An Alternate Ending for Bermuda’s Upcoming Peppercorn Ceremony

These Bermuda Tourism ads on our site right now have me thinking about a trip to Bermuda I took with my family when I was a kid. Through sheer coincidence, we happened to be there during one of the island’s biggest holidays, the annual Peppercorn Ceremony in St. George’s. Even though decades have passed, I remember it clearly, possibly because I caught a glimpse of myself in the crowd on the local news that night and thought it was a big deal. Well, this year’s Peppercorn Ceremony is coming up in a little more than a month, and I can’t help but imagine an alternate unfolding of events in the nearly 200-year-old tradition.

The Peppercorn Ceremony is held in King’s Square every April, and it’s basically a big event to commemorate the symbolic payment of one peppercorn in rent by the Freemasons to the Governor for the right to use the old State House as their headquarters. There’s a parade, a horse-drawn carriage, a 17-gun salute, and all the pomp you’d expect from a British Overseas Territory.

The way I remember it, the governor comes up to the dais, and, in a commanding voice, demands the rent. A single peppercorn on a pillow is then presented to him. The rent is paid in full, and the ceremony is over until next year.

But I’ve always envisioned a different ending that would be embarrassing to both parties and hilarious to me.

Governor: “I demand the rent of one peppercorn!”

Freemason: “Yeah, the rent. About that … ”

Governor: “Yes?”

Freemason: “I ain’t got it.”

Governor: “What the bloody hell happened?”

Freemason: “Well, I had it, but then I made this turkey sandwich …”

Governor: “And?”

Freemason: “Well, it was just so bland. It needed a little kick. So I ground up the peppercorn and sprinkled it on my sandwich.”

[Awkward silence.]

It’s an unlikely scenario, but I do strongly suggest that the Freemasons double check their peppercorn stock in advance, just in case. Those funny shorts are bad enough, but to get booted out of your clubhouse for non-payment of a peppercorn? You’d never live it down.

[image via]

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