Postcard from SALT LAKE CITY

Winter Olympics

Salt Lake City 2002

February 14, 2002|By Candus Thomson

The bus driver is a cheerful, middle-aged woman with a Texas drawl, greeting each groggy rider in the pre-dawn cold.

The bus is a shuttle on its way up the mountain to where the skiers and bobsledders do their thing. She begins whistling, "Yellow Rose of Texas." Bouncy. Loud. Off-key. Without end.

Finally, the passenger behind her, a large fellow of Germanic heritage, can stand it no longer. "Vat iss dat toon?" he demands.

"It's the `Yellow Rose of Texas,' darlin'," she drawls.

"Vat?" She repeats the title.

He snorts. "Dat iss de problem vit you Texas people. Alvays bragging. Nobody paints der roads yellow."

The rest of the ride is silent, a cultural gap left unbridged.

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