These come from the archives (originally posted on May 29th, 2006) and are some of my favorite tourist quotes:
The first few come from three generations of Mississippi belles:
Thirteen-year-old: "One should always use a straw when drinking Coke, because it's unladylike to tip your glass."
Thirty-eight-year-old: "So if your wife tells you that she thinks she has a cricket in her ear, then you best believe her, cuz she probably does!"
Sixty-six-year-old: "Old Miss might not be the smartest campus, but it's the beautifullest."
And from an Orange County twelve-year-old (relieved to be on a warm bus, running her fingertips over her cheeks and forehead): "It's so cold out there, I feel like I just had Botox."
A young Georgian presented a point to ponder when she asked from the back of the bus, "Why do people always gots to be dyin' before the good stuff?" At first, I had no idea what in the world she was talking about, but then thought back over some of my commentary. There was Edgar Allen Poe who died in the gutters of Baltimore unaware of his literary legacy. There was Emma Lazarus who was never able to see the Statue of Liberty with which her poem, The New Colossus, is eternally associated--returning from Europe, she was too sick to be brought on deck and died two months later. There was also the story I told at Ellis Island about Christina Jansen who, just days away from reuniting with her fiance after three years, died on her third trans-Atlantic voyage. Finally, what prompted the outburst on the bus, was the information that though U.S. Grant was able to complete his memoirs while battling throat cancer, he died before they were published. Hers was, in fact, a valid question that has stuck with me: At least in my stories, why do people always gots to be dyin' before the good stuff?
A mother from Minnesota came to New York in March with her oldest son, leaving behind five-year-old twins. Knowing how disappointed they'd be that she was flying on an airplane and sightseeing in New York without them, she had kept her destination a secret, telling them that she had to go somewhere with their brother "for school." The day before she left, she took the twins to a dollar store and bought them each a stuffed animal. "Now whenever you miss mommy, you just hug the monkey." On the second night of the trip, her husband informed her that while one of the twins missed her very much, was sleeping in her robe with his stuffed animal, the other had unfortunately learned the truth. "I know where you are," said the five-year-old when given the phone. "And I'm not hugging the monkey!"