One of the best experiences of owning a bike shop in a beautiful place like Cambria that gets visitors from around the world is meeting these people and getting into conversations about their home, culture, and interests. You wouldn’t believe how many coincidences come out the more I talk with them. With my British and Swedish backgrounds there’s plenty of fodder to find connections.
One recent example is a couple that came in from the Visalia area. When I got to talking to them, I found out she was Swedish, which was obvious to me because of her accent, and he was coincidentally of English background. So of course I spoke to her about my Swedish background and my larger-than-life Grandfather Ernest Gustav Wingard (pronounced as Vingourd in Swedish, which ironically means vineyard. I guess that’s where I get my taste for wine) who was a mariner who sailed the seven seas on the last of the clipper ships. I then showed her a picture of a very special Swedish bread that I make every Christmastime, taught to me by my grandmother, called Cardamon bread. Cardamon is a Persian spice that was brought back to Sweden by the Vikings and adopted into their cooking. When she saw the picture of the braided loaves, she commented to me that if I were in her Swedish club that I could win their baking contest with my Cardamon bread, the problem however would be that I couldn’t join the club because I don’t speak Swedish! She was so moved though by the memories the Cardamon bread brought back to her that she almost came to tears. This is just one of many stories I could tell of in speaking with people from around the world.