Frequent readers of my site are familiar with my visits to Panera (a local bakery/coffee shop/specialty sandwich shop). I’ve noticed that on the weekends, get a little coffee and a bagel in me and I wax poetic.
Actually, what happens is that while I’m at Panera, life slows down for a few minutes and I can watch the people slip past me like bits of flotsam in a woodland stream. I watch their expressions, their stances. Written across their faces you can see their doubts, their concerns, their joys, triumphs, and mistakes.
It has now become an almost weekly journey to visit my local Panera as I have now become addicted to their raspberry cream cheese on my chocolate chip bagel – I know, it’s not exactly the most healthy breakfast, but it’s got to be better than nothing.
But this isn’t what I wanted to comment on. For the past three weeks, I’ve had the same woman wait on me. She’s a sweet woman with a pleasant smile even they are extremely busy. But what strikes me is her wonderful accent. I’m not sure where she’s from, possibly England, but I could be way off.
The accent stands out because most accents where I live are varying degrees of a Southern drawl. I love her accent because it’s clean and lovely; a caress of the English language. I love her accent because despite the fact that she now finds herself in this small town in Northern Kentucky, she’s carries with her a part of her past to share with the world.
When we travel or move, we can change our name, our appearance, and even lie about our past, but an accent can be so much harder to shed. It’s ingrained into our brains as if it were burned into our tongues. I’ve worked hard to get rid of my southern accent with mixed results. In most circumstances, my accent is slight, not extremely noticeable. Yet, when I lose my temper, the accent comes screaming back as I’m no longer consciously working to mute it. An accent can be very much a part of who we are, no matter how hard we try to change it.