Huddington Church. Worcestershire, England
It is an annual event, hosted generously by one family or individual, when members of St Ann's Church who live in New York City meet simply for the sake of enjoying each other's company - something we are very good at doing. Dear friends all, and great, gifted and entertaining people - each in their own way, character and profession. We met this evening at the Fifth Avenue apartment home of Mark and Elizabeth, and talked away for an hour and more.
Of course I wanted to be there, and so caught the 3.00 pm Hampton Jitney from Bridgehampton, which was a pleasant and busy journey. Busy? Yes! Thanks to the marvels of WiFi (Starbucks please take note) I spend the first half of the journey to Manhattan live-chatting with friends in The Ukraine and London, and left messages for others in the UK, Hong Kong, and various parts of the USA. Then I had a lovely conversation with my seat-mate, who was a woman who had visited her five grandchildren in East Hampton and was returning to France via JFK airport.
For reasons with which I shall not bore you, I missed my scheduled return Jitney, and so had an hour's wait for the next coach. Time to strike out (in the British sense of the phrase) and be adventurous. Find a bar. Relax and wait. And that I did. Now the bar in question was not the sort of place I would usually queue up to visit. Or even visit at all. This place at 3rd and 92nd had a certain Mexican name, and boasted six huge TV screens in a line, all showing different sports. Not quite my cup of tea, so I sipped a small libation and concentrated on my PDA for a few minutes.
The woman who had served me returned and asked, "You're British, aren't you?" This alerted me, because most Americans would say "English." (And, of course, to them we're all from London.) I said yes, and in the next few sentences I mentioned that I grew up outside of Worcester, in the Midlands. "Really?" Came her response. And it was clear that she was pursuing the conversation as other customers were waiting. "My mother grew up in a small place called Huddington. Ever heard of it?"
Now, when I told her that my father had been the Rector of Huddington with Himbleton (the neighbouring village) through the 1960s she simply gasped. "But my mother used to go to that church now and then." I had to rush for my bus, else I would have stayed for much more talk and exchange of information, and maybe one more drink - but I simply had to leave.
Quite remarkable! My friend Gay Snow, who I meet at least twice a week shopping in King Kullen, described this sort of encounter as "Jewish Geography!" I now believe her. Incredible! And thank you, Jayne, for buying me my drink!