Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Jim Galloway, woodworker

We walked into his woodworking shop and he lifted his earphones from his head and said, "Good afternoon." We said, "Good afternoon," and I said, "What a wonderful place this is." He thanked me and asked if I came from England, and when I said yes, he said "but not all of you." "No," I said, "that is quite right because I am half Russian." "White Russian?" he asked and I said, "Yes."

Now, how does a man who works in Brooklyn, lives in Queens, (his family have been there for two hundred years) and who has never left the United States, recognize an English accent that is archaic enough to be in a museum, and then detect something about me that suggests that I am not entirely English. I did not ask, and he did not tell me. He did, however, tell me of a girl who worked at the bakery next door, who had a double headed eagle tattooed on her shoulder and said she was a Romanov (have to follow that up). He was also able to relate accurately the battle that took place between the American and British forces around Brooklyn and Fort Washington, as described by James Fenimore Cooper in "The Spy." I had introduced the subject and described the action inaccurately. Later I reread the passage in the book and he was right down to the last detail.

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