Column: Friendships created at home and abroad

Farm Forum

We have traveled quite a bit over the last few years and find ourselves enlightened by the people we meet and become friends with. We have met lots of folks from foreign lands and are quite taken by their characteristics and their neighborliness. They are as eager to hear about us as we are about them. Sometimes the language barrier rears up, but through a little listening and paying close attention, we can usually communicate quite well.

It has been our pleasure to have met a lot of folks from Canada. For some reason, these neighbors to the north possess a quality that makes you seek them out and get them to talk about their homeland. They are some of the friendliest and most genuine folks we have ever met.

We have lived close by some Canadians over the past few years. Most Canadians are a happy lot. Their outlook on life is contagious, and you find yourself enjoying being in their presence and come away sort of boosted up about the day ahead. These northerly neighbors enjoy having a good time and are always eager for a social gathering. They are humorous folks, always ready with a joke and always smiling and laughing. We are intrigued by their knowledge of their government and are always eager to share with us and compare the differences we have in governing. It is amazing the knowledge they have of our problems and attributes of how we are governed.

During our recent extended cruise, we dined each night at a table for eight, and our dining mates were all from Canada. Ian and Helen Cowie stand out. Ian and Helen are retired educators who immigrated to Ontario from Scotland decades ago, and because they were teachers, they had no trouble assimilating into the education field of Canada. Helen and Ian grew up and were educated in Scotland, and Mary Ann and I loved to hear them speak. Of course to them, we are the ones with the accent; however, their accent is so beautiful. Helen became a principal of a school. Ian used to own his own seaplane, and we spent many moments talking flying. To most old zoomies, the brotherhood of aviators is fast and ongoing wherever we might meet.

The other nationalities we have met are numerous. For example, we have met many folks of German descent. Having spent time in Germany, we are so impressed with them as a people. They raised themselves out of a terrible war, were split as a country for so long, and when reunification finally came, they rebuilt the infrastructure of the East. They can be very proud of the way they put their country back together and the way it thrives as a democracy. They are a beautiful people with an upbeat society that’s an example of what good people can do when the chips are down and everything looks so bleak.

We cherish the friendships over the years of all these wonderful people.

’Nuff said.

Gerald “Jerry” Krueger is a retired educator, coach, commercial pilot and farmer. Write him at His column publishes Mondays.