Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Red Threads

"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break." 
--An ancient Chinese belief

I just had a notification from my Time Hop App that talked of a pizza party Mark and I attended six years ago at our friends, Cynthia and David's house. We didn't realize then that we were less than four years away from living in Arden. Cynthia and David invited us and two other couples for pizza making. We were encouraged to bring toppings. I brought homemade goat cheese, homemade barbecue sauce, and caramelized red onions. And it was at this party that we met Joe and Keri del Tufo. We hit it off immediately because, among other things, we both had daughters the same age. It was a lovely evening in the barn for all--except maybe poor David who was doing the dance of grilling the pizzas. Our topping-heaving approach (because everything sounded so good) was at odds with what he knew of how to grill pizzas. But we were buzzed on wine and summer and interesting conversation. One such conversation included Joe and Keri telling us how they how to downsize belongings to move into their enchanted little cottage. "You need to see this house," Cynthia, ever the realtor, told us. Little did we or the del Tufos know she would be selling it to us in a few years. Little did I know that Keri had an aversion to both goat cheese and onions.

Fast forward six years on that same date and we found that those same people were around our tables on our front patio of the aforementioned enchanted cottage. Add a few more couples. It was an impromptu gathering that we called happy hour but just meant that we would have grazing foods and not something that typified a meal. Corn and artichoke stuffed jalapeños, Sweet heat turkey meatballs, bruschetta, homemade salsa and chips, cucumber salad, fruit salad, venison bologna, and several growlers of beer that Mark had purchased that afternoon from Tired Hands Brewery near where he works. The bottles of rosé people had brought were largely untouched.

The next night, Mark and I felt a little bored after our impromptu party, but could think of nothing to do. We decided we would grill some salmon and drink the rosé and get a little snockered on wine and fireflies. (We don't really have many fireflies, but Mark lit several torches and lanterns). After we had eaten, we were sitting with our wine when we noticed a couple who had ridden bikes down our road. The road ends at our house where it enters the woods. It was twilight, and it seemed as through the man and woman were considering whether to continue on into the forest.  They turned and saw us. We waved and walked over to them with our glasses of wine in hand. I recognized Mhairi (pronounced Mary). She had been sewing fair banners in the Gild Hall when I stopped in on some business the day before.  She introduced her husband Stuart. The two of them, along with their daughter Lindsay had just moved to Arden a few weeks earlier. Originally from Scotland, but having been in this country many years, they came to Delaware the way many people do--because of a job with DuPont. We invited them to share our rosé abundance. They stayed almost two hours, and it was as though we had a hole in our schedules (and extra rosé) just for this purpose.  Being that Mhairi and Stuart are aspiring chocolatiers,  I brought out Wilbur Buds from our native Lititz. This surprised Mark. He didn't realize we had a stash in the house.

And it is like this that the red threads connect us in a way that feels both random and pre-destined. I think back to chance encounters I have had with people. Sometimes only once. The man on the airplane to New Orleans in 1998 who had such fear of flying that he was quaking but whose job, setting