Strange Meetings

Does it ever happen to you? Do you ever encounter a person, or a situation, purely by chance? One that seems to mean more than it appears on the surface? Today it happened to me.

We had just completed my husband’s pre-surgery appointment at the fantastic St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester, MA, and decided to stop and grab a bite. One of our favorite hangouts, The Heritage, is located in Auburn, MA. It was packed when we arrived, but we managed to find a table off in a corner.

About halfway through our meal, a friendly looking woman about my age pulled out the chair at the table next to us. She was alone, and did not busy herself with a smartphone or a book. Instead, she just sat quietly, drinking her brew, until her meal arrived.

In the meantime, I had finished eating and was (my bad!) scrolling through the emails on my iPhone. My eye caught on the message from Author Seelie Kay, who was hosting me on her blog today. I’d totally forgotten about it. I opened the page and showed my husband the post.

“Read it to me,” he urged as he continued to enjoy his meal. So I did.

I tried to be quiet, but the tables were so close together. I was concerned I was disturbing the lone diner sitting nearby, but she did not appear bothered.

When I’d finished, she leaned towards me and said, “I don’t mean to eavesdrop, but I couldn’t help hearing what you read. Are you really an author?”

An animated discussion ensued, and when my husband received a phone call, I moved to sit across from her. “Patty,” as it turns out, lives in the next town over from ours, writes poetry, and has always wanted to write a book. About her mother.

Her mother, Nellie Twardzik Thompson, hailed from Webster, MA – where we now live – and “gained national recognition in the 1930’s as the only girl in the U.S.A. to play on a high school boys’ baseball team.” The 1930s! Patty also told me that her mother is listed in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. What an amazing accomplishment.

In any case, our conversation was cut short by the interruption of life in general, errands to run, things to do on this day before Easter weekend. We exchanged phone numbers (since Patty, like my husband, has eschewed the modernity of internet communication). I fully intend to connect with Patty again, maybe over a cup of delicious brew at Booklover’s Gourmet, a wonderful bookstore/coffee shop which is convenient to both of us.

As we said farewell, Patty hugged my neck and said, “I’m so glad I met you today. You know, God brings people into our lives with purpose, at just the right times. Do you believe that?”

“I do.”

“And on Good Friday. This is a blessing indeed.”

I couldn’t agree more.

I gained a new friend today.

Happy Easter, to all of my friends and fans who celebrate the holiday. Happy Passover to those of the Jewish faith. And for those whose holidays may coincide but I am not aware of, well . . . God bless us all.