Sunday, November 8, 2015

My name is George


 “The greatest thing about a man is his ability to transcend himself, his environment, and to be what he dreams of being.”
- Tully C. Knoles




I find myself stuck in the city these days. (Yes I do know that is a song). All will be revealed some time soon. In the mean time, I just keep doing what I have always done. Sitting and writing about my surroundings. Sometimes a good story will just walk up and sit beside you. This would be one of those times. The view may be very different here in the city in comparison to the farm, but the stories can be just as interesting.

The chitter chatter at the local Tim Hortons was buzzing in my ears. It rang with bits and pieces of stories coming from the voices of strangers. I sipped my coffee with pen and paper in hand, trying to capture the sounds, their whispers, and the stories. This makes me an eavesdropper and I know that is wrong. Noise with a purpose, or noise without. My mind drifted while piecing these sounds together, like a tapestry in the making.

My pen flowed over the paper smoothly, then my thoughts were interrupted. “May I sit here” I looked up to see an older man with a huge smile. “Yes, of course”. I noticed the building was now full of coffee sippers, and muffin eaters, making me wonder how long I had my head buried in this page. I finished writing the sentence, the one swirling around in my head, while he sat his coffee and muffin on the table beside me. “My name is George” with a thick Scottish accent. “I am Grace” with a no doubt farm girl accent, at least that was what I thought. “Nice to meet you” we both said that together, I love when that happens.

George was not a shy man, and I must not be either, so it was easy to fall into those conversations of life. George told a joke and I laughed out loud, then I smiled knowing this was going to be interesting. I put my journal away. George asked me where I was from. I told him where, and shared that I was a farm girl. He was happy to hear that, and then jumped into stories about farming in Scotland and the landscape. Turns out some of the names of small towns and villages were borrowed and used as names for towns around here, fascinating. I asked George the same thing that he had asked me. “Where are you from George”. His answer shocked me, and I have to tell you why.


You see, George had a beautiful thick Scottish accent and I had assumed that he would answer from Scotland. The city of Hamilton is full of people coming from all over the world to live in this beautiful country. This is the reason I love visiting here, I always meet the nicest people and hear about their lives and cultures. It is easy to start conversations with people if you are open. These are the free gifts in life. I was right, George was indeed born and raised in Edinburgh Scotland, but when I asked how long he had lived here in Hamilton, it was that answer that shocked me.

“Since 1967.” I was fascinated, that his accent had stuck while he lived and worked here, for 48 years. Oh isn’t that the best thing you ever heard? I could have listened to George and his accent telling jokes and stories all day. He described the beauty and landscape of Scotland and I hung on every word. The only landscape I had known about Scotland was while watching the movie Braveheart with Mel Gibson. It was very pretty but shockingly gruesome at the same time. It was nothing like the way George had described it. George and his wife lived here in Hamilton and had raised a family. He was excited while talking about grandchildren, his children and his beautiful wife. Now retired, George spent his days bowling, and obviously visiting Tim Hortons and talking to the ladies. (OK you know I added that part.) I enjoyed every story George had shared, and am so happy his accent did not remain back in his birthplace.


Today, while once again sipping my coffee, and listening to the different mix of sounds and accents in the Tim Hortons on the corner reminds me of how very lucky we are to live in Canada.

To live in a country, where people can freely sit in coffee shops, talking about whatever they want, sharing their world. All of us, from different environments, back rounds and countries, side-by-side sipping coffee, and eating those muffins. Sharing their world with others. Be that the world they now live and love, or the one they left and still love.

Thanks George.

Later










31 comments:

  1. I am guessing that George moved as an adult. Some accents do seem to linger don't they? My father's Germanic accent mostly disappeared - except when he was tired, upset or angry...
    And hooray for a country where people can mingle freely. Sharing their similarities, appeciating the differences...

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  2. Wonderful post of your chance meeting with George the Scotsman. I love listening to accents (like Johnny Reid, the Scots Canadian singer) and could sit and listen all day. A good friend of ours is from England and has been in Canada since the early 1970's and still has his accent! It's faded a bit but its still noticeable and I love the funny terms he has for things. A lot of our towns and cities in the Maritimes are English and Scottish in origin. Even my community where we live is an English one that we visited once! Enjoy your city stay. You'll have lots of stories to share. :) Hugs. Pam

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  3. Everything to enjoy in your post . . I always enjoy how you find the story in your adventures . . . of course, you had me at "George."
    (giggle)
    -g-

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  4. I am never disappointed when I visit.

