Kismet, Coincidence — or?

Things happen for a reason ...
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“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

I try to live my life by faith daily, as all of us do one way or the other. At the very least we have faith in the physical. We sit in a chair expecting it to hold us, we eat in a restaurant expecting the food to be good and we drive in traffic expecting the other fella to also do the right thing. Sometimes our faith in these proves to be groundless as the chair collapses, we get sick from the food and we have to take our vehicle to the body shop — or worse. There are things I definitely do not have any faith in such as global warming, major news media and politicians. I also do not believe in coincidence. Rather, everything happens for a reason. We may not know the reason at the time, we may never know the reason, but it’s always there.

Cousin Charlie

I grew up in Ohio where my uncle had a farm outside of Homerville. He had three kids, my older cousins, Betty Sue, Frances, and Charlie. I spent much of my summertime on the farm with Cousin Charlie. He was about eight years older than I and our relationship did not get off to the best start, at least on my part. Apparently he had to break me in first. The first time I was there we took a walk in the fields, he stopped when we got to a wire fence and then he grabbed my hand with one of his and the fence with his other.

I received a very unpleasant tingling. Then, he said “Let’s go for a ride,” and set me up on the back of the wagon as we headed out over the field. The wagon happened to be a manure spreader and the chicken coop had been freshly cleaned out. When the wagon started up, I got splattered. I was thankful he had not just cleaned out the cow barn.

Then, on Saturday afternoon, we were all cleaned up and ready to go into the town of Lodi for a movie. While we were waiting for the girls, Cousin Charlie and I took a walk and stopped to watch the old sow with her piglets in the pen. He told me to smack the old sow on her rump with the hammer, which I stupidly obliged. She did not like it at all, busted through the pen and came after me. I went up the ladder onto the roof, lost my footing, rolled off into all the pig slop. Now 70 years later I can still remember my aunt’s fussing and fuming as she tried to clean me up.

Finally Friends

One positive thing was the fact it must’ve been the last test and from then on, Cousin Charlie and I were the best of friends and he never did anything to me again. Charlie became one of my heroes just like my two other cousins who dropped out of high school, lied about their age and entered WWII. I was very envious then, still am, of his artistic abilities in drawing and wood carving.

He taught me how to drive the tractor, he took me shooting and hunting and fishing, he let me ride in the back of the old farm pickup truck, and one thing I really enjoyed was riding in the rumble seat of his old car. If you’re too young to know what a rumble seat is, look it up.

The years passed as they always do. My uncle and aunt got divorced, which was virtually unheard of in those days, and the family split into two factions. I did not see Cousin Charlie again for several decades. I married, attended college and worked full-time in a tire factory to support my growing family of three kids by the time I graduated.

Following graduation, Diamond Dot and I packed up the three kids in the back of our ’65 Ford Station Wagon, hooked on a U-Haul and headed for Idaho. More years passed and when I did get back to Ohio for a visit, I decided to look up Cousin Charlie. It wasn’t difficult to find him as he was attending church where our friend was now the pastor. When we got together we found out blood really is thicker than water and we had the same basic beliefs, the same books on our shelves and many of the same guns. Charlie was also a shooter and hunter and his passion was groundhogs, which we call rock chucks. He kept a record and had taken over more than 10,000.

The years passed again and Cousin Charlie wound up in a nursing home where he lasted a few more years. Meanwhile, his two boys had grown up, married and had families. One of them moved to Colorado.

Today

Fast forward to the present. My granddaughter Katie is married to Tyler who is an apprentice lineman with just a few hours to go to complete his apprenticeship. A few years ago they sold their home and bought a fifth-wheel travel trailer that allowed them to travel from job to job. Katie also works for a company doing billing and payroll that allows her to do everything online so her office is in the trailer and goes wherever they go.

This past winter was especially brutal and Tyler was laid off for several months. He was called back to work in early March, they hooked up the fifth wheeler and headed for Colorado. The first week there Katie drove to one of the small towns and found a quilt shop.

As Katie entered the shop she noticed business cards on the counter which said: “Rachel Taffin, Quilter.” She asked the clerk about it and was informed Rachel was actually in the store at the time. Katie went to talk to her and told her she was also a Taffin and told her about her Papa.

Rachel asked Katie if her grandfather was the man who wrote gun articles. As they talked some more, they discovered Rachel was married to Cousin Charlie’s grandson. They made arrangements to get together the following Sunday for dinner and they called me and asked a lot of family questions. How did they get together? How did these two girls find each other in a population of 300 million? Coincidence? I don’t think so!

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