Yes, it’s a small world
Timeworn clichés maintain their existence because they have their basis in fact or truth and because our experience bears them out. I was reminded of that by an experience Saturday morning that prompted me to remark afterward to my wife, “It’s a small world, isn’t it?”
For several weeks, I have been keeping an eye on progress of the new Jimmy’s Egg restaurant, which opened for business here Monday morning, Veterans Day. During the time we lived in Norman, the Jimmy’s Egg there was our favorite place to eat breakfast on those occasions when we ate out for that meal.
After checking Saturday morning on Carol’s mom (Helen Helt, who will be 96 Friday) and visiting briefly with her, we headed home, choosing a route that took us down Sixth Street so we could check on the status of the restaurant to see if, by chance, it might be open. The parking lot was almost full, so we assumed it was open. We nabbed one of the open parking spots and walked inside.
Oops! Not open for business; at least, not officially. Instead, the restaurant was having a training session for the new staff. People were being served free meals, but only if you had a card granting admittance. We didn’t have the invitation, so we turned to leave. As we did so, the lady in front of us in line said, “Please stay and eat with me. My card is good for up to four people and I’m by myself.”
Wow! What a nice and thoughtful gesture, inviting two strangers to share a meal. We accepted her invitation. About 45 minutes and one delicious meal later, we were no longer strangers. We now think of the lady, Mrs. Putnam, as a friend, almost like a long-time friend because of the many things we discovered that we have in common.
It was that visit and the things in common that prompted me to remark to my wife about this being a small world. Cliché, but true.
For example, we found out that Mrs. Putnam not only lives a few blocks from where Carol’s mom lives, she also knows Mrs. Helt. That acquaintance dates back several years to when Carol’s mom and dad operated Helt Photography and Mrs. Putnam had family pictures taken several times at the studio. We also learned that Carol and I know and have done business with Mrs. Putnam’s former husband.
As the conversation continued, we discovered that we have some mutual acquaintances and we had traveled to some of the same places. In addition, she has a sibling living in Seattle, where I have a brother. He’s in Tacoma, but that’s part of greater Seattle. And, as is always fun, we shared information about our children and grandchildren.
It was a happenstance that we were at the same location, but her kind invitation to join her for breakfast made that happenstance a most enjoyable occasion.
While the experience reinforced the validity of the old cliché, “It’s a small world,” it was only one of several we have experienced from time to time.
I remember, for instance, attending the World’s Fair in Knoxville however many years ago that was and encountering a small-world experience. We (Carol, myself, our three children, and new son-in-law) were walking along among thousands of people when I heard a voice shout, “Hey, Harry!” Surprise, it was someone I knew from the headquarters in Georgia of a newspaper company I worked for.
I also recall an interesting instance in 2007. We were in South Dakota for the annual International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors conference and visited the Mount Rushmore monument. It was time for the evening lowering of the American flag, so we took a seat in the amphitheatre for the ceremony. An announcement was made asking all veterans present to come to the stage for the ceremony. So, I joined the group, which, I would estimate, numbered 50 or so. A Boy Scout troop performed the ceremony and then the flag was folded and handed to one of the veterans. From there, it was handed from veteran to veteran until all of us had participated.
While this was happening, some guys behind me were talking and I heard mentioned the name of a ship I had served on while in the Navy. After the flag had passed, I turned and asked the person who I thought had mentioned the ship if he had been in the Navy. When he said yes, I asked if he had served on the USS Ticonderoga, the carrier I had heard mentioned. He had.
How ironic to visit a national memorial and not only meet someone who has shared your experience of serving in the Navy but who also served on the same ship out of the hundreds of ships in the fleet.
Yes, it is a small world, and my guess is that you have had one or more such experiences yourself.