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  5. Lovely piece. You know I have made friends in Timmies and that I have a lot of love for them! It is amazing - you never know who you will meet in this city!

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  6. sounds like a delightful man. i hope all is well with you and yours.

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  7. I know I've baffled everybody with my deucedly clever pseudonym of Geo., but I too am a George and can recommend the company of Georges generally. Great post!

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  8. Sounds like a great meeting between two people sharing a table. I like it when that happens out of the blue. My late mother in law still had her Scottish accent after many years of living in Canada.

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  9. What a nice encounter with George. I can agree with the beauty of Scotland landscape. I visited my oldest daughter in Scotland and loved the beauty of the green fields with stone fences and the rolling hills and famous historical sites. I want to go back.
    A great post again.
    Hugs,
    JB

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  10. How pleasant . . . Maybe George will stop by Tim Horton's for another cup of coffee and a muffin and you can visit again . . .

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  11. I've heard that a Scottish accent is the hardest to lose, even people living here in Australia since they were children still can be identified as Scottish by birth.

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  12. I think you're one of those people who truly listens to people and they respond in kind by telling their stories. Our world needs listeners who will tell the stories of the tellers with compassion, otherwise how would we hear ( Listener ) ?

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  13. I do like the Scottish accent...Hugs M xox

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  14. That was a wonderful tale. And it is only eavesdropping if you intend to do something disrespectful with it. Otherwise, it is just immersing yourself in the world around you.

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  15. Sounds like a character!
    We do not have Tim Horton's here, but I did go through a drive thru of one once on my way back from Ohio.

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  16. Souds like quite a guy. And you are a wonderful writer, my dear Buttons. I loved that a story can come up and sit next to you. Oe should pay attention to such things.

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  17. It's these encounters that make the day!

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  18. Isn't it amazing how comfortable people are with just joining a complete stranger for coffee? We are indeed blessed that we can meet so many interesting folks. Keep writing about your adventures in the city. Hugs.

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  19. Hi Buttons - What a great post! Sharing stories with strangers is one of the things I love about traveling. It is such a great way to learn about different cultures. I like trying to guess where different accents are from too. Even though we lived in England, I sometimes have trouble distinguishing between English, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh. But don't tell George!! :) I've been told more than once that I have an American accent now. Good luck with that waiting game. Should be soon!

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  20. What a lovely story! I always wonder what I sound to people who aren't from the states. xoxo

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  21. B, coffee shops are such great places to meet people and have conversations. They only last a minute, sometimes longer, and then these people are gone from your life, but the intersections are often memorable, as in this case. We do live in a wonderfully diverse country and it's great to hear the stories of natives and immigrants alike.

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  22. A wonderful encounter, B and love that you can meet people from all over the world in your beautiful country. I still have my Boston accent.....43 years after leaving. You never forget your roots. xo

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  23. I'm sure George found you as delightful and interesting as you did him!

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  24. What a lovely story. I love going to coffee shops. It sounds like you and George were meant to meet. I wouldn't judge Scottish people from that Mel Gibson movie!!!! Lol!

    Cindy Bee

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  25. B,

    Accents from England,Scotland, and Australia always fascinate me. I just love listening to people talk with accents.
    What a beautiful story you wrote about your meeting with George. May you meet again!

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  26. If I could have an accent of my choice, it would be Scottish. It is so warm and burry and wonderful. What a nice encounter!

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  27. Oh, this is a great post...I often think how lucky we are to be able to live as we live...think and talk to anyone we choose and meet some of the nicest people.

    I have to tell you this...the people I used to work with had a daughter that traveled in Europe...I think she was visiting Switzerland. She got on a bus or train, and sat down beside a guy...he happed to be from the USA....he asked her where she was from...she told him Indiana...well, where, he wanted to know cause he was from Indiana, too...she told him, oh you wouldn't know it, it is small. But he kept on till she told him the name of the 'town'--actually their mailing address as she was a farm girl. It turns the guy was from there, too! What are the chances of that....

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  28. My grandmother was born in England and moved to Canada at the age of 18. She never lost her accent. I still pronounce tomatoes, tomatos after years of hearing her accent.

    Gosh, you've been a long time in the city...no arrival yet?

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  29. Grace girl that was a wonderful conversation no doubt .. I have a weakness for those accents, both Scottish and Irish ..
    I am sorry to say I am very shy and it takes a lot for me to dive into a conversation with a stranger but some times the magic happens as with you and it does and it is a rich experience.
    Take care and keep writing !
    Joy : )

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The mind grows by what it feeds on. J.G. Holland

Thank you so much for your comments, they mean more to me then I could ever express. Hug B

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