We are pub people, my darling husband and I. When we’re at the beach some of our best days end with pulling up a stool at the corner of our favorite bar, sipping the libation of choice and watching the choreography of the bartenders at work.
Conversation comes and goes, the crowd changes with the hours. Early on, the stools are taken by people unwinding on their way home from work, a little later it’s families eating on the dining room side of the taproom, even later it’s the crowd seeking the evening’s entertainment — sometimes staying put, sometimes looking to move on to the next exciting place.
On this particular evening, we finished up our own dinner at the bar and were thinking about winding up the evening. A couple moved into the empty space next to me and as the stools had been moved to a table, MDR offered the lone stool on his side.
The woman accepted quickly, then walked over to get it, but my husband gallantly moved it over for her. Her spouse watched and shrugged as if to say, he’s got it — no bother to me. Actually, he might have said it out loud. She thanked us kindly and they were served their drinks. Normally I’d have let them be, but his accent stopped me. It was southern, though not the US southern you normally hear around us. They were visiting from south England — Cornwall to be exact.
And because I just can’t resist asking the questions, we ended up with so many answers. They’d only just gotten to the US two days earlier and were at the start of a five-week jaunt. The primary purpose was to meet their three-month old grandson, but they had other things on their list: they would leave the beach and head to Raleigh to try the Red Oak brewery, then on to Nashville, then Rosine — the birthplace of bluegrass. Then they planned to stay with a friend in Hazard, Kentucky who may or not be constantly stoned, but who’s gotten rich and poor several times by always giving away his money when he was flush.
This wasn’t their first trip — or rodeo. They actually found a rodeo in west Texas purely by happenstance when the wife insisted they pull off in Graham as it’s her son’s name. A state trooper, a parade, some locals and a couple of turns later, they were the only Cornish at a very local rodeo.
They had strong opinions on US citizens when they visit the UK (not that nice) and when this couple visits here (amazingly friendly). They’ve driven from Seattle to San Diego. They’ve done a Segway tour in Philadelphia. They have not been to Boston because he still holds a grudge for the Tea Party (the 18th century one). They are open to unexpected stops and adventures along the way. She’s the navigator with fold up maps and atlases. He’s the driver and the storyteller. They were a lot of fun.
And they were a lesson. Or two.