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Strange Things: Sometimes coincidence overwhelms skepticism


DO YOU BELIEVE in coincidence?

Me, I’m pretty skeptical. But sometimes …..

Back in the spring of 2007 my late wife went to a Relay for Life event and came home with some rubber purple bracelets with the word “HOPE” impressed into the band. She put one on her wrist and put one on mine. Don’t take it off, she said.

Jane was a cancer patient and was very supportive of Relay for Life events and the people involved.

I promised her I would never remove the bracelet.

She died in July of that year.

I never removed that purple band. Until Sunday when it just fell apart (so technically, I didn’t remove it).

Sunday would have been our 45th anniversary.

Sometimes I’m skeptical about coincidence, and sometimes I’m not.

DO YOU BELIEVE in coincidence?

This episode reminded me of the time a more-or-less famous Arkansas psychic named Carol Pate came to speak to the Nashville Rotary Club.

There was a pretty big turnout because Carol had been in the news a bunch with some highly-publicized murder and disappearance cases she was working on with the state police.

Anyway, Carol put on an interesting talk. Near the end, she spoke about a radio station manager in Conway who had died suddenly and young, and whose ghost kept appearing to employees at the station.

His coffee cup would move when no one was looking. Employees reported seeing his reflection in a big interior window. Other weird stuff like that. They asked Carol for help.

Carol said she walked around the radio station, and told the employees that the man just died too young and wasn’t ready to turn loose of this world yet. She said that the station’s strange occurrences would end soon. And they did, she told us Rotarians.

DO YOU BELIEVE in coincidence?

I told Carol that I was familiar with this story. The young man’s name was Jerry Ball and he grew up in Nashville. Was a childhood friend of mine.

Isn’t that a coincidence, I mentioned to Carol afterward.

“There’s no such thing as coincidence,” she answered.

The hairs stood up on the back of my neck.

I’m still a skeptic.


ANIMAL CRACKERS. A bird feeder in my side yard gets absolutely overwhelmed by blackbirds. They sit in trees and hedges nearby (since the Mothers Day Night Tornado of 2015 I have no trees left in my yard) and they wait for me to fill the feeder.

Then they swoop down in a black cloud and it takes just a jiffy for them to empty that pretty little feeder. They’re real skittish, however, and flee as soon as I step out of the carport near the bird feeder. When they leave, ‘my’ cardinals swoop in quickly and eat as much as they can before the blackbirds come back. When the blackbirds come back, the cardinals surrender.

Here’s why I’m spending so much time with this trivial topic.

My blackbirds are solid black. No other colors or markings. Linda Campbell, my bird-loving neighbor of a half-block away, says she has only redwing blackbirds.

I’m ready for these feathered appetites to move on so that I see the return of the finches and cardinals and other more welcome birds.


THE GOOD EARTH. I’m beginning to believe that we’ll have an early summer. It’s just too early for the lawns to be so green; for the trees to be budding. The jonquil blooms will all be gone by the time the Jonquil Festival in Old Washington gets here. On my Sunday afternoon drive I saw many peach trees in lovely pink bloom. To me, it’s early.

There was a strong ‘El Nino’ current in the Pacific last year (sorry, I do not know how to make my word processor make those special Espanol letter marks). The early and strong El Nino portended a wet and cold winter. Well, the prediction was at least half right — it’s been wet. The El Nino news reports and the Farmers Almanac correctly predicted flooding in California and Texas, but erroneously predicted a snowy winter for the South. You can’t blame just El Nino, however. The Pike County persimmon seeds lied, lied, lied to us, also. The seeds were shaped like spoons, which, I’m reliably told, predicts the use of shovels to clear snow.


THINGS I LEARNED from reading email: Reputation is made in a moment; character is built in a lifetime.


HE SAID: “Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.” WALTER ANDERSON, painter and naturalist


SHE SAID: “Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.” MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, author and lecturer



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