Monday, September 24, 2007

Jasper-bound aboard The Canadian

This morning on the VIA Rail dining car, I chose a seat

opposite a much older couple from Mississippi. They both stared at me blankly after I sat down, until I asked if they'd had a pleasant night's sleep.

"We're getting off at Jasper," he said by way of an answer. "Can't wait to sleep in a regular bed."

"Oh, well," I offered soothingly, "You can sleep in a regular bed the other 361 days of the year." He stared out the window then looked at me steadily.

"Do you know the difference between whiskey and beer?" he asked. I broke into a big grin and played along, glad for a bad joke. "No!" I answered, "What's the difference between whiskey and beer?"

"I don't know either," he said, "I think whiskey is distilled and beer is fermented, but I don't have a clue ~ don't touch the stuff."

"Wine is made from grapes," croaked his wife, who'd been silent up til this point. I looked at her, and Michelle tried to neutralize the bizarre conversation by suggesting that Canadian whiskey is made with rye.

The conversation petered out after that, and the Mississippi couple fairly bolted for the door once they'd finished their maple-nut ice cream.