Sometimes we just don’t notice the best parts of our own country.
Last night we were in a camp ground next to the Mississippi in Baton Rouge. I sat by the slow, majestic river at sunset, watching the lightning play in the clouds. There was a raucous swarm of hundreds of little black birds. The place was a horse place; and huge RVs were gathering for the big football game on the weekend.
We were approached by a cop in the campgrounds.
“Some folks said you looked like you was lost.”
“Well, we were – we couldn’t find the office!”
I don’t know if someone thought we were terrorists. Whatever. Once the possible terrorist threat was resolved, we got to chatting in the amiable way of folks round here.
“Where y’all from?”
When he found out we were headed across America, he asked if we’re going to the mountains.
“They’re real beautiful. ‘Course I’ve never been there myself…”
Next morning we’re in the outer light-industrial wastelands of Baton Rouge. Our mission: oil change. In the RV shop, I said “Hi” to the shopgirl.
“Where y’all from?” she said.
“Australia” (and incidentally, when I rang this same shop yesterday, the one who answered it picked me as Australian just from my accent. Kudos!)
“Oh, I just love Australia,” she said. “I really want to visit the Cathedral – It’s so beautiful, doncha think!”
“Umm… Which cathedral would that be?” I said. “There’s a few.”
“Why, Hillsong! Doncha know it?”
“Yes,” I said. “But I’ve never been there myself…”