Sunday, August 31, 2008

Queens' wave

I made my annual visit to the Clarence Center Labor Day Fair this afternoon. As usual, I walked around the Midway, looked around the beer tent, and saw the exhibits.

One of the tents set up involved the Clarence Bicentennial, which is being celebrated this year. The workers at the tent handed out booklets celebrating the town's 200th birthday.

It's a standard book of its type, filled with good wishes from local businesses and people. But a couple of pages stopped me cold. You've probably seen letters from politicians on letterhead in such situations, as they chime in with tributes to the great history of the town and best wishes for the years ahead. The book has a handful of those, including a piece Tom Reynolds entered into the Congressional Record.

But, as cleverly and quickly noticed by Clarence visitor Kevin Chase, it also has letters of congratulations from the Queen of England, and the Queen of the Netherlands.

The mystery of the day is: how did these two people come to write a letter of congratulations about the bicentennial? And what's the connection to Clarence? And why didn't the President of the United States, or the Governor of New York, or the Erie County Executive, write similar letters? (Well, someone may have written then-Governor Eliot Spitzer early in the year, when he had, um, other things to do.)

The next time the Netherlands has a big anniversary, remind me to return the favor and congratulate it. It's the least I could do.

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