Some years ago, Amma and I spent a spring weekend with a Mennonite family in rural Pennsylvania. They took us to Sunday Mass at their church, where the pastor noticed the obvious visitors and made a special welcoming mention of us in his sermon. Later, he came over with a big smile, greeted us and chatted warmly.
Then, transparently genuine, he asked: "And when are you joining us?"
Didn't much bother us. But our hostess, a lady of 55 or so who had herself never been outside that part of Pennsylvania, was visibly flustered. She later apologized. "He's seen so little of the world!" she said.
That Sunday, I've always felt, Amma and I ran into a little essence of America.