My client contact here, Kevin, invited me to an inauguration party at a friend’s house in Newbury. Newbury is about 55 miles west of London, and perhaps 15 miles west of the office location. He told me the theme was, “dress like an American.” I found all this a bit hard to believe, but I went along. After work, Kevin and his wife Allison took me to dinner and then to their house so they could stop to dress like Americans. Kevin came out with a Hawaiian shirt, sunglasses, shorts and a baseball cap, and Allison with a complete cowgirl look with boots, denim jacket and cowboy hat. I was starting to believe.
John and Caroline’s Georgian home was actually appointed with period furnishings. We were greeted by John, a former American who was dressed as Abe Lincoln. The lively group included another cowgirl, a football player, an airline pilot, a U.S. Marine (worn by another former American who last wore the uniform 24 years ago), a native American Indian and Joe the Plummer, among others. I believe I was the only one not “dressed like an American.” On the other hand, everyone kept telling me that I was fine because I was “authentic.”
We all laughed at the George Bush sayings posted all over. There were also American quiz questions – I think I got them all correct. The hostess explained the various American foods: celery and American Peanut Butter, cornbread muffins, Oreos, chocolate chip cookies, etc.
Then the place became quiet as we watched the speech. I think it was every bit as moving to the Brits as it was to me. Of course afterwards the party got loud again, but then it was time to say goodbye.