Sunday, November 16, 2008

Strangers to All, Strangers to None

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a true story, and one I hadn't thought of for years until it popped into my mind for no particular reason last week. I recount it here for Sunday Scribblings.

When my grandmother was still alive, Dan and I would make an annual summer pilgrimage to Connecticut to visit her. Since everything in New England is so close, we always combined the trip with other fun adventures, including the annual Covered Bridges Half Marathon in Vermont. We had a favorite rural B&B we stayed at, and after a few years of visits, we felt quite at home there.

One of our favorite things to do in the evening was make tea and sit in chairs on the front lawn, looking at the night sky. There were no street lights or city lights to dim the vast expanse of stars, and it was so quiet that we could hear the wind in the pines and the rushing water of the brook up the road. It was a peaceful way to end our busy days before turning in for the night.

One evening we saw a pair of headlights make their way slowly up the country road. We watched in that lazy way one watches everything in the country. To our surprise, the van pulled to the side of the road right in front of us and a man rolled down the window. In broken English with an unmistakable Spanish accent, he asked directions.

Now, usually tourists like us are the worst people you can ask directions from because they spend most of their time lost, too. But this was our third summer in the area and Dan did, in fact, know the place the occupants of the van were trying to go. Since we were from Texas and bilingual, we understood without having to ask that we would only get them lost again if we gave the men directions in English. As it turned out, they were natives of Ecuador, on their way to the annual Pow-Wow in one of the nearby towns. We were impressed that they had come so far. We explained in Spanish how to get to their campground, wished them well, and watched them drive away into the night.

As we went back to our tea, Dan and I pondered the strange ways the universe works. What were the odds that a group of Spanish-dominant South American natives should become lost on a rural road in Vermont at night and happen across a pair of bilingual Texan tourists who just happened to know how to get them where they needed to go and could explain it in their own language? Strangers to each other and all of us far from home, we found each other, anyway. Sometimes the universe gives us exactly what we need, that lucky little break, just when we least expect it.

We sipped our tea and returned to admiring the velvet sky and its infinite span of stars. We were no longer strangers here. We were home.


lilly said...

Ah chance or coincidence...that was so well written. I really enoyed reading it.

Thomma Lyn said...

What a lovely recounting of one of life's amazing moments of harmony. :)

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed that, the right place at the right time.

*~sis~* said...

what a wonderful good time good place situation! :)

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

What a cool tale. If it had happened here, we'd have discovered some personal connection, too.