Courteous non-native native

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Back in September, on a trip from Vermont to the Maine coast, we became slightly lost in your fair city. We stopped at the police department for directions.

Just after I arrived, another man came in behind me. He appeared to be of Mideastern origin, and wore what I would consider to be typical Mideastern clothing. His English was obviously not of Maine origin, but we talked together well enough, wondering if there was an officer around.

I thought I would ask this man if he could tell me where Route 196 was. He dropped whatever it was he was there for – must have been something important enough to bring him to the police station – and he insisted on accompanying me outside, pointing me in the right direction.

When he was satisfied that I knew how to get back on the trail to the coast, he said, “Good journey!” We then shook hands. Then we bowed to each other, and did all the little things you do in meeting and greeting in eastern cultures. We ended up laughing about him being a non-native native and I being a native non-native; at least that’s what I think we were laughing about.

I wanted you to know that you have in your fair city a gentleman who is courteous, helpful and kind, and who has a great sense of humor in the bargain! You are lucky to have him.

Dan Close, Underhill, Vt.

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