Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What a Couple..!

When the phone rang I had expected to hear the voice of a bureaucrat from St. Stephen. Instead there was an older voice asking whether he could book a tour on our van. “Sure” I said, “meet you at the park.  The older couple came in the last 3 minutes, got on the van and off we went on an island excursion. Turned out they were from Iowa, which is a State we rarely see people from in this part of the country.

I had already guessed that they were farmers, but during the ongoing conversation I was enlightened that they had been teachers in East-Africa as well. So with other words, not the average Iowa farmer. I was prepared for the most.

And sure enough it also appeared that they had been traveling extensively through Europe with a VW-Bus, went all the way up to Norway and through Sweden.


But this farmer, Kevin was his name, had another surprise in store. They had already paid me my standard fee when he asked whether my wife and I would be so kind to be his guests for supper tonight. He intended to invite us out for dinner at one of our excellent local island restaurants.

I must have looked pretty perplexed, but finally stammered something about having to ask Bea first, which was absolutely not true. They left with a handshake and their hopes high to see us at 7pm at the restaurant.

Of course, Bea did not protest as she was suddenly facing a day without having to prepare dinner.

When it was time to leave we took the Convertible – it was such a lovely day.

Our hosts were awaiting us with longing eyes at the door step and we found a table in the corner. We all had fish or seafood and the conversation turned around a lot of funny stories, mostly originating in some agricultural setting, which was befitting for two couples who had both extensive experience in the art of producing food and getting into all kind of trouble.

Before the dinner was over Kevin served us an invitation to visit them in their home state IOWA. Their residence may be a bit out of our common route, but… who knows. All I know we might be in their driveway at one point.

When the waitress inquired about dessert we declined. Dessert was already scheduled to happen in our house with Bea’s home baked German-style plum-cake.

It became an evening where we poured over the map of IOWA with neighbouring States and talked about where we had been and where we would go.

They left after dark and headed for the campground. Tomorrow they will be leaving by way of ferry to discover the rest of the Maritimes.

But I have jumped over the beginning of our new acquaintance.
Kevin paid me with a 50-dollar bill and I had no change to give him. He looked into his purse once more and gave me an additional 10-dollar bill. Now I could give him 20 dollars back and we were quit.
That triggered Kevin to tell me the
Story of the two swords.
When Kevin was stationed in Africa as a teacher he once met two Massai-warriors. They both had swords they wanted to sell. Each sword’s price was 10 Shillings. Kevin bought one sword and paid the 10 Shillings to one of the warriors. But the other Massai warrior started to lament the fact that his sword had not been purchased and that he would have to go home without money. As the struggle between the two warriors became too much for Kevin he decided to also buy the other sword. But he did not have another 10 Shillings, so he took his 10 Shillings back and paid the two warriors with a 20 Shilling coin. As soon as he had handed over the money, the two warriors started to argue over it again. It appeared the reason for the fight was the question who would be allowed to carry the 20-Shilling coin. Again the struggle developed into a fight. In order to end this Kevin decided to give both swords back and take his 20 Shilling back as well. Immediately the fight was over and both warriors looked happy and together they went home.

Instead of doing something good Kevin had unknowingly contributed to a fight.

What I also did today
When I got home today Bea asked me whether I had read
Al’s OOPS –story. I had not at the time so she continued to tell that she had had an ‘OOPS’ experience of her own. When she had washed my white short-sleeved shirt I use for the driving job, she had noticed that something fell out of the shirt pocket and into the water -  my passport. Darn-darn-darn!  Remember we got spanking new passports last year?  Mine has turned into a floppy soft booklet where stamps have been erased into oblivion and laminated pages have been loosened from the covers.
DSC_0381-mi                           Suspended from the cloth line – my poor passport

Indeed, my passport was hung suspended from the cloth line with flips of white kitchen paper used as pampers neatly stuck between the pages and held together with a clamp. What a sight. I could have cried my eyes out.

This evening the passport was still of the floppy kind and I decided to take action. After all, I would need it tomorrow. I ignored Bea’s suggestion to put into the baking oven. I had no desire to let it burn!
Instead, I removed Bea’s hairdryer from the closet and gently blew warm air over the many pages. It took out some humidity, but it stayed floppy.

Next step was the electric iron. I put it on LOW and started to carefully press every page. After going through the entire passport several time I cranked up the heat. That helped a bit and the pages were getting back their usual crispness. The main problem which remained unchanged was that somehow the cover had changed it’s size, meaning the pages behind were now sticking out all around the covers, which really doesn’t look good. However, I was happy to see that my mug shot hadn’t turned into the ugly face of some seagoing pirate and that key-data were still readable. With that intact, I sure hope I can make a legal border crossing tomorrow.

You have a great Day!


  1. Funny about the passport. Well, not really. I imagine you were probably pretty frantic. What a story about your clients. You just never know when you're going to meet wonderful people. Glad you did.

  2. What an interesting post. Loved the stories about the farmer from Iowa and also HIS story about the warriors. Sure hope the passport dries out, but I am sorry, I had to laugh at the way you told the tale. Funny stuff.

  3. great post Peter!..what a lovely way to make new friends!..so sorry to hear about Bea's oops!!..hope it dries out so you can cross the border!

  4. Hope the border crossing goes without a hitch today. At least you could save it (mostly). When I washed Jim's cell phone it was a goner. I think you should maybe consider going through Iowa when you head south. Sound like wonderful folks.

  5. Always nice to meet new people no matter where you are.
    Hope your passport, passes the test.


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