Today is Wednesday and, as usual, my husband had a half day of work. While he worked the morning away, I got into some unexpected mischief – then we both got into another kind of mischief together when he came home.
I was playing games this morning to pass the time until my husband got home. It’s “Badge Day” on the game site and you know I’m a sucker for those badges. They give me a goal to strive for while doing something relatively mindless. A lot of folks like to chat while they’re playing games. I usually don’t and I usually turn off the chat option. But when you work on a badge, they give you an update every time you make progress. I like the information, so when I work on a badge I usually turn the chat on, even if I don’t participate.
So there I was, playing a game and watching my progress when something in the chat caught my eye. There were a couple of people chatting in French. No problem – just interesting. Then one of the players got upset because the two were not chatting in English and actually had the audacity, once someone told her it was French, to tell the French speakers that if they’re going to come to America, they should learn to speak English. The tone of the comment was so arrogant and rude, I just couldn’t keep quiet. I made the reply that this is the “World Wide Web” and not everyone on any given website is in America (USA). Several others responded positively to my comment. So the complainer decided to report us – I’m scared, you bet. Tell the game site that I was defending the right of 2 Canadians to speak French to each other if they want to. I’m sure they’ll kick me off for doing that! Once we knew they were Canadian, I also informed the complainer that Canada actually had 2 official languages – English and French.
This incident bothered me in several ways.
First, how is it that so many Americans are so uninformed about the rest of the world? Especially in this day of the “World Wide Web.” So many people in this country forget that the rest of the world exists!
Second, it is easy to understand why so many people in other nations think Americans are uninformed and narrow-minded. We educate children about our history (at least we used to) and give them very little information about the rest of the world. I have come to appreciate the excellent geography teacher I had in junior high school. Not social studies! Geography. Climates, land forms and cultures. It really helps you understand the things going on in the world today. I have some grave concerns about the education most people in this country are getting, but that another story for another day. I will note that many other countries require students to pass 2 or more languages in order to graduate from school. And they don’t wait until high school to start teaching languages. A woman I worked with at a Girl Scout camp when I was in college had come from the Netherlands. She told me that they had to pass Dutch, English, French and German. Imagine making American kids work that hard!
Thirdly, while I thought this woman ignorant and thoughtless, I do agree that persons who come to live in this country need to work at learning English. They can certainly read and speak their native languages as well, but need to know English to be comfortable around the rest of us. I speak with a certain perspective here – my paternal grandparents were immigrants who spoke mostly Polish and very little English. It isolated them, even in a community that had a large Polish population. My maternal great-grandparents were similar, though they learned more English – and prospered because of it. One set came from French-speaking Canada; the other set from Sweden. (Yeah, I’m a “mutt”). Most immigrants of that period made an effort to learn the English language because it was a common thread that tied us all together, regardless of our country of origin.
Stepping down from my soap box . . . . .
The afternoon was calm in comparison to the morning. We decided to go for a drive to see how much the trees had started to change (the dry summer has caused a number of them to start changing color a bit early – not nearly as bright as usual, either).
We headed toward a restaurant that my in-laws had suggested to us. They told us about the store called Country Mischief and the restaurant called The Mischievous Chef. The store and restaurant, housed in historical buildings in Templeton, MA, are very … uh, eclectic. The lure was obvious. The store sells an assortment of antiques, collectibles, arts and crafts by local artisans and other just plain unique things. Didn’t get anything today, but since I’m sure we’ll visit again and the offerings change frequently, I suspect there’ll be a purchase in my future.
The Mischievous Chef restaurant was a delightful change of pace. It is furnished with items from the store. Nothing matches – the tables and chairs, lamps, dishes and flatware are all single pieces. And it works! It’s also all for sale. You like your dish, ask the price. Lots of early American and Primitives in the area. Since this was a house before, there are all small rooms with small tables. Most tables sat 4, a few sat 6, a small alcove sat 2. We sat near the fireplace, which had a fire that was slowing burning down.
Since the restaurant is open 8 AM to 3 PM Wednesday through Sunday, it was very quiet when we got there at 2:00. There were two other tables occupied. The music was, well, eclectic; mostly instrumental, country, pop, oldies (40’s, 50’s, 60’s). We were seated and waited on the the cook. They feature a small menu for breakfast and lunch. My husband had a Monte Cristo sandwich and fruit cup. It was made with French toast bread! He said it was delicious. I had a Caesar salad with grilled chicken and shell pasta. Absolutely delicious also! It came with a slice of whole grain, homemade garlic toast, quartered. After dinner, my husband opted for dessert. I had a decaf coffee in honor of my commitment to change my eating habits and just one bite of his Fudge Lava cake to quell my taste buds, which were begging my brain to cave in. But I’ve lost 3 pounds this week, so my resolve is still high. The food was all prepared specifically for us – no mass production or pre-prepared food. You could taste the difference. It was an incredibly lengthy, relaxed meal. We left with that mellow feeling you get after a really good meal.
I highly recommend this restaurant and store. If you’re looking for them, they are on Templeton Common in Templeton, MA in lovely old brick buildings. If you’re interested in more detailed information or directions, check out their website: www.countrymischief.com
Obviously we’re back home now, but that relaxed feeling is lingering through the evening. I should kick back in the recliner and finish the book I’ve been reading. After all, there’s been enough mischief in my life for today.