Last week I traveled back to England. It’s been nine months since we lived there and to be honest I’ve missed it quite a bit. Most things haven’t changed much in and around our old “stomping grounds”. Irish Anne is still the one-woman welcoming commitee at our wee Catholic church, St. Peter in Cirencester; the sea-salted chips at the Fleece are still the best I’ve ever had, especially when washed down with a Warsteiner; you can still get a decent pickle and cheese sandwich at Sainsbury for a quick lunch; Phil and Kirstie are still selling Real Estate on the telly; and Heart Radio relentlessly plays non-stop pop music (“Take me down like I’m a domino???!!!”).
This was a quick trip: arrived on a Friday night and left on the following Thursday. Not nearly enough time to eat at all my favourite pubs or to visit all the museums, abbeys, and shops that we’ve come to love. This trip was solo, so of course Deb wasn’t there to enjoy it with me (or to make it more enjoyable for me). I was however able to reconnect with my workmates and share a pint or two and a few good laughs. (How do you know that the toothbrush was invented in Wales? Because if it was invented anywhere else it would be call the teethbrush.) I’ve heard that same joke here in the States – substitute Wales with Arkansas – but it’s truly funnier with a English accent (and a pint or two).
On Friday morning, after arriving on a much delayed flight the night before, we drove to Oklahoma City to visit our son and daughter-in-law and bring our granddaughter home with us for a two-week visit. On our 1-1/2 days in Oklahoma City we visited the National Cowboy Museum. It was more enjoyable than I could have ever imagined. I love it when fun stuff is educational, too. There is some amazing art on display in the museum as well as a running history of cowboys and Native Americans. There are also sections devoted to the rodeo and to movie and television cowboys (I still remember the boyhood crush that I had on Dale Evans astride Buttermilk – Happy Trails indeed).
We were back home last night. And I’m back in my office today. Still processing some of the culture shock (overload?). It’s hard to travel from blokes to Oakies in one week. Not sure whether to “give it a go” or “hunker down” today. Perhaps I’ll do a little of both. And catch my breath.
Oh, and for the record, the toothbrush joke is funnier in Oklahoma if you use Arkansas in the punch line.