the bustling crowds of the cities and went hiking in an area of the sparsely populated Scottish Highlands, about 100 miles north of Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh. The views were breathtaking. They hiked on the ancient winding paths at the base of the mountains along the River Dee.
While hiking, they met another man and woman, Dick and Liz, who were walking in the opposite direction toward a favored picnic site. Dick and Liz rarely saw hikers in this area because it was so remote. As the hikers neared, Liz said hello and sparked up a conversation. The hikers were instantly drawn in by Dick and Liz’s accents. The foursome engaged in small talk. The hikers told Dick and Liz of their travels throughout Britain and where they would be visiting on the remainder of their vacation.
As the conversation progressed, one of the gentleman hikers asked Liz where she lived. She replied, “Well, I live in London, but I have a holiday home just the other side of the hill.” “How often have you been coming up here,” the gentleman hiker asked. “Oh, I’ve been coming up here since I was a little girl, so over eighty years.” Dick and Liz could see that the gentleman was thinking about her reply. Then he asked what was one of the most asked questions by a tourist in Britain. “Well, if you’ve been coming up here for 80 years,” he said, “you must’ve met the Queen.” Liz replied, “Well I haven’t, but Dick, here, meets her regularly.”
The hikers turned their full attention to Dick, who had spoken very little up to that point. “What’s she like,” the hikers asked Dick. “Well,” Dick replied matter-of-factly “she can be very cantankerous at times, but she has a lovely sense of humor.” The hikers held onto every word Dick said about his meetings with the Queen. The hiker was so enamored that he had met someone who had met the Queen that he handed Liz his camera and asked if she would take a picture of him with Dick, to which she obliged. Then, they swapped places and Dick took pictures of the hikers with Liz.
After a while, the hikers said goodbye to Dick and Liz and continued on their hike. As Dick and Liz gave a final wave to their new hiker friends, Liz turned to Dick and said, “I’d love to be a fly on the wall when he shows the photographs to his friends in America.” You see, Richard “Dick” Griffin really had met the Queen regularly because he was her royal protection officer. The American hikers learned at some later point that the lady who accompanied Dick on the picnic was Queen Elizabeth II.