A thought provoking trip

Published 5:07 pm Tuesday, August 9, 2016

It was the late, great Yogi Berra who said, “You can observe a lot by just watching.” I know many people who like to simply watch other people. My Dad, in previous years and better health, when going to a mall, instead of trying to keep up with my Mother and her shopping, would find a bench in the common areas and watch the people go by.

Last week in Toronto, I didn’t find a bench and watch the people walk by. The purpose of the trip was to enjoy the wedding of my nephew and to see my daughter, her husband, and my grandson. But I did observe.

Since I get up much earlier than the rest of the crowd, I would walk down the street to Starbucks Coffee and begin my morning with a cup of coffee and my laptop computer. I would read about the goings-on in our country and, also, keep up with my Georgia Bulldogs as they began practice for the upcoming season.

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I sat in silence, reading, but also watching. I was impressed with Toronto. All of you know about southern hospitality and, naturally, associate it with our region of the United States. It’s possible that other places and countries are just as friendly.

For instance, I don’t believe I received a cup of coffee without being addressed as “Sweetheart” or “Darling.” I don’t know why and I don’t know if everyone is addressed in that manner, but I was, and it seemed genuine.

Also, we had many events around the wedding that called for being served by waiters and waitresses. And there was the staff at the hotel. There was a universal attitude of friendliness. I don’t believe I encountered anyone who did not seem happy to be working at their job and willing to help during our stay.

All of that good and genuine service led me to think. Is our country really as friendly as we like to think? I realize that I was involved only with people whose jobs depend upon smiles and service, but I was provoked to think about the attitudes of the people of the United States.

There was a time when the world looked upon our country as the greatest, most prosperous, even happiest place in all of the world. Does that attitude remain? I’m just thinking, but being around the friendly people of Toronto made me look at our country’s contentiousness.

What is contentiousness? The word means an attitude of being at odds, not being satisfied, always looking for an argument. I’m sure there are arguments in Toronto. I’m sure there are people who are not satisfied. It’s just that I did not encounter them and it got me to thinking.

On a lighter note, I observed another thing. I went to a food court to eat lunch more than one of the days. I simply did not care to pay the hotel restaurant $16 dollars for a cheeseburger!

So I went to a food court and had the choice of all sorts of fast food. The city is quite diverse and I saw many more people of color than I did white people. The food court was representative of other cultures and different from an American mall food court. Except for one thing.

Of all the restaurants in the food court, which one had the longest line? McDonalds! No, I did not get a Big Mac. I did not go all the way to Toronto to eat a McDonald’s hamburger. But, it did provoke another thought.

Chik-fil-A would make a killing!