Divided by a Common Language – –

Jack sprints over the line with his Wednesday guest post – –

It may have been when we were traveling all over the country promoting Wendy’s book about our bookstore that we drove up through Ohio and decided to visit her aunt. We knew that we needed to turn left off the main road just after a railroad crossing but didn’t realize that were two of these fairly close. We took the wrong one and got lost!

Shortly after that a police car drew up and Wendy sent me over to talk to him. As soon as he heard my voice he said his name was Livingston and I said that’s a town in Scotland. We got into a conversation about where his folks might have originated. He got on the phone to his office and quickly established where Wendy’s aunt Lelah’s house was. Then he put his flashing lights on and conducted us right to her door.

A couple of years later we were booked for a festival in West Virginia but I didn’t realize as we left early in the morning to head into Kentucky for another gig that the speed limits were different. I was driving and Wendy was dozing as I noticed flashing lights behind. Should I stop, I asked her? We were driving the car we owned and left for us to use when in the US that was legally registered by her parents, but my driver license was British.

At that time a British driver license was a very large piece of pink paper folded up into a small space.

I’m sure you can imagine the conversation that started with – keep your hands on the wheel – –

As I moved from keeping my hands on the wheel to gripping it ever more tightly he was trying to make sense of someone with a British license driving a car with Tennessee plates speeding in Kentucky and with no photo ID! Wendy eventually had to start interpreting and translating. The cop headed back to his car shaking his head.

After quite a long time he came back, carefully folded my license and said this is far too much trouble, but remember it’s 65 in Kentucky!

It can sometimes be helpful to have a Scottish accent and other times not so much.

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