I’m writing a book so I know I’m not alone. It’s a memoir of Dundee and life as a Teacher. Now chapter sixteen in this book is probably a bit lonely however. Because instead of nestling between chapters fifteen and seventeen in strict chronological order it’s the prologue. Right at the start! As to why blame Monty Python and allow me this small bit of back story.
It’s October 1993 in Florida. First time across the pond for me and my Dundee girl. And our girls. Our mission which we have accepted is more than possible – to catch the Mouse! Having declared we’re not importing eggs and were not in Germany nor Russia before we were born we’re allowed in. Proceed directly to car hire depot where guy in front of us slams a brand new Dodge into the butt of the car in front. Don’t know if he was deported or not.
We meanwhile head out on the Highway the Freeway the Parkway the Beltway the Interstate the dirt road and the forecourts of several motels and eventually reach our destination. And now Houston we have a problem. Because opposite our motel is a huge factory outlet store the likes of which the girls have not seen in Dundee Scotland (there is a Dundee in Florida but we’re from the original).
Round we go and at the checkout I of course produce my plastic. While I’m waiting I hear the broadest Glasgow accent I’ve ever heard and I’ve heard many. It seems to be coming from this big Asian guy behind the till behind whom is a Pakistani flag and a photo of people playing cricket!
‘Where are you from?’ I ask.
‘Glasgow? And you?’
‘Dundee? Dundee? I used to stay in Dundee. Smith Street off Clepington Road. Here do you know my neighbours Pete and Kate Reilly?’
Unbelievable but not. First time in the USA with three hundred million people and six thousand miles away I meet a guy from Glasgow/Dundee or round the corner who knows a couple I was at school with. I wonder if I’m having a paranormal experience. Credit card bill appears to support this theory. But you gotta pay what you gotta pay.
‘Give my love to Dundee’ he says as we exit. Outside I find a wall. It breaks my fall. Dundee mes amis is the sort of place which never leaves you. Wherever you go. A good education you might say.