Skip's story about the Beatles reminded me of one of my first experiences of American hospitality. I had won a freebie, a trip to the Lions international convention which, that year, was being held in Detroit and Windsor. (Detroit, as most Americans will know, is the one American city from which one travels south to cross the border into Canada.) Skip and GS were also at the convention. We had never met face to face but Skip and I had become electronically acquainted through a message board on the Internet.
Although the conference was not due to start until the Monday, I had travelled to Detroit on the Saturday, so Sunday was a free day. It so happens that GS had family in Detroit, namely her brother, he of the Beatles story. The Sunday was 4th July, and also the birthday of (I hope I've remembered this correctly) one of GS's nephews. The family was holding a barbecue to celebrate and, hearing that I would be at a loose end, they very kindly invited me along.
The family have formed a Celtic band, playing traditional Irish music, and we all had a great time.
I remember that one of the guests, Dan(?), had been in the Detroit police, holding a high position. He had spent some time in England on secondment to a Yorkshire police force and told me that on his return to Detroit he had mentioned to his colleagues that there had been 11 murders in the county. (There had been 5 in Detroit the night before we met.)
"Eleven in one night?" asked a colleague incredulously.
"No," he had replied. "In a year!"
He was quite convinced that the US gun laws didn't help, nor did the fact that US police are armed, unlike ours in the UK. As a guest, I felt it was not my place to make any comment.