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Across the Ocean

5. A Planned Mistake

 

When they arrived in Scotland, everything went smoothly in the airport. Grandpa got the rental vehicle. Everybody packed the vehicle and hopped in.

 

As Grandpa was driving to the castle, he told the family that he decided to arrive on Tuesday. He said this was a good day to arrive because there were no public activities at the castle on this day. It would be much easier for them to arrive without a lot of extra people wandering around.

 

Grandpa also had a special surprise for the family.

 

The last time that Grandpa came to this castle he was with his wife on their anniversary trip. That time he really didn’t know where he was going. The GPS in the car said that they were to turn on a small street to get to the castle. But as usual, the GPS was a little bit out-of-date. This was the old entrance. A few years before, they added a new entrance coming directly off of the main road.

 

Grandpa still remembered the old entrance. Instead of going in the new entrance, he purposefully went in the old entrance. He wanted to drive down the small street and show the kids the houses that were next to the castle. Usually these were houses for the people who helped take care of the castle.

 

As they were driving down the street very slowly, and Grandpa was talking to them about these houses, and who lived in them, an elderly man came out of one of the houses and greeted them.

 

As Grandpa got a good look at the man who came out of the house, a memory from many years ago popped back into his mind. Grandpa knew who this was. He wasn’t really expecting to see him again, but this was going to be exciting.

 

Grandpa stopped the car and rolled down his window.

 

Grandpa said, “Sir, I’m sorry to disturb you. I guess I must’ve gone in the wrong entrance, again.”

 

The elderly man was very friendly, and not upset at all. He said, “That’s OK, I love to see visitors.“

 

Grandpa said, “My Lord, it is a great pleasure to meet you, sir. May I introduce my guests to you?“

 

The elderly man was very pleasantly surprised, “I see you brought some different people with you this time. Was your wife not able to come with you?“

 

The whole Lewis family was absolutely amazed at this interaction. Why was Grandpa calling him ‘My Lord’? Why didn’t the man correct him?”

 

Grandpa said, “Since the last time I was here, my wife died. I was very lonely until I met this family. They call me ‘Grandpa’, but I’m not really their grandpa.”

 

Then, Larry just couldn’t keep from talking. He said, “Sir, are you really the Earl?”

 

The elderly man said, “Yes, your grandpa does recognize me. I am enjoying living here. My son is doing an excellent job of taking care of the castle.“

 

Mr. Lewis said, “My Lord, I would not have allowed Grandpa to inconvenience you if I knew this was going to happen. Please accept our apologies.”

 

The elderly man said, “It is no inconvenience to me at all. Your grandpa knew that. He is a very respectable man.“

 

Then the elderly man addressed Grandpa, “I am so sorry that you lost your wife. I didn’t know her very well, but she seemed to be a very precious woman. And I know she must’ve been, if she married you.“

 

The whole time, Mrs. Lewis was totally beside herself. She couldn’t believe that they actually were talking to the Earl. And Grandpa set the whole thing up.

 

The elderly man saw Mrs. Lewis in the backseat. He said, “And who is this lovely lady you have with you? She must be your wife, sir.“

 

Mr. Lewis said, “Yes, she is. She is definitely a precious wife to me, and a wonderful mother to our children.”

 

Mrs. Lewis said, “My Lord, it truly is an honor to meet you.”

 

The elderly man said, “So, Grandpa, if I can call you that. It appears that your newly adopted family has been well briefed. I feel extremely honored that you all have called me by my formal title, even though it’s not necessary.“

 

Grandpa said, “I would not come to your country, unless I knew the proper way of addressing those who are in positions of authority here.“

 

The elderly man said, “Your daughter also understands protocol extremely well. She has not interrupted us while we were having our discussion. How are you, my young lady?”

 

Lisa said, “It is just a great honor to be in your presence. I didn’t need to say anything. However, My Lord, we appreciate being able to come here to see your castle.“

 

Grandpa said, “We came here on the day that the castle wasn’t open to the public, so that we would have a little bit of time to ourselves. It appears meeting you is a huge bonus.

 

The elderly man said, “Indeed, you do have some interesting ways of expressing things in the United States. Thank you all for coming by.”

 

Then, as the elderly man was walking away, he turned around and said, “I’m sorry, but you’re not going to be able to continue down this road. You must turn around and back out to the main road, and come in the main entrance.“

 

Grandpa said, “I understand. I want to follow the rules. Have a nice day, Sir, and we hope to be able to see your son, if he’s not too busy.“

 

As they were driving back down to the main road, Grandpa said, “When we get into the castle parking lot, we will bring our things into the place where we will be staying. After that, we will be able to walk around the outside of the castle. You’re going to love what’s out there.“

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