A vacation to Di for

August 17, 1994|By Art Buchwald

Martha's Vineyard, Mass. -- JUST WHEN everyone had been reconciled to the fact that President and Mrs. Clinton had decided to come back to the Vineyard for their vacation, word got out that Princess Di was already on the island. We discovered this only by accident when 14 DC-10 airplanes and 25 Huey helicopters started to buzz the beaches, and a fleet of landing craft, loaded with paparazzi and reporters from all the English newspapers, sailed into the port of Vineyard Haven, their binoculars searching the houses on shore.

Di's arrival came as a complete surprise to us, although we're used to handling famous people. (When Barbra Streisand was on the island last year, people didn't blink.) But Di's arrival was so world-shaking that even the blase tennis players left the courts.

I was home making clam chowder when the knock came. I opened the door to find four photographers, their cameras aimed at my head, and three reporters from the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mirror and the News of the World, who brushed past me.

"Where is she?" one asked.

"She's not here," I said.

"Do you mind if we search the house?" another asked.

"Be my guest," I told them.

They spread out, looking in every closet and under the beds. One photographer went up to the attic and another to the basement.

They came up empty except for three sleeping college students who I had forgotten to throw out of the house. They are my daughter's Labor Day guests -- from last year.

"We know she's on the island," one of the photographers said. "And we will find her. We have a saying on Fleet Street: 'The royal family can run, but they can't hide.' If you know what is good for you, you will tell us where she is."

I was frightened. "If I knew, do you think I would keep it to myself? I haven't seen her -- and she never called me. For all I know, she is really on Nantucket and started the rumor that she was on the Vineyard to throw people off."

The Di expert from the News of the World said, "I know her every move. She put out the word that she was going to Martha's Vineyard to have everyone think she was on Nantucket -- then she came to Martha's Vineyard at the last moment to fool us. The royal family will do anything to make our jobs difficult."

The photographers started to eat my clam chowder, so I decided was time to get them to leave.

"You guys might try the nude beach at Lucy Vincent. We have a saying on Martha's Vineyard: 'If you swim without a bathing suit, you can run, but you can't hide.' "

Art Buchwald is a syndicated columnist.

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