This is a perfectly Grimsby day, I thought to myself the other morning as I looked out the window. Grimsby? Yes, and there is a tale to go with it.
Way back in my college days a friend and I took a bus from Pella, Iowa, where we were going to school to Lincoln, Neb., where we each had cousins in separate colleges. While on the bus we got to visiting with a couple, Mr. and Mrs. Clark, who had a decidedly British accent. As we conversed, they told us they came from Lincolnshire, England, and they were making a concerted effort to visit every town with Lincoln in its name. My friend and I were both planning on taking our junior year of college in Paris the following year and the couple gave us their contact information and invited us to visit.
This husband and wife traveled the world, taking their search on the road for many months of the year. Though accustomed to modes of travel other than buses, they took the road necessary to achieve their self-imposed goal.
Fast forward eight months. I was a student in Paris looking forward to a break when I could go do more traveling. I wrote to the Clarks and they were going to be home during my break so we made arrangements. I took the train to Lincoln, England, where they met me. Arriving just at sundown, they were adamant about getting me into the Lincoln Cathedral. It had closed for the day but just then the sexton walked around a corner, the Clarks called to him and asked if we could come in. They had my story a bit confused as they told him that I was from Lincoln in America and traveled all that way to visit the cathedral. That said, I got the tour of a lifetime because the outside lights that illuminated the gorgeous windows were on, giving an entirely different view than one would have in the daylight. The sexton told me I was one of very few who was allowed to enter after dark. The last person who had done so was an American astronaut. I don’t know if that was true or if he embellished, but it was a special and spectacular tour.
Grimsby, where the Clarks lived, is a town on the east coast a few miles from Lincoln. The British often name their homes with that name being part of their postal address. Clarks’ thatched cottage was called The Croft, with the name prominently featured on a door sign. Each morning while I was there Mrs. Clark knocked softly on my door as she had brought me hot tea to drink before arising, as was their custom. Being near the coast the mornings were extremely foggy and damp. That is when I decided that any day like that would be called a Grimsby day, even though they are quite rare here in western South Dakota. ❖
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