0

MANDY FLYNN: I’ll have grits and a tiara

FEATURES COLUMN: I’d like to live in Downton Abbey for a day

Mandy Flynn

Mandy Flynn

I have decided that I would, for one day, appreciate the opportunity to live in the world of “Downton Abbey.” Only once before did I wish I lived in a world created by PBS, the Public Broadcasting System. That would be about 1973 when I longed to live in “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” minus the semi-creepy puppets. Something about Mr. Rogers serenely taking off his dress shoes and putting on his navy blue sneakers each and every episode made me want to be his neighbor.

The folks of Downton Abbey would gasp at Mr. Rogers putting his shoes on by himself, I’m afraid.

In case you’re not familiar with the wildly popular series now in its fourth season on PBS, I’ll give you the short version. (I understand the feeling of trying to follow along when someone’s having a conversation about a television show you don’t watch. Try as I might, I still don’t understand the zombies and how they are eating their way through the brains of Atlanta. All I know from the tidbits I’ve heard is that I should consider purchasing a crossbow because apparently it will help keep me alive during a zombie apocalypse. I should probably check on that.)

The show, set in the fictional Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey, depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era — with the great events in history having an effect on their lives and on the British social hierarchy. Such events depicted throughout the series include news of the sinking of the Titanic, the outbreak of the first World War, and the Spanish influenza pandemic.

Exciting stuff going on in the world during this series, no doubt, but the real action goes on within the walls of Downton Abbey, where the men wear tuxes to dinner and a lady, if she feels like it, can wear a tiara as she eats her pudding and no one bats an eyelash. Which brings me to two reasons why I’d like to live in the world of Downton Abbey for a day …

  1. I’d like to wear a tiara while I eat dinner.

  2. I’d like my husband to wear a tuxedo to dinner.

Now, No. 2, I understand, would require that I talk my better half into actually moving into the world of Downton Abbey with me for a day. That may be a challenge unless I assure him that he will be able to hunt foxes or grouse to his heart’s content, never have to load his own gun and a scullery maid would pluck the grouse feathers for him.

At least I think a grouse is a bird. I should probably check on that.

But when he comes in from hunting, he will quickly change into his tuxedo for dinner. A white dinner jacket — not black — mind you. If I have learned one thing from “Downton Abbey,” it is that if you wear a black jacket and tie to dinner, then you might as well be wearing your pajamas. Ghastly.

As for the servants of Downton, I don’t particularly need to be waited on hand and foot. Most assuredly I can dress myself — which they do not. If a lady’s maid insisted on helping me, I might let her bring me breakfast in bed since it was customary for the women not to eat with the men in the morning.

I hope they have grits.

After breakfast, perhaps we’ll have tea, take a stroll through the gardens or sit in the parlor and talk about inviting the Earl of Somewhere to dinner. Only I won’t be there to wear my tiara because my one day at Downton Abbey is up and I must come home.

After all, home is where the heart is. And apparently zombies. Are there grouse in North America? Can you hunt grouse with a crossbow?

I should probably check on that.

Email columnist Mandy Flynn at flyn1862@bellsouth.net.