Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Luck of the Irish

I was standing in line at the post office when I heard, “And how long are you going to be?” I looked behind me to see an older man, possibly in his sixties, with an unwavering face and twinkling eyes that just screamed of dry humor and wit. I smiled and laughed, noting that I just had the one box and would make it fast.

I didn’t expect the conversation to continue. Thankfully, it did.

“My wife has me mailing these birthday cards to Ireland,” he continued gruffly. “We’re always sending things over there.”

Being a travel fanatic, I was intrigued. “Ireland, huh,” I responded, “I’ve never been there, but it’s on my list of places I want to visit.”

“Oh, we’ve been there many times … at least a couple dozen,” he said. “Both of our families are from there, and many are still living there.”

“Really?” I asked, “Is that where you met?”

“Oh no …”, he chuckled. “I was an auctioneer. Traveled all over the place. One day, I received a call from a rancher in central Oregon. I was to come pick up some items that would then be auctioned. That’s when I met her.”

“At the ranch?” I asked, amazed at such a chance meeting.

“Yep … she was the rancher’s daughter. That was thirty-some odd years ago … and things have been going downhill ever since,” he added with a sly grin.

“Well … it couldn’t be too bad if you’ve been together for thirty-some years!” I countered with a smile.

“Well, she was quite the successful businesswoman. I couldn’t give that up,” he said with the dry wit that had become the trademark of our short conversation. He then went on to explain that she had owned several thriving businesses – including a clothing shop and a salon – in the very complex we were standing in. “Back in the day, there would be a line of people waiting to get into her salon,” he added with a hint of pride.

I glanced at the service counter where, fortunately, the customers in front of me were having some sort of difficulty with their mailing progress.

“I can’t believe both of you are from Ireland, and you ended up meeting on a ranch out in the middle of central Oregon,” I added.

It was then that he told me that on one of their first trips back to Ireland as a couple, they decided to check into each of their family histories. Through their research, they discovered that their grandparents had been from the exact same small town in Ireland. His had owned a hardware store; hers had owned a grocery store. They traveled to that little town and discovered that – even to that day - his family’s original hardware store and her family’s original grocery store sat on the very same street, right next door to each other.

“Wow,” I said with all the eloquence of a rock. “That is absolutely amazing … a marriage meant to be.”

The customers at the counter retreated and it was my turn.

I mailed my package and turned, intending to smile and convey wishes for a good day with this man who had shared his wonderful story with me.

He was nowhere to be seen.

A smile spread across my face as I headed to the car. ‘A marriage made in heaven’ came to mind. Yes, definitely that … sprinkled with a little ‘Luck of the Irish’, had clearly brought these two individuals together.

My potentially-tedious trip to the post office was made special, with a beautiful and unexpected story of providence usually saved just for the kids and grandkids. It made this German-Irish girl feel a little lucky too!


Unknown said...

What a great story! I love it!

lotusgirl said...

I LOVE encounters like that! It's so fascinating to talk with people who have had a full life. Marvelous coincidences. That could make that backbone of a novel.

PJ Hoover said...

How amazing! It really is a match made in heaven!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

That is AWESOME!
People are so full of cool stories-- we just have to keep our ears open and take the time to listen. I'm so glad you shared this!
PS I'm having a little giveaway. Hop over and enter if you have a chance!

Kelly H-Y said...

Beth, Lois, PJ and Becky! Thanks for stopping by ... I'm so glad you enjoyed the story. I felt so lucky that he shared it with me! You're right, Lois ... it could definitely be expanded on ... that's been running through my mind! Have a wonderful day! And, thanks for the heads-up, Becky ... I'm off to check out your giveaway! :-)

Kelly Polark said...

What a cute old man with a great story!

Beth Kephart said...

I adore such encounters. And I'm so glad that you arrived on my own blog on this very day, which is beautiful here, beautiful throughout.

Katie Anderson said...

Aaaww... so cute!

Kelly H-Y said...

Kelly, Beth, and Katie - I know ... isn't it just the greatest! Love stories like that!

CC said...

That is an amazing story! He was like a leprechaun there just to brighten your day. ;)

Unknown said...

There is no coincidence, sorry for me to say so. You do not such an encounter - you wouldn't be able to share such a great story with all of us. God is great - always know how to make use of every vessel to glorify Him. Praise the Lord. I am glad to let you know that I will subscribe to your post and be your follower as well as i have common objectives to be aspiring writer to add color to people's life.

PurpleClover said...

What a beautiful story! Loved every bit.

You really need to consider publishing this in a magazine.

Kelly H-Y said...

CC - Totally! :-)

James - Thanks for stopping by!

PurpleClover - Thanks so much for your kind & encouraging comments! I'd love to do that ... now the trick is finding the right magazine!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Hey Kelly,
Hop over to my blog!
It looks like your four leaf clover brought you some luck!

Kelly H-Y said...

Yippeeee ... thank you, Rebecca!!!!