Reading the Times Free Press obituaries Sunday, my first thought was, "Wow, is Queen Elizabeth from Hixson?"
Normally reserved for announcements for the departed from around the area, right there in the middle of the page under the "International" heading was the death announcement for Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, the monarch who reigned for seven decades and died last week at the age of 96.
"She's an iconic leader," said Darrin Wolfe, the location manager of the Valley View branch of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory & Florist, which placed the obit. "We just wanted to contribute a way that people could share their condolences."
Yes, I know, the recently deceased Queen of England was not from Hamilton County, but her majesty's presence in the pages of Sunday's obit pages could make you wonder.
The queen was right there among the local names -- from Michael Love to Julie Scott.
But that's because the kind folks at Chattanooga Funeral handled the bill for her place among the announcements.
Moreover, the queen's photo is hanging in the four local affiliates of the Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory & Florist franchise. Area residents have the opportunity to sign a registry that will be sent to Buckingham Palace.
Yes, that Buckingham Palace.
So, why the connection? I'm pretty sure the queen did not have a vacation spot on Harrison Bay.
"Whenever anyone suffers a loss, whether it's personal or someone they admire or respect, we want to be supportive," Wolfe said Monday in a phone interview. "As we always say, 'If you are old enough to love someone, you are old enough to hurt when you lose someone.'"
That's noble, even for a tribute to nobles.
Of course we are fascinated by monarchs -- whether they are butterflies in our yards, basketball players in Sacramento or the chess piece we're trying to protect -- and Queen Elizabeth was a historic one.
Seven decades. Heck, when she took the throne, we were clawing our way out of the aftermath of World War II and long before the age before the age before the age of technology.
Remembering Queen Elizabeth II
But the draw was not because Wolfe or any of his cohorts at Chattanooga Funeral were xenophiles or Anglophiles.
It was because the end of life is universal; grief is shared whether it's the queen of England or the fella who thought he was the prince of Rossville.
"We wanted to give people the chance to express their grief, and hope that could help others," Wolfe said. "If you can express that and share that, it helps everyone in the grief process."
Whether they are a queen or whether or they are from Hixson, or maybe even both.