How To Say ‘Peony’ During Royal Wedding

Published 8:30 am Thursday, May 17, 2018

The lowly peony is in for a big promotion next week as it becomes one of the featured flowers in England’s royal wedding. American commoner Meghan Markle’s favorite flower is the peony. The puffy flower will be used prominently in her marriage to Prince Harry.

Elizabeth and I have had a long-running dispute at home over that beautiful flower blooming on lawns now.

How do you pronounce it?

I say, “Pee-OOHH-nee.”

Elizabeth says, “PEE-uh-nee.”

Three people agree with me. Elizabeth has hundreds — and the on-line pronunciation guide — on her side.

I’ll be listening closely to the TV next week during the wedding to hear the Brits’ pronunciation.

• • • • •

French pilot Rene Gavoille saw something horrifying as he patrolled over the Ardennes forest at night in May 1940 — long lines of German tanks snaking toward his country.

He hurried back to the air base to warn his superiors.

They didn’t believe him. They dismissed what he saw as “night phantoms.” Tanks can’t penetrate the Ardennes, they reasoned. Everybody knew that.

Gavoille returned for a second reconnaissance flight. His plane was hit by gunfire while he took pictures.

Once again, his superiors dismissed what he saw as “obvious fake tanks,” an attempt by the Germans to divert attention away from their earlier assault in Belgium.

Desperate to convince them, Gavoille returned to the air a third time only to have his plane shot down. He escaped.

The pilot is now a foot note to history.

I am still following the excellent and gripping RealTimeWWII Twitter account by British historian Alwyn Collinson with a day-by-day retelling of the war. He has a stunning 515,200 followers.

The smug French command two days later would be literally crying in their headquarters when they realized the Germans had encircled them and defeat was certain. In three weeks, the British army would be escaping Europe at Dunkirk. France would fall.

Had they listened to pilot Gavoille, the French command had time to send bombers to crush the 41,140 German tanks and trucks clustered along four forest paths before they broke across the French countryside.

Do you believe me or your lying eyes?

• • • • •

Watching students awkwardly wheel that big Davidson County Community College tractor trailer through Mocksville, I’ve always thought I could drive that rig. Maybe I’ll take that class in retirement long enough to take one lark through town.

A school official told me there were openings for bus drivers. Thanks, but no. I did that at age 16.

• • • • •

Two weeks ago while driving the main drag of Yadkinville, I spotted familiar signs dotted the roadside.

“No Medians.”

Have they recycled the signs from Clemmons last year?

– Dwight Sparks