I have this weird little thing. Well, really I have a few weird little things but I only want to talk about one of them today.
I seem to have a bit of a proclivity for serendipity. I know that clear writing requires that the author not use a “big” word when a “little” word will be just as clear, but when will I ever get to use “proclivity” again? I just couldn’t resist.
Laying the background for today’s story, about three or four years ago, Dennis and I went to Victoria, British Columbia. He had spent time there as a kid visiting relatives, but I had never been. He loves it and as we were considering places where we might retire, a trip to Victoria seemed like a good idea. We are avid golfers as well as cyclists, so when we were there, we wanted to visit some golf courses to see if any of them were both affordable and to our liking. One of the places we played was Royal Colwood. The golf pro was good enough to pair us up with a couple for our round of golf. It was a banner day. The couple was lovely. The golf course was challenging, beautiful and affordable.
Click forward to today. Dennis and I were out riding this afternoon around Napier in New Zealand, our home for the winter. We were riding along a bike path which came abruptly to a halt at the beach. There were three people there admiring the view, a couple and a single woman, also on bikes and as is our custom, we started to chat. When we find ourselves talking with strangers with a non-New Zealand English accent, our first question is always, “Where are you from?” The couple lived in Vancouver, B.C. and the man was from Winnipeg, our home town. Not that big of a coincidence, I thought. Millions of people are from Winnipeg. The women was from Victoria and has been wintering in Napier for the last few years. She looked and sounded familiar, in a vague sort of way. My subconscious mind started to click away. I am thinking you can guess, by now, how this story ends.
I asked her if she was a golfer and yes, she was. “Where do you golf?” was the next logical question. She named some golf course I had not heard of. As it turns out she was referring to the club she plays at in New Zealand, not in Canada. Well, of course, she is the women we shared a round of golf with some three years ago at Royal Colwood. Nancy is her name and her husband is Tony. He had the good sense to be doing something else today other than bike riding when it is 27 degrees.
Once we figured out this old and short connection, she commented that she and Tony had talked about whether or not that nice couple from Winnipeg had decided to move to Victoria, though she wouldn’t have remembered us. I thought about why it was that I remembered her so readily. She reminded me at the time and reminded me today as well, of a friend from high school, in both her appearance and in her manner. That was the link that resurrected that memory. The mind is a remarkable thing, storing memories and in some mysterious way, retrieving them again for us.
We talked about where she was staying in Napier. She described the building, which was along our route for the day, but I wasn’t entirely certain which one it was. We again marveled at the likelihood of us meeting on the other side of the world and then parted ways.
Some 40 kilometers and two hours later, Dennis and I are finally heading home from our ride after getting somewhat lost riding into town. I commented to Dennis about a condo complex we are passing, wondering if it is the building where Nancy and Tony live. I look up along the path, and here comes Nancy, yet again, on the way home from the beach.
Dennis and I continue to ponder what our retirement will look like. Will we stay in Winnipeg? Victoria keeps coming up in the conversation. Is our serendipitous meeting with Nancy really the universe trying to tell us something?
Here’s our old, new friend, Nancy! More importantly, why do I have a sign growing out of my helmet?
Just another remarkable day, courtesy of my bike.