Meet the real homecoming Princess

EA Homecoming Court, from left, bottom, Jaden Hubert and Ella Rose Cannon; middle, Abby-Kate Helton, Tiffany Gookin, Kadence Kolbe; top, Rihanna Crook, Tava Johnson, Ana Chesley Robinson.

Special to Atmore News

The young ladies in this photo are the female students elected to this year’s Escambia Academy Homecoming Court. [September 30].
I don’t know the name of even one of them. They are all darling. However, my interest is this pic focuses on the tiny little cutie to the lower right. Meet Princess Ella Rose Cannon, Michael Cannon’s daughter and Lee and (the late) Mickey Cannon’s granddaughter. Anyone who knew Mickey knows he and Ella Rose shared a special bond. They were devoted to each other. 
Ella Rose and her handsome escort, whose name I’m eager to learn when the paper comes out this week, were asked to bring THE CROWN onto the field Friday night
Now I have to tell you, while Mickey called Ella Rose his “Princess,” I always think of her as ”Miss Thang.” She also reminds me of Walton Nichols when I first met her and Gordon. Anyway. The last time I talked to Mickey on the phone, it was a long conversation, and as usual it was both serious and silly. I didn’t know Ella Rose was at his house waiting for him to get off the phone to give her his undivided attention.
I learned later that when he and I finally hung up, Princess Ella Rose said, “Well! Who was that?” 
Mickey said, “That was Princess Bon Bon.”
I imagine Ella Rose with one hand on her hip as she asks, “Well WHO is Princess Bon Bon?” 
Mickey said, “She’s my lifelong friend.” 
I have forgotten Ella Rose’s exact words, but they were something like, “Well I hope Princess Bon Bon knows there’s only one real Princess in your life!”
Mickey laughs and says, “Oh, she does. She does.”
Can’t you hear Mickey’s laughter and see the smile in his blue, blue eyes?! I can. 
Lee is sweet enough to keep sharing Ella Rose stories and pictures with me. It makes me feel closer to Mickey.
Now as for Ella Rose’s Homecoming duty, she had a little pillow on which to carry the Homecoming crown. It was probably much more ornate and heavier than any of her own crowns. (BTW, she doesn’t do pageants. Still, she is positive she’s a real princess.)
Right before Homecoming, Lee told me Ella Rose had been asked to be crown-bearer. She and Ella Rose’s mama were trying to decide whether to let Ella Rose wear one of her own little crowns on the field because Lee was afraid there might be a “RUMBLE” for the real crown with a good chance Ella Rose might not hand it over at the appointed magical moment. Or at all. 
I couldn’t go to the game, so I had to wait to ask Lee if there had been a RUMBLE over the crown. 
Lee laughed and said there hadn’t been a rumble on the field thank goodness because the Academy had presented Ella Rose with flowers when the students in the Homecoming court received their arm bouquets. No doubt that distracted her thoughts of handing over the beautiful crown entrusted to her care. Somebody at the Academy was smart and kind — not to mention downright pragmatic. 
On behalf of my old friend Mickey Cannon, I sincerely thank Escambia Academy for inviting the real princess, Princess Ella Rose Cannon, to participate in her first Homecoming in such a memorable way. 
To the person at EA who decided Princess Ella Rose should receive flowers like the big girls: I think I love you. 

[Atmore native Bonnie Bartel Latino is a former columnist for Stars and Stripes in Europe and a freelance writer for numerous other papers including Military Times, The Birmingham News, the Book Page of the Mobile Press-Register. She is co-author of  the novel, Your Gift to Me, which won four national book awards.]