As I mentioned in the Family Ties post, I am interested in genealogy and family connections are something very dear to me. Unfortunately, I’m not able to get back home as often as I used to. I did manage to get back home for Easter this year in April. My mom had an Easter Egg hunt planned for all the grandchildren and I knew my two-and-a-half year old would have a thrill with that.
As I was packing our bags for the trip home, I searched through the video camera bag for a blank video tape to record the egg hunt. I looked in all four compartments and took out the camera and power cords, but all I found were a few old tapes already with other footage recorded on them. So I decided that I would just buy a blank tape down there after we got to grandma’s house.
That evening before the egg hunt started, I asked my sister if she wanted to go to the store with me to get a video tape. She agreed and asked me which store I wanted to go to. Since she was driving, I told her to just pick whatever was convenient, I didn’t care. So we went to the local Kroger which was the closest place to find what we needed. I decided to just buy a single tape rather than the multipack since I didn’t want to spend ALL of my mad money.
While we were there, we just happened to run into a cousin who was buying egg coloring supplies for his daughter. (A few minutes later, my sister saw a former co-worker of hers from when she worked in the area five years before whom she had been very close with).
I talked quite a while with my cousin Matt about his Easter plans and so forth. This is the same cousin I had another chance meeting with in the summer of 2007. Before 2007, I probably hadn’t seen Matt since the mid 1980’s – very easily 20 years or more. I’d seen his parents on an irregular basis at family gatherings, but usually Matt and I always seemed to miss each other.
Flashback to July of 2007: My wife and our older child took a train trip to the Atlantic Coast for a vacation. Rather than catch the 2:00 a.m. Amtrak in Sandusky, we went home and caught a more reasonable 7:00 a.m. train in Pittsburgh. My dad dropped us off and helped with our bags then left us to wait for our train. As we waited, a tall guy that I didn’t recognize at all approached me.
I had the normal internal reaction of being approached by an unrecognized person in a public place where I wouldn’t expect anyone to actually know me. I thought to myself, “Who the heck is this guy and what could he possibly want?” He called me by name, apparently unsure if he had the right guy. After a second or two he said his name and it all clicked. It was Matt! Of course I didn’t recognize him since I hadn’t seen him in 20+ years when we were both kids!
It turns out, Matt wouldn’t have recognized me if he hadn’t seen my dad helping us with our bags. Matt and his wife were going to D.C. for a conference and had a train departing at almost the same time as ours.
Flash forward to Easter weekend 2009: Matt and I briefly discussed the last chance meeting at the train station in Pittsburgh! We had seen each other again after the train God-Incidence at his parents’ home in 2008 when we were visiting and his dad offered to give our little girl a pony ride. Matt and his dad have a veterinary practice together.
So Matt and I talked a bit more in the aisle at Kroger, while my sister chatted with her former co-worker. That night I filmed a raucous Easter Egg hunt. As I put the video camera back into the camera bag, I found a brand new blank videotape right there in plain sight still in the wrapper. It had to have been there the entire time.