Defying the Odds in the Diner.

On Wednesday morning, somewhere in North Dakota, I was ushered to a table in the westbound Empire Builder’s dining car where I joined a couple perhaps in their early sixties. They had just begun their meal and, after the usual first name introductions–they were Bill and Nancy–he asked where I was from.
I said I was originally from Connecticut, but have been living in Hawaii for more than 50 years.
Bill said, “That’s where we’re from.”
I was surprised, thinking he meant they were from Hawaii, but he quickly said, no, they were also from Connecticut–a little town just north of Hartford.
After a bit more Q and A, we were all stunned to realize that Bill and his Nancy–total strangers not two minutes before–live next door to the old Victorian house in Granby, Connecticut, where both my father and my grandfather were born and where I spent many weekends right up until I went away to college.
Of course we lingered and talked for quite a while because they are on very friendly terms with the people who now own my grandfathers house and they had learned quite a lot about the Loomis Family.
Later, back in my roomette, I couldn’t stop wondering at the incredible coincidence . . . and not just that the three of us happened to be on the same train on the same day and having breakfast at the same time. But what if, for instance, the dining car attendant had just shown me to an empty seat in one of the other tables?
I also thought about how–according to many of Amtrak’s dining car staff–there’s at least one sleeping car passenger on almost every long-distance trip, who doesn’t want to share a table with strangers and, instead, insists on having the car attendant bring all his or her meals to their accommodations . . . and that’s such a shame!
I don’t know if this incident strikes you as incredible and as unbelievable as it did the three of us at breakfast in that dining car … but when I get to Seattle, I’m going to buy a bunch of lottery tickets!