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His Australian bur was thick, but I tapped and whispered along with the song from the 80s that I knew so well.

Traveling in a fried out combie, the voice poured with familiarity. On a hippie trail, head full of zombie. I met a strange lady, she made me nervous. She took me in and gave me breakfast. And she said…

“Is he speaking English?” shot the interrupting opinion of the seven-year-old seated directly behind me. “I just can’t understand a word this guy is saying.”

“I think he met someone and now they’re eating breakfast,” Madeline encouraged and turned the page of her Harry Potter book.

“No, they’re not,” Evelyn protested. “I think he said he has a javelin, and I’m pretty sure he’s going to stab a zombie with it.”

“That isn’t what he said,” Madeline called from behind the blinkered younger. “He was traveling and he met a lady and now they’re eating breakfast.”

“Whatever, Madeline,” the little sister protested. “You don’t know.”

“Yes, I do.”

“No. You don’t”

“Yes, I do. I heard him.”

“No, you don’t, and do you want to know why?”


“Because he’s not speaking English and you don’t know any other languages.”

“You’re ridiculous, Evelyn,” Madeline huffed and went back to reading her book. “And yes, I do know another language. I know some German. And I can count in German.”

“Wow, Maddy,” Evelyn said with an instigating draw. “Maybe he’ll start counting while he’s stabbing the zombie and you’ll understand him.”

“Whatever,” Maddy said and concluded her participation in the duel.

She sure does put up with a lot. But not to worry. I came to her defense and told Evelyn that indeed the words were English, and while some of them were difficult to understand because of his Australian accent, her sister was right. I started the song again and spoke the lyrics in stride with the lead singer.

“Now, Evelyn, what do you think you should do?” I asked and glanced through the rearview mirror.

“I should learn to speak Australian so that I can understand these guys,” she said without missing her own mark.

“No, Evelyn. You need to apologize to your sister.”

“Sorry, Maddy,” came a near-silent whine.

“Are you speaking English,” I prodded, “because I can’t understand a word you are saying?”

“Sorry, Maddy,” came the same words, still whiny, but with a little more volume.

“That’s okay,” I heard Madeline say.

Like I said, she sure puts up with a lot from her little sister. But on the other hand, they are more often allies than enemies when it comes to actual sibling warfare. It just so happens that they were having a linguistic border dispute on the way to school, and in the end, it was easily remedied.

I can only imagine what Evelyn might say if she ran into a Canadian. The differences between Canadian English and American English aren’t vast, but there are enough pronunciation variants at work to keep our borders securely in place. The first time someone says aboot instead of about, I can pretty much guarantee that she’ll notice it, and that she will fall into a stare, being very careful to watch the speaker’s lips to see if he’s being intentional in his misarticulating.

Silly girl. And yet, I think these observant qualities suggest that she might just be the one to take over AngelsPortion when I eventually lose what’s left of my feeble eyes and mind and am unable to carry on. Who knows? She certainly is strange enough to do it. And even if she never gets over her grammatical prejudices, I’m sure she’ll be able to press through and enjoy the other aspects of nearby English-speaking cultures. I was able to do it, and so, here I sit enjoying another fine Canadian dram from the good folks at J.P. Wiser’s. This time, it’s the Union 52, and it is a beauty.

The nose is most definitely the woodiness of the barrel. And I liked it. It wasn’t off-putting, but instead, it was really rather inviting in the sense that you are suspecting some really great things were kept in that barrel—things like fresh fruit soaked in spiced rum.

The palate suggests that the soaked fruit may have been oranges, and the booze wasn’t spiced rum, but was actually an edition of Glenmorangie Scotch Whisky. My guess—Finealta, or maybe Astar. The spice is merely a sprinkling of singed nutmeg. This carries one seamlessly into a medium finish of unctuous sweetness.

This is a delightful dram, full of flavor (or flavour for my Canadian friends). You need to know that it’s certainly far better that a two-four on the chesterfield after a long day of waiting in line at the pogie wicket. Sheesh. After all that, it is aboot time you took a break, eh?

Dude, are you speaking English, because I can’t understand a word you are saying?