Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘serendipity

Meeting Judy

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Shortly after the first time I signed up to do this epic adventure of biking and camping for a week, I learned that a cherished coworker’s sister always did the Klobuchar ride. I’d never met any of my coworker’s family, but if they were anything like Bob, I couldn’t wait to meet them.

He was more excited than me about the potential connection, and spent a fair amount of energy drilling me on details of her name so that I would remember who I needed to seek out.

Of course, her name. Then, her husband’s name. Their last name, because it was her married name and different than his. He told me I could remember the last name because it was like a Minnesota Twins ball player’s name, only with an ‘S.’

He was seriously excited over the prospect of my meeting his sister on this trip. It was infectious enough that I became just as excited over the possibility.

However, there were a lot of other details I needed to think about. I had never done this kind of thing before. I was traveling with a teen neighbor whom I didn’t really know more than passing from his role as a part-time sitter for our kids. I was also perseverating over having the right gear and packing the right clothes, not to mention where to put everything.

Honestly, Judy’s name was not on my mind as Brian and I made our final visit to the car that first Saturday morning, prior to departing with our bikes. It’s a critical moment of the trip, because it’s the last time you will be anywhere near your vehicle for the rest of the week.

Take what you need, leave the rest. Ideally, stepping away fully prepared for what lies ahead.

As we walked our bikes between parked cars toward the swelling collection of other camping cyclists –all strangers, who would soon become friends– we came upon a couple going through their similar critical last moments with their vehicle.

In a flash of inspiration, upon noticing the man was using a 12V compressor to top off the air in his bike tires, I overcame my normal reticence to bother a stranger. I figured, we didn’t know anyone on this trip, so what better time to break the ice and get over the hump than to ask if we could use his electric pump for our tires, too.

Before I got to the end of my request, I saw that he was actually winding up the power cord to put it away. He was done using it. My brain quickly chastised me with evidence that my bad timing was the very reason not to bother someone you don’t know, blah, blah, blah.

I quickly apologized for inconveniencing him, but he just as quickly talked over my hesitancy and insisted it was no trouble. The awkward start had stumbled all over the more traditional polite practice of introducing oneself, so as we crouched over bike wheels and the buzzing pump, I thought to identify myself.

He responded, “I’m Ed Beckers.”

My eyes got big. I think he wondered what he’d said. My eyes got really big.

Knowing I had the upper hand, I played it for all it was worth. What were the odds?

“THE Ed Beckers!?” with increasing animated excitement.

Confused stare.

“Ed and Judy Beckers!!?”

A woman’s face peers around the car door at this maniacal stranger exclaiming her name.

My coworker’s sister and husband were the very first people we met.

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Written by johnwhays

June 18, 2017 at 6:00 am

Cyndie’s Capture

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She was simply taking the dog for a walk between evening rain showers. It just so happened to be at the perfect window of time when the sun was moving below the horizon. The scene changed dramatically over the brief 10-minutes they were out, and the cloud show morphed significantly in perfect coordination with the low sunlight blazing behind it.

I picked this one from the series of many she took.

IMG_iP1595eCH.

A short time later, as darkness settled in, the heavy roar of a downpour rumbled across our roof. It added an extra exclamation point to the exceptional serendipity of the timing of her evening’s stroll last night.

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Written by johnwhays

August 17, 2016 at 6:00 am

Unexpected Result

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DSCN4541eI suppose you could say this about most any day, but yesterday did not turn out anything like I thought it would when I woke up in the morning. One thing just led to the next and I ended up driving home in a new car. I credit the wise advice of my sister, Mary, who found several opportunities to urge me toward taking action, combined with Cyndie’s unwavering support.

The ultimate decision happens to be a sure-fire way to fix the check engine light that kept coming on in the old WRX.

The curious trigger that set the whole unplanned chain of events in motion was an exploding tire on the wheelbarrow we use more than any other tool. It is the key weapon in our arsenal for managing manure.

I was turning and reshaping one of the compost piles when Cyndie arrived with a fresh contribution. I took the wheelbarrow from her to dump it on the pile and she noticed one of the tires looked curious. She asked if it might be flat, so I reached down to check it with a squeeze. It burst!

Boom! It was flat now. Guess I don’t know my own strength.

That was going to need repair without delay and forced an unplanned shopping trip. After a brief debate over eating lunch first or heading out immediately, we settled on the fateful decision to eat at home. During that pause, I received a call from my auto repair shop confirming the new exhaust sound I reported on the WRX was because the catalytic converter had busted.

That news quickly confirmed it was time to take action on a plan I had mulled over for months. We altered our destination for finding a replacement tire for the wheelbarrow to a store in the same town as our safe deposit box, so I could get the title of the WRX. That car is now for sale.

It just so happened that I had applied for an auto loan at our bank a few hours earlier in the day, to see how much new car I could comfortably afford. I talked Cyndie into driving a bit beyond the bank and Tractor Supply store, so we could test drive the next Subaru I was considering buying.

DSCN4543eAt the end of the day, I was driving home in a current model Crosstrek. It has been over 2 decades since I had that new car smell.

For a guy who drags his feet making decisions, that was a flurry of significant ones in a single day, one after another. If it weren’t for that exploding tire on the wheelbarrow, I would have likely spent the day wondering what to do about that WRX.

Now that problem will become someone else’s opportunity. I’ve moved to higher ground clearance, so I won’t be busting a performance bumper on critters that jump in front of me at highway speeds, and I won’t be dragging my undercarriage on snow as often, when I leave in the mornings before roads get plowed.

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Written by johnwhays

March 26, 2016 at 6:00 am