On a weekend camping trip near Palm Springs we stopped at a remote supermarket for supplies. Around the soup section, I discovered a real old-timer. His wrinkled face was red and rough, and his pushcart contained only two items: cranberry juice and Cape Cod potato chips.
“With your taste in food, you could be from Massachusetts,” I said.
“I’m from Buzzards Bay,” he shouted.
“Well,” I said, “I grew up in Buzzards Bay.”
“Well, I grew up in Attleboro,” he barked.
“Wow,” I said, “I was born in Attleboro,”
He growled, “Is this some game you young people play up in L.A.?”
“No,” I said.”Well, I got ya! I really grew up in North Attleboro.”
“Hey,” I exclaimed, “Clint Tingley was from North Attleboro.”
“You don’t know Clint Tingley!” he erupted.
“I certainly do.”
“Yeah,” he said. “What was unique about him?”
“He only had one arm,” I said.
“Ah,” he questioned, “which arm was missing?”
“How’d he lose it?”
“In a battle during World War II.”
“Where’d this battle take place?”
I thought, “My heavens, what will it take?” but calmly replied, “The south of France near Nice. Later, he married Sarah, they had three kids, he worked as a police officer, he loved fishing, and if you knew him well enough, you’d know he served a mighty potent homemade brew called ‘Clint’s Moosejuice.'”
“My God,” he whispered. “You do know Clint Tingley. You must be from Massachusetts.”
Excerpt from “Why New Englanders Are Famous for Being Warm and Friendly,” Yankee Magazine, July 1993.