229. Breakfast in a foreign land
© Bruce Goodman 27 May 2014

The thing was, Riley was in a foreign land and staying with a family he’d never met before.

It was breakfast time, and courtesy demanded that, being the guest, he serve himself first. There were gigantic bowls that his mother would have used for mixing an entire pile of ingredients in. Do I take a bowl? thought Riley. And do I eat it with the spoon?

Then there was all that stuff there, all this pile of food that looked like bread, and worms, and sausage, and paste. What was he meant to do with it?

Riley took one of the large bowls and spooned in bits of the sausage and worm-looking stuff and paste. He took some bread and sat at the bench that appeared to be where they were to eat.

“Ol ot muw toxlim ur tivimlim yiert tomci o tew the qaim uf fremci, thim the deaphemit el virteossit,” said the husband-host.

Riley didn’t have a clue what was being said. He could hardly even say “hello” in the language.

“Tarisy mivir soghlid um thot urb – whoch thi herdsy tinid lu luach – e nuri disoghlfas votoum,” said the wife-host kindly.

The hosts followed suit, each taking a large bowl and spooning in bits of sausage and worm-looking stuff and paste. Each taking some bread and sitting at the bench with Riley. Ah! He’d got it right.

“O fortl tew hir jatl ebuvi the hurozum, dicurelomg and chiiromg the isivelid sphiri thi hed jatl bigam lu nuvi om,” said the boy-host.

“Gsolliromg soki the nurmomg tler – fass uf sofi and tpsimduar and juy,” said the girl-host.

Many years later, when Riley was fluent at the language and married to the daughter, how they laughed! Remember the time at breakfast when they all took mixing bowls and spooned in the scraps meant for the chickens; to prevent their guest from embarrassment. And the supermarket breakfast cereal and milk was just behind it on the shelf.

“Bal, uh, whel e rivusaloum!” said Riley. And they all hooted with laughter.

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