The Di is cast

August 24, 1994|By Art Buchwald

Martha's Vineyard -- OF ALL THE celebrities I have ever seen on this celebrity-blighted island, no one has ever created the excitement caused by Princess Diana. She is not only the talk of Martha's Vineyard, but also whenever I speak to the mainland, people want every morsel of information I can give them.

I had the most unbelievable experience when I spotted her one morning walking down Main Street in Vineyard Haven with some friends. At first I couldn't believe my eyes, so I started pinching myself until it hurt.

"Is it really her?" I asked my friend Fain Hackney, with whom I was talking on the street corner.

"It's Diana," he assured me. "My wife has the same hairdo."

"I was afraid it would come to this," I said. "She's been stalking me for three days."

I decided to play it cool and pretend that we in Vineyard Haven are used to British royalty strolling down our streets.

As she passed me -- no more than a foot away -- I bent down and started to tie my shoelace. I wasn't snubbing her; at the same time I wasn't going to curtsy and tell her to have a nice day.

As soon as she disappeared into a store I rushed to a telephone to call my loved ones all over the country.

"I saw Princess Di," I shouted to my sister Edith in Seattle. The reaction was exactly as expected. She shouted to her son David: "ARTHUR SAW PRINCESS DI." She yelled it so loud the neighbors all came in.

"What was she wearing?" one of the neighbors screamed into the mouthpiece.

"A red T-shirt and black jeans."

"Was she wearing a tiara?" Edith wanted to know.

"No, it was the first thing I checked."

"Why not a tiara?"

"A tiara is too fancy for Vineyard Haven. It only goes in Nantucket."

My sister asked, "How did people react when they saw her?"

I told her, "The women took one look at her body, covered their legs with beach towels and went into the fetal position."

"Did you sense she was having a good time?"

"Yes, I did. Everyone looked at her in awe, but no one came up to her and asked to have a picture taken with her. A lady standing next to me said, 'I have to get her autograph or my husband will never believe I saw her.' "

The lady next to her asked, "What kind of relationship do you have with your husband if he won't believe you saw a member of the royal family?"

Edith said, "I'm so proud of you. You didn't even try to see her, and when you did you didn't let her know how impressed you were."

"I'd never invade Di's privacy when she is on vacation. That's why we're such good friends."

Art Buchwald is a syndicated columnist.

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