A true Christmas story

December 14, 2015 at 3:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ever since Grandpa could remember, he made sure to send a Christmas card to his king/queen. So naturally, since 1952, Elizabeth II kept receiving his mail.

As chance would have it, their paths crossed at a reception in Izmir, Turkey in 1972. When it was his turn to be introduced to the Queen, instead of a formal handshake, she paused, smiled, and quipped: “so its you who keeps sending me those lovely Christmas cards.”

Of all her subjects, Grandpa stood out (perhaps because he mailed his letters from Turkey), but what a memory and level of kindness on the Queen’s part. She even wrote him to congratulate him on his 100th birthday.

Sadly, Grandpa passed away in the summer of 2011 at the age of 102. As a loyal grandson, admirer and student of his, I took it upon myself to continue writing our Queen every year to show our appreciation. And I started that very first Christmas after Grandpa’s passing.

In January 2012, about a month after Christmas, I received a letter. The envelope suggested that it was sent from Buckingham Palace. In it was written: “When I received a letter from a different Simes this Christmas, I instructed my office to research your grandfather’s whereabouts. Therefore it is with much sadness, I have learned of his passing and extend my condolences to you and your family.”

I couldn’t fight back the tears then, nor can I fight them back every time I remember this story of two people who left a lifelong impression on each other. And today, just as every year, I sent my Christmas cards… but top of the list was reserved for Her Majesty. Wishing you all a Christmas as magical as this story.

Andrew Simes

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Popular Sydney bar bans anyone wearing Nike trainers because they’re the shoes of ‘drug dealers, gang members and undesirables’: “A man has claimed he was turned away from a popular bar for wearing trainers. Seb Aylmer, 32, claimed he was refused entry to the Bank Hotel in Newtown in Sydney’s inner west last month after apparently breaking the bar’s dress code for wearing his Nike Air Max sneakers. ‘I walked up and showed my ID and the guy said, “sorry, you can’t come in, you are wearing Air Max”. I thought he was joking, I thought it had to be a prank,’ he told The Sunday Telegraph. The Bank Hotel refused to comment on the encounter when contacted by Daily Mail Australia. The bar was said to have responded to his complaint, saying Mr Aylmer could not enter the premises because his footwear was deemed as ‘drug dealers’ or ‘gang members’ shoes. ‘I can honestly guarantee you that almost every single person I’ve caught selling drugs on the premises or has picked a fight has been wearing those shoes.

Powdered gold: Australian and New Zealand baby formula: “A student has revealed how he made more than $40,000 selling baby formula to China. The young student, who did not reveal where he lives in Australia, said he got into the lucrative market after a Chinese friend returned to the country late in 2014. Just weeks later, he was selling his first can and making a measly $1.50 profit, but it was the start of a huge pay-day. He also explained how he buys one or two tins at a time, and in total has spent ‘north of $100,000 on baby formula’ in less than a year. Baby formula is a sought after product in China, leading to people selling the product on the ‘black market’ The demand for Australian baby formula and other similar products skyrocketed in China in 2008, after six babies died from a melamine contamination and about 300,000 more became ill. It has since been revealed the deadly formula was deliberately laced with the chemical”

Australian jocularity: Deep down fat “Australian Tom Hackett has revealed the surprising reason he was named the best punter in American college football for the second season. Hackett, who plays for the University of Utah, joked with ESPN host Rece Davis while he accepted the Ray Guy Award last week. ‘The main reason I’m playing this sport right now is because deep down, I’m fat,’ Hackett told ESPN. ‘I don’t like running very far. So running 20-odd yards on and 20-odd yards off – it’s about all I got for you.’ Veteran broadcaster Davis was taken aback by the comments, and laughed in response: ‘that’s why I love going to Australia every year… guys like this.'”

SAS sniper in Iraq kills five ISIS jihadis with just three bullets after one causes suicide vest to blow up as they left bomb making factory: “An SAS sniper was able to stop a group of jihadis launching a sickening suicide bomb attack by killing the terrorists with just three bullets in a dramatic shoot-out in an ISIS-held part of Iraq. The marksman, who joined the SAS a decade ago, potentially saved the lives of hundreds of innocent people by firing three well-aimed shots at the jihadists as they left a bomb factory near Mosul. The sniper was given the go-ahead to unleash fire after the men were spotted leaving the bomb factory wearing heavy coats in hot weather – a sign they were trying to hide their suicide vests.”

Fisherman catches a big shark in waters popular with water-skiers: “A keen fisherman got more than he bargained for when he reeled in a massive shark from a river. Dennis Rivers, from Port Macquarie on the Mid North Coast of NSW, had gone on a solo fishing trip and set up camp on the banks of the Hastings River last Wednesday evening. The avid angler couldn’t believe his luck when he hooked a three-metre female bull shark – which he estimated at a staggering 250 kilograms. Mr Rivers, who prefers to keep his favourite fishing spots under wraps, said the one-hour struggle to pull the shark to shore left him with some serious battle wounds. ‘She put up a bit of a fight. I’m still sore now. All my hands are cut up,’ he said. Judging by the large size of its girth, Mr Rivers believes the giant beast is pregnant and had escaped from the ocean to breed in the river.

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

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