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"Other Colors"
by Orhan Pamuk

by Nathaniel Philbrick

"Odd Hours"
by Dean Koontz

June 28, 2009

Chance encounters

I actually donít really believe in chance encounters Ė I think of them as appointments from God. So often they are interesting, valuable or mysterious. I was thinking today about some chance encounters I have had and thumbed through some calling cards that I have accumulated over the years. Many of these encounters took place on airplanes or in airports or on trains. Two people are hurtling through space and brought together for a time. Kay always teases me about talking to people in circumstances like that. But my feeling is, I donít want to miss whatever it is that God has planned for me.

I have met such interesting people ranging from a man, in Japan, who was a salesman for the NBA licensing group (if I remember correctly, he was very tall) to the director of human resources for the Joseph E Seagram & Sons company. There was a wonderful young man I met just last month on my way to Texas. He was a retired military person and by the end of our flight we had decided that he fit into our family better than his own birth family and he said that we should go to the court house after we landed so I could adopt him!

Then there was the man I met on another flight - I donít remember to where or from where. By the end of the flight we had given me his card and had scribbled his name and phone number on it. He had a pronounced Dutch accent and we discussed the situation in Africa since he regularly traveled to The Netherlands from Africa. His solution for some things was rather Draconian. He then told me that his profession was smuggling diamonds to The Netherlands. Whether it was true or not, I donít know but it was certainly interesting.

I can never forget Bryan and Bron, from Australia. When Mark, Kay and I were traveling in Europe, we five were the only ones, I think, on the train to or from Bergen, Norway. Bryan and Bron were young and friendly and we kept running into them. In Copenhagen, Denmark, Mark and Kay had gone to find some milk, while I waited with our bags to catch the train to Germany. It was time to board and Kay and Mark werenít there yet but Bryan and Bron insisted that I get on, assuring me that they would get there. They did, but just in the nick of time. When we got to our next destination we shared a cab to a B & B and then caught the next train together. We had a wonderful time with them.

I was visiting a menís class in 1986, as the Area Advisor. I mentioned that I was leaving for the Philippines shortly. After the class a gentleman came up to me and handed me his business card. He had written something on the back. He said that he was concerned about my safety and welfare. I was going there two weeks after President Marcos was ousted and President Aquino was installed. He told me that if I found myself in a difficult situation I was to call the number he had written on the back. It was the number of his close personal friend, who happened to be the Secretary of Defense at that time.

Who could resist talking to the person next to you when it could be someone as fascinating as one of these people?

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