I think I better be careful what I think.
A short time ago I thought I would update the status on my facebook page and so indicated that I had three stories stuck in my head and needed a plunger to get them out. Of course I was speaking metaphorically; yes, the stories were real but I didn’t need an actual plunger to get them out of my head. Nevertheless, the next day one showed up outside my door. I should of expected it.
Time and time again, I’ve seen things that I think about come to life right before my eyes soon after thinking those thought. I first noticed this phenomena begin back in 1993, watching an episode of the original Star Trek. As the end credits rolled I notice the name of the actress who had played Captain Kirk’s love interest for that episode and realized she was totally unfamiliar to me. I thought, what ever happened to her in the 26 years since she performed that roll, did she continue acting, was she still alive. Now you have to remember that this was in the days before Google so I couldn’t look her up on the internet. I figured I would never know her fate and turn the channel to the only other station I could pick up at the time. Days of Our Lives was just ending and there in the list of actors at the end of the episode was the very name I was just wondering about. 20 seconds after wondering where she was I had the answer. What a coincidence.
Driving across Eastern Canada in 1994, I recall thinking, I would like to be involved in some sort of Youth Ministry, but only part-time, so I can keep my current job at the same time. Arriving back home I found a message from a local Pastor inviting me for coffee. There he explained that the small church he was shepherding was looking for a youth pastor, but only one part-time and wondered if I would be interested in the position.
In 1997, at three in the morning, thinking things over I decided to quit the job I was in for the last three years. I decided I would put in my notice the next evening when I showed up for my shift. The next morning I was awoken by Fraser on the phone explaining to me that a job had opened up at the group home where he worked and wondered if it was something that would interest me.
Last summer, I woke up thinking about a friend I haven’t seen in 12 years. When I turned on my computer I found a message waiting; she would be home next week for a day and wanted to get together.
This morning I wondered if McDonald’s would ever bring back the McRib and then this evening I found out that for the first time in 16 years, they did…at least in the USA.
Time and time I’ve seen this effect happen, sometimes its trivial things. Other times its life changing events. But the one time that amazed me the most happened in the summer of 2000. I was the program director at a children’s summer camp called Circle Square Ranch. The closing rodeo for that particular week had just ended and as parents and campers were preparing to depart a group of staff had gathered in the diner. While I was in my 30’s at the time, most of the camp staff consisted of high school and university students and after the busy week we had I was feeling particularly old so I sat there quietly among them as the discussion around the table flowed from topic to topic. They started talking about Saturday morning TV and then one show in particular. Circle Square. It was from this show that the camp we were working at had spun out of, along with 9 other camps right across the country. The staff discussed the different characters and puppets then broke into song, singing word for word the tunes associated with that show. They were laughing and smiling with nostalgia, reliving their Saturday mornings childhood the 80’s. I suddenly didn’t feel so old anymore because unknown to them, Circle Square had also been part of my Saturday morning childhood as well; only in the decade prior.
It was then I thought, I think I’ll share that with them. I mentioned how I had watched the show in its premier season when it was hosted in part by a woman from the seaside town of Botwood; a mere twenty two minute drive from my hometown. The young staff looked at me like I was that elderly, hard of hearing relative with the early onset of dementia that always says the most inappropriate thing when gathered around the table for some family get-together. I was promptly dismissed when one young girl look at me and said, “Brad, there has never been a woman from Botwood on there, it has always been the old guy with the white beard.” They all laughed.
I know I was older then them, but not that much older, but more then anything at that moment I wish I was old enough to have a cane, just so I could slam it down on the table and call them young punks! How dare they disbelieve me like that!
At the next table sat Mr Noel. He had helped establish this camp years before and he was even older then me. He spoke up in my defence. “It’s true,” he told the staff, then stood up and walked out the door. They didn’t laugh at him.
I sat there a little peeved as the conversation among the staff went on without me. It never fun being disbelieved or doubted. Mr Noel’s support had helped but only a little. I sat there thinking, I need vindication. That’s when Mr Noel reenter the building and called me to the door. “Brad, there is someone hear you know.” He stood there with a small middle aged woman who was smiling at me. I am not always good with names but I usually remember faces, but I could not place the face of this woman facing me.
I looked at Mr Noel who was grinning from ear to ear. “Don’t tell me you don’t recognize her?” he laughed.
I looked back at the lady and apologized, “Sorry, I can’t say that I do.” I could begin to feel my face flush with heat and I knew my cheeks must now look very red.
She smiled more as I blushed and spoke, “Maybe this will help you remember.” Then loudly with confidence she began to sing in a voice strong and clear the theme song to the old Saturday morning TV show, Circle Square. The staff at the table stopped talking and everyone turned to look. Then it struck me like an old fashion TV from the 70’s right in the face. Standing in front of me was the very woman that I had watched on that same old TV when I was in grade six. “You’re the lady from Botwood!” I gasped.
She laughed and nodded yes. I looked at here then pointed back at the table full of staff then pointed at the staff and looked back at her, the whole time making strange noises that made no sense with my mouth.
After the shock eased I learned that she had been living in the USA for the past twenty years and was in the province for a rare visit home. Her departure flight out was scheduled for late that afternoon so in the interim, she and her husband rented a car and decided to spend a few hours sight seeing. On the highway she spotted the sign for Circle Square Ranch and realizing it was one of the places associated with the program she once hosted decided to visit. It was during the closing rodeo the she met Mr Noel and explained how she was there.
It just so happened that five minutes earlier I thought of mentioning her to the young staff. It also just so happened that Mr Noel was sitting behind me when I did. It also just so happen she was still on the property when Mr Noel walked out of the diner to find her.
After she had left, I returned to the table with the younger staff. I no longer cared if they believed me or not. I knew what I knew and who I knew. That was good enough for me.
So after after having experienced events like this to varying degrees time and time again it didn’t surprise to find a plunger outside my door the day after thinking of requesting one.
Here is how it happened.
Since that day when the plunger showed up I have gotten those three stories (and several others as well) out of my head and published online. I figured if someone was really concerned enough to go out of their way to provide me with all that I ask or think, then in return, I ought to be considerate enough to get those stories down on paper. (Yes, they are on paper too)
Now some of you reading this may be wondering. Brad, if what you say is really true then why aren’t you rich and famous with beautiful women on each arm?
You know, that’s good question.
Give me a moment and let me think about it.