Mark D. Roberts

Mark D. Roberts

Happy Surprise on the Fourth of July

My wife and I were in London on July 4th, Independence Day for Americans. For the British, of course, July 4th represents the beginning of a losing war effort and the ultimate loss of the American colonies. So I was prepared to receive a cold shoulder from the folks in London that day.
At lunch, an American at a table next to us was complaining about his hotel. Each morning he had received a complimentary copy of USA Today. But on July 4th, nothing showed up on his doorstep. He called the front desk to complain, and was told by a man in a snooty voice, “We don’t distribute that paper on July 4th.” Our lunch mate seemed to think this was a serious comment. I couldn’t help but wonder if it had been said with typical dry British wit. Who knows? (Photo to the right: The Black Lion is just to the right of Cheqepoint.)
My wife and I had supper on July 4th at The Black Lion, a typical pub just to the north of Kensington Gardens. Before we entered the pub, I wondered if I’d end up getting punched by some American-hating Britisher who’d had too many pints of ale. But when we entered The Black Lion, we found an unexpected scene. The whole place was decorated for American Independence Day, complete with red, white, and blue balloons, American flags, a blow-up Statue of Liberty, and a large sign welcoming American visitors and congratulating us on the occasion of our national holiday. Wow! What a happy surprise on the Fourth of July!

  • Joshua

    I think the reason the man in the restaurant couldn’t find USA Today in England on the 4th of July is not that they are still annoyed about the American Revolution.
    USA Today doesn’t publish an edition in the U.S. on major holidays such as Independence Day, so the hotel had nothing to distribute. (Maybe the hotel clerk was making a comment with a double meaning — that there was no newspaper, and he woulddn’t want to distribute an American paper on the 4th of July anyway — but the lack of publication is a more innocent explanation.)

  • Larry Hendrick

    What a terrific story. I guess some wounds do heal with time.

  • Chris

    My brother’s pastor asked him if the UK had the 4th of July. My brother’s answer was “yes, but only once a year”

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