You ain’t from around here, are ya?

This is a true story. Enjoy!

We were a motley crew of Presbyterians on a weeklong mission trip to build a wood-frame church in pre-best-place-in-the-world-to-scuba-dive Belize when the mysterious Englishman walked into the restaurant of the motel where we were staying. Despite our best efforts, the Englishman failed to acknowledge the Americans.

Undaunted, a few of us stepped outside to enjoy the sunset as well as devise a plan to engage the Englishman in conversation however brief. It was to be a challenge between friends. Let’s see who the Englishman will speak to first? Will it be the banker, the dentist, the pharmacist, the teacher, the pastor, the businessman, or the lawyer?

As we half-jokingly devised a plan of conversation starters, I spotted a Range Rover in the motel’s parking lot. It had to belong to the Englishman. As nonchalantly as possible, I walked over and began investigating. Who could the Englishman be? Was he a spy? (Of course not.) What were the gift wrapped packages on the backseat? Where was he going in the Range Rover?

“He’s the English Ambassador to Belize,” someone surmised.

“How do you know that?” I asked.

“Tony told me.”

Tony owned the motel, so this idea seemed plausible.

After awhile, some had all but given up on our silly little game, and tired after a day of hard labor, headed to the comfort of their rooms for a good night’s sleep.

But not me. I would see the game through to the end.

And that’s when I observed the Englishman just as he exited the restaurant bump into Mr. Good Old Boy, who became the unwitting winner of our challenge with the classic conversation starter, “You ain’t from around here, are ya?”

I quietly observed with a smile in my heart as two men with little more in common than their proximity to the beauty of the sun setting over a bay in Belize engaged in conversation.

It was a sight to behold.

Correction: My husband reminded me this trip involved the building of a medical clinic rather than the church. That is another story.



About barbarawmadden

I began teaching in 1981, but after a few years decided staying home with my children was what was best for my family. After almost 20 years raising four children, I returned to the classroom in 2005.

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