A Wonderful Succession of Coincidences

P. S. Gifford

© Copyright 2005 by P. S. Gifford


I was feeling a little glum yesterday afternoon as I arrived home and sat down at my computer . A personal matter that had been dragging on for several years was supposed to be favorable concluded that morning, however no such outcome arrived, and indded it shall continue to drag on  for several  more months, and so will the stress accompanying it. So, when I sullenly sat down at my desk to routinely check my email, with a cup of hot tea with ample sugar and milk in front of me I had low expectations of the day. It has been my unfortunate life experience that if one thing goes awry, a short cycle of other set backs shall be destined to promptly  follow.  The old adage that trouble comes in threes surely seems to fit my world. Therefore you can imagine my delight and relief, when I noted that I had received an email from none other than Richard Loller from the Preservation Foundation forwarding a comment on one of my stories, "The Tree of Hope."  The story basically evolves around a childhood memoriy of mine from 1976 invloving the planting of two rows of trees along the  school driveway The anecdote reveals just how significant that tree has been to me over the years, and that it is still there taller and prouder than ever.

The writer of this letter happened to be a present day  teacher at thevery same school who, astonished after doing an internet search with her young daughter, came across my modest little tale, written and typed six thousnad miles away in California (Where I have called home for many years.) The charming letter  further went on to explain that she  has driven past those very rows of trees five days a week  for years and never for a moment considered them anything special, butnow sees them in an entirely new light.  I re-read the email several times as I sat there, smiling broadly, and finished my tea.

Despite the fact that I have lived  in the states for over half of my life I still have and maintain many great friendships in my native England. One of those friends I have known since I was five, whose name, coincidentally also is Paul. (being born in England in the mid sixties there was a very good chance of being called Paul or John, although there weren't too many Ringo's¦) Paul, as so many of my friends did, has chosen to live just half mile  or so of the house he was born and raised in. He is now married  to a wonderful lady and has  two fine young children, and the curious and wonderful thing is his wife, Toni, now works at Whitecrest.

Now, naturally the first thing I did after receiving the email was forward it to her husband and a few minutes ago I received my reply. Apparently Toni who, as is her daily habit, came home for lunch was eagerly informed by her husband of the events. Apparently she could not wait to get back to school that afternoon and tease the person who had sent me that first email.

As Toni so nicely put it she was sat in the staff room with her back to the window, the rest of the staff were chatting amongst themselves but she was quiet so she went over and said: "Have you figured it out yet?"

 She replied bewildered "figured what out?"

 "Which one it is!" Toni said trying desperately not to giggle.

"Which one is what?"  She replied still confused.

"Which one is the tree of hope?"Toni asked , still trying to contain her urge to laugh

Naturally she was completely blown away by the curious set of circumstances Toni proceeded to tell her. What is even more curious is that Toni oldest son is taught by the very person who sent me the email.

I was also delighted to discover that one of my favorite childhood faculty members, Mrs. Miles, also recalls that fateful day, almost thirty years ago, and with amazing clarity. Apparently she recalls a tree was also planted in memory of one of the school faculty who had recently succumbed to cancer.

The final icing on the cake came at the end of the email as the teacher asked my permission to share my little true story, word for word to the entire class assembly. You can imagine what my response was, a resounding yes!

It is wonderful to know that my special tree is going to be acknowledged by so many kids. Just remember when you are having a mundane and ordinary day, that you never can suspect when something extraordinary may suddenly happen, it is just one of the many wonders of the universe.

Contact Paul

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