I am constantly surprised to see people in places far from home with whom I can make a connection.
Many years ago I attended a conference in San Francisco. Most conferences are held in large cities far from home because no one would attend a national conference in Beehunter, Indiana or Pocatello, Idaho.
During down time I took a Gray Lines Tour. As we looked out over the city at a stop the driver approached me and asked, "Why are you in San Francisco?" "I'm attending a national convention." "Where are you from?" "Indiana." "So am I." "Really, where?" I grew up in Bedford and then lived in Indy for a time." "Do you know Damon Bailey?" "As a matter of fact, I do."
Years later we were on vacation and stopped in Kent, Ohio, on Sunday morning and attended worship. We were greeted by a smiling man who said, "Hello folks. Welcome. Where are you from?" "Indiana. We are on vacation." "I am from Indiana." "Where?" "You probably never heard of Solsberry." "Heard of it, we played the Hornets in sports. We are from Worthington High School." "Wow! Did you know basketball coach Guy Glover and his assistant Rex Hudson at Bloomfield?" "Yes. They used to beat us like a cheap drum. (Smiling) I hated both of them." (Laughs) "Rex is my brother."
BW and I saved our money and went on a tour of Europe several years ago. We've actually toured the continent twice. We have toured France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Lichtenstein and Italy. In Venice we plied the canals, enjoyed the music and unusual architecture. On a gondola ride a tenor sang familiar songs. We walked the serpentine streets dodging the doggie loggies and ate al fresco in festival venues. St. Marks Square is a large court area of approximately 10 acres surrounded by buildings anchored on one end by the huge and ornate St. Marks Basilica. At noon tourists and locals milled about eating and socializing. Classical music groups warmed by a resplendent sun played throughout the area. Pigeons swirled and swooped looking for crumbs. BW and I were eating real Italian pizza when a Hoosier voice said, "Why, Dr. Vandeventer, what are you doing here?" She was a secretary at Cummins Mental Health in Avon where I was on the board.
Later we were on vacation in Arizona. We drove all over the state visiting the Petrified Forest, Crater Canyon, Northern Arizona which is actually cold, Sedona and Phoenix. We went to church Sunday and were greeted by a man who was from Salem, Ind. I remarked that the church was a long drive and he said, "Yes, it is about six axle greasins."
Just recently at a Maple Syrup Festival in southern Indiana, I saw a woman and asked, "You look familiar to me. Where are you from?" "I live in the Indy area." "So do I. What part?" "I actually live in the western suburbs in the city of Plainfield." "So do I. Amazing!" "Not really. I am your wife. We drove down here together to visit our granddaughters and to make this trip with the Girl Scout troop." "Oh. I thought you looked familiar."
Larry grew up north of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School and Indiana State University. He can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or (317) 839-7656. Write him at 6860 Sunrise Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168. He has written five books.