-We have all said it. “It’s a small world.”
So, after the whirlwind tour of England and France with my daughter, grand daughter, son-in-law and his mom I spent a few days in Dallas.
My daughter gave me an assignment. They have a “guy” who comes to their house every two weeks to prepare food for them. He cooks, cleans up his mess, portions out appropriate meal size proportions in freezer safe containers. He prepares healthy assortments, by request or whim. Nice guy. Nice to be able to come home and not worry about cooking or carry-out.
Okay. So my daughter wanted me to find out if he was “available” for a potential fix-up. Live version of a dating sort, of sorts. I’m good at getting people to talk. Especially about themselves.
As he prepared veggies, herbs, sauces, etc. I sat at the counter and grilled (pun intended) him. Politely. I asked about how he began on his chef journey. His mom had a restaurant so it’s in his blood. He wasn’t always in Dallas. Grew up in another town in Texas; moved to New York, L.A. maybe some other places. He was somewhat distanced from his family for a while.
Within the past few years, his brother became a father. On the rare occasions the family gathered, “Uncle Chef” was a stranger to his nephews. After soul searching, he decided there was no time as the present to reunite with family. So he did. His mom encouraged him to Dallas and do what she is doing. Home cooking in other people’s homes. She works part-time, he is fully booked.
Prodigal son comes home was perfect segue into is he dating; family trying to fix him up, etc. End result is that he is not available for the match my daughter had in mind.
Here is the small world part. His brother is assistance pastor at a downtown Dallas church. We kept talking . His nephew is around the same age as my grand daughter. They are both in preschool. The same pre-school. His brother is affiliated with the pre-school by virtue of the fact that the school is in the church where he officiates. None of the adults realized this connection until I discovered it! All amazed.
But wait, there’s more! Not in Dallas but here in my neck of Florida.
There was a guest presenter at Unity Community where I attend Sunday service. He had been there before on a Saturday for a workshop which I attended. At the recent Sunday service, his mom, uncle and wife were in attendance. Following service it is customary for the congregation to gather in fellowship hall for refreshments.
I got my coffee and goodies and carried them to the table. As it turned out, I sat across from the speaker’s mom and uncle. Naturally, we started to talk. We all grew up in the mid-west and moved around a bit…except for him. They were especially proud of their brother who served in the Air Force; recently passed and was honored in some way beyond the traditional military service.
She is a very healthy, active 95. She began painting at 70! We exchanged details about the careers each of us had. She spent years teaching in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Miami. We struck a common chord when she mentioned Miami. She asked where I had lived; she told me where she lived while there. I knew the area very well.
She continued to say that she had a tutoring service across the street from Miami Dade College but couldn’t recall the name of the mixed use complex. I said that I knew exactly where she meant because I use to take my daughter there. Thirty some years ago. I continued, that my daughter had dyslexia and a speech impediment. She was tutored by Mrs. Hamm for dyslexia and Ms. Wendy for speech. Her brother’s eyes got at large as saucers. He said, pointing to his sister, “She’s Mrs. Hamm!” Oh my goodness. We all were mutually amazed.
Honestly, I didn’t recognize Mrs. Hamm by looking at her. She was flattered that I remembered her at all. I affirmed that I did recall how patient she had been. How dedicataed, caring and sweet she always was. Characteristics still evident in her demeanor. She asked my daughter’s name, and immediately recalled her as a little blonde! She asked how she was, what she is doing, where she is, etc. She was so amazed. I explained that she mad such a difference in our lives. By fourth grade, my daughter was reading at grade level and continued to excel all the way through university. Had we not found Mrs. Hamm, I can only imagine what an on-going academic struggle would have been. I’m grateful to have had the chance to make Mrs. Hamm’s day and equally grateful that she was there when we needed her.
She continued to tell me that she moved to Dunedin as she was ready to retire and diagnosed with breast cancer. Her son already lived in Dunedin, and there was a wonderful cancer center in Tampa. Her doctor encouraged to move closer to her son. Needless to say, Mrs. Hamm survived cancer and is doing great. She continued to tutor in her home until she reached 90. She felt that she was no longer as patient as she needed to be with the students and stopped.
Once again, the universe is unfolding exactly as it should be.