than twenty years ago, a strange event took place in Pennsylvania.
(WellÖ not strange. Actually, it was fun.)
Justin and I were headed to Hersheypark. More specifically (and,
I suppose, actually less specifically), we were on vacation in
sister, Kerri, and her husband, Nick, were driving around the
United States. The deeper background to their story involved a
new job, an international move, and having several weeks before
they were going to head off. So, for a bit of the summer, they
had decided to hop in a car and tour America.
had made plans to meet in Hershey. And, we did.
fancy part of the story in retrospect is that we did actually
get together. No apps. No GPS. No cell phones. We didnít text
or e-mail to coordinate anything. Driving was based on having
a road atlas and several maps. We simply talked a month or two
in advance, set a date, made our hotel reservations, and met in
mind wandering part of the story is that we did in fact meet.
In Pennsylvania. And, today, I find myself thinking about some
of the travels I have enjoyed, including the planned and unplanned
encounters along the way.
the people in your life. Family. Friends. Co-workers and such.
You get used to seeing them in certain places, and perhaps even
at certain times. When you meet up with them, unplanned and unexpected,
it can be funny and strange.
note Ė I love considering this subject with teachers. Almost without
exception, every teacher has great stories about meeting students
in grocery stores, parks, movie theaters and more. Itís as if
their students have difficulties connecting the dots that a teacher
would be any place other than a school.)
the years, Iíve had many moments such as the meeting in Hershey.
Some planned. Some not. And often, especially when unexpected,
they amaze me.
picking you up at an airport, perhaps thousands of miles from
where your relationship began. Heading out on vacation, and finding
yourself greeting a classmate you havenít seen in decades. Walking
into a business, looking for some type of service or product,
and finding that the owner of the shop is a neighbor.
journey may or may not be over great distances. Itís the surprise
connection, or the extension of shared experiences. Itís the swirling
checklists in your head.
instanceÖ our family enjoys dining at restaurants with hibachi
grills. I know for a fact that the four of us have eaten at such
places in at least six different states. Actually, weíve eaten
at such places in two different countries.
instanceÖ later this year, Terry and I will be off on a trip that
involves going to a city she has never visited previously. While
weíre there, I think we will be eating in a restaurant that my
father and I were in together some ten years ago.
not simply the memories. Itís that statistical coincidence, with
one foot in strange-things-happen-land and the other in never-would-have-expected-this.
essay has been a bit of a winding road. And, I think itís reached
a destination. A strange journey to get here. (And hopefully not
the last time weíll meet.)