Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Luck of the Irish

In honor of St. Patrick's Day :-) ...

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.

I couldn't help but smile. ‘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!

30 comments:

Keri Mikulski said...

Love this.. Amazing!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Suzanne Casamento said...

Awesome story! It makes me think of that new show, "Who Do You Think You Are?" Don't know if you've seen it, but discovering where family comes from is amazing. It shows there are no coincidences. Some things are just meant to be.

Corey Schwartz said...

Aw, so cute. Like in the Liza Minneli song "Ring Them Bells" where the MC "travels round the world to meet the guy next door."

Kelly said...

Sounds like one lucky couple!
Great story.

She Writes said...

I love encounters like that one!

Jeff B said...

Sounds like a real life leprechaun. His pot of gold is his marriage.

Hardygirl said...

Too cute!! And, maybe he really WAS a leprechaun . . . did you see a pot of gold anywhere?

sf

Sharon McPherson: AUTHOR said...

Love the story. That's the thread needed to spin a novel or a movie ... Just needs someone to write it.

Funny how he disappeared into thin air. Maybe that's a sign ... and this is your best seller :)

Amy Tate said...

Or perhaps he was a magical leprechan giving you a great idea for a story! Happy St. Pattys Day!

C.R. Evers said...

wow! That's awesome! I love how you described this scene! :0)

imbeingheldhostage said...

What a GREAT story. Loved this, and it's my read before going to bed so I'm extra pleased :-)

LadyFi said...

An amazing and heart-warming story!

Cathy C. Hall said...

Wow-I'M German/Irish, too!

(Seriously wow-that's one of those "truth is stranger than fiction" stories-assuming he was telling the truth. He WAS Irish :-)

Sarah Laurence said...

I love how you connect with people when you are out and about, enjoying the wait on line at the post office instead of resenting it. It’s a good writing exercise collecting real dialogue and characters too.

CariJ said...

Wonderful story! Don't you love it when the mundane turns into something special? It always takes me by surprise. :-)

Sherry Rogers said...

What a wonderful story! Don't you just love people like that, that can make a thing we dread like standing in line at the post office a pleasant errand. Thanks so much for sharing that! Very fun and very St Patricks!

Susan Fields said...

Tag...you're it! I wish I knew how to link my blog to this comment, but I'm not that technologically savvy - sorry.

Hilary said...

A golden story. And you told it so well. I love "with all the eloquence of a rock." I can identify.. and laughed out loud with that one. :)

slommler said...

I was thinking the same thing. I believe you were talking to a leprechaun!! Was his complexion tinged with green by any chance? LOL! What a delightful conversation. A nice blessing for your day for sure.
Congrats on your POTW!
Hugs
SueAnn

Tabor said...

Congrats on your POTW from many I see. This story was most uplifting.

Steve Gravano said...

Congrats on POTW. Great story, post office lines are a great place for conversation.

Dianne said...

isn't it wonderful what we learn and see and feel when we're open to those around us :)

lovely story

congrats on POTW

Suldog said...

Nice story. Congratulations on getting a POTW spot over at Hillary's!

Cricket said...

Truth is stranger than fiction. Great story. Congratulations on the potw.

Land of shimp said...

It's often so worthwhile simply speaking to the people around us. You went in to mail a package, and heard a story that seems to imply fate, and the working of magical forces within the world.

Thanks for sharing it with us here. A nice inclusion of magic, and romance into the day. Congratulations on the post of the week mention over at Hilary's blog.

I'm sitting here with a goofy smile on my face. Do you know, it actually isn't that they hailed from the same town, back across time in their ancestry but that the man made a special point of talking about his wife's success.

It's a lovely story, but that's the part that caught me. After more than thirty years, what this man chooses to tell people about his wife has to do with lasting admiration.

May we all have someone in our lives who thinks of us in that way.

Daryl said...

Congrats on POTW mention from Hilary

deb said...

Oh, I love hearing those moments of life all bringing wonder together.
Fabulous how a mundane outing brings such joy.

congrats on the POTW

järnebrand said...

Congrats on the POTW mentioning a Hilarys... :)
I loved this post too. I enjoy starting conversations with strangers. It makes the world seem a lot smaller. :) Everybody carries so many stories. It is wonderful and comforting to think about.
Thank you for sharing this!
/Jo.

ds said...

Here because of the very well deserved POTW mention from Hilary! What a lovely story--the luck of the Irish, indeed! 'Twill have me smilin' all the day...Thank you.

Sandra said...

What a sweet, sweet story. We would miss so much if we weren't open to conversations with strangers, wouldn't we? :)