Portage la Prairie, MB –
A family, and possibly an entire city, is divided over the pronunciation of a popular local restaurant and the disagreement is threatening to become physical.
Eunice Kehler and her sister Ethel Neudorf are threatening to punch each other’s lights out if they can’t agree on how to say their favorite restaurant’s name.
Every Saturday morning the Kehler and Neudorf families gather for a family breakfast. Normally get togethers like this are happy, bonding times but for these Portagers a war is brewing.
At the heart of the debate is how to properly say the word “Tornadoes”. And what seems like a small thing threatens to rip these families apart.
“I’m sick and tired of Ethel, David and David’s dopey brother Bernie saying it wrong,” Eunice Kehler explained. “They try and make it sound all fancy by calling it ‘Tor-nah-does’. Say it right you idiots! It’s ‘Tor-nay-does’ for love of Pete.”
A dispute that could be categorized as “you say toe-may-toe, I say toe-mah-toe” is more like “you say po-tay-toe, I say po-tah-toe.”
“I’ve heard a lot of people in Portage call it ‘Tor-nah-does’ it just seems more classy to say it that way,” Ethel Neudorf said. “Saying ‘Tor-nay-does’ is so unsophisticated. Sound like a wind storm more than a high-end restaurant.”
Eunice Kehler had to be restrained last Saturday morning after the two woman began yelling and threatening each other over the discrepancy in the pronunciation. Police responded but released both women after questioning.
Instead of taking his wife’s side, Henry Kehler prefers to take a more neutral stand. “I pronounce it both ways,” he said. “When we are just going out for breakfast with family I call it ‘Tor-nay-does’. If we have out-of-town company out for supper I call it ‘Tor-nah-does’. It really isn’t that big of a deal.”
“I took Ethel outside to show her the sign,” Kehler said. “I asked her what that funnel on the logo was. She said a tornado so I said what do you call more than one tornado. She said ‘tor-nah-does’.”
The sister’s family fight has many in the City of Portage taking sides and there is an ever-widening gap between folks on each side of the debate.
“She says Portage right,” Kehler alleged. “She doesn’t say ‘Por-tahg’ like she’s French.”
Neudorf was quick to point out, “You can pronounce Portage that way. It’s not incorrect. And besides, it sounds much prettier if we did. Imagine if we all said ‘I eat at Tor-nah-does in Por-tahg la PraiRIE’. That would be the best.”
Neudorf takes great exception to her sister’s view. “Ether is so full of crap her eyes are brown. This is a meat and potatoes, English-speaking town. It’s not a fancy French town and we shouldn’t pretend it is just to trick people.”
A solution to the problem doesn’t appear to be available anytime soon so diners are advised to govern themselves accordingly while eating in the restaurant and to avoid the topic altogether.