Cheeseburger Upon Avon

Copyright - Jennifer Pendergast

Copyright – Jennifer Pendergast

“A cheeseburger with fries and a lemonade, please,” I said. I passed the pounds over the counter and waited. Once everyone had their food, we picnicked in the shade of an old tree.

I ate only to appear to be eating. I wanted a taste of home, but I didn’t get a taste of home. I got something altogether not American, and the fact that I was surprised pegged me American even more than my white socks, accent notwithstanding.

It was then the trip turned. It was no longer about finding commonality, but the exceptional.

I returned a year later.


100 words. Feedback appreciated.

True story. It happened in England, specifically Stratford-upon-Avon. The cheese on the burger was a couple of strands of shredded cheese, the fries were chips because chips are fries, and the lemonade was Sprite, but after my failed lunch I went to a Royal Shakespeare Company intermission-free performance of Macbeth and then met back up with my group at Shakespeare’s grave, so life did not suck.


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What story comes to mind when you see that picture? Join inFriday Fictioneers is a weekly blog link-up based on a photo prompt. The Challenge – write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle, and end. (No one will be ostracized for going a few words over the count.) The Key – make every word count.


*Featured and Post Image  Copyright – Jennifer Pendergast
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31 thoughts on “Cheeseburger Upon Avon

  1. I think this resonates with anyone that travels overseas. I liked the ending. The ending is what defines the difference between a traveler exploring other lands and cultures and a tourist.


    • Thank you! Travelling overseas can be a wonderful experience. I’ve met some people who didn’t enjoy it at all. I’m glad I had a moment of clarity that day. I saw, heard, felt, and tasted so many new things afterwards. Where overseas have you traveled?


  2. Dear Melanie,

    Trying to find authentic American food abroad can be an exercise in futility. Your story was well told and conveyed this and more. Good job.




    • It is an exercise in futility. That was the only and last try, then I ate some of the best food of my life. Thank you Doug!


    • It was a very lovely place to have lunch – by the river, under a large tree, and in the middle of history. Thanks!


  3. I think people search for common ground because it provides some sort of comfort. Comfort is good and all, but I also think it allows us to lose out on opportunities to learn. You showed that here with this story. Good job! I enjoyed it.


    • Thank you Jon! Now that I’m older and wiser (no laughing), I get more excited about going outside of my comfort zone because it usually adds value to my life.


  4. I think what I like most about this, aside from the feel you created with an economy of words, is how you were able to use a simple cheeseburger to convey so much — and in a way every reader could connect with.

    Well done 😉


    • This spot was in Stratford-upon-Avon, which is NW of London. If you get to London, there are so many places, you’ll be able to picnic in a new spot everyday.


  5. Melanie, Good story based on fact. Here in India you can get some things that taste American, but it isn’t the best food for someone to eat. The local food is usually healthier and less expensive if you eat it in a good restaurant. Well done. 🙂 —Susan


    • Thank you Susan!
      American food isn’t the best food to eat in America. It’s probably why we gravitate towards diets like the Mediterranean diet.


    • It probably is a sign of affection. I’m sure the “Indian”, “Mexican”, and “Italian” food we serve here wouldn’t remind an India, Mexico, or Italy native of home.


  6. As an Englishwoman in Canada, I can relate to feeling out of place. I’m glad your character learned to embrace and not resist the differences. I’m confused though – I got lemonade and cheeseburger right from the start, but fries are never chips in the UK (although chips ARE fries, if you see what I mean).


    • I learned to ask for chips if I wanted fries after this meal, so it just may have been that restaurant owner just trying to give me something when he wasn’t sure what I wanted.
      Thanks for reading (and for sharing your picture as a prompt). 🙂


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