In honor of St. Patrick's Day ... a re-posting of one of my favorite stories. Enjoy! :-)
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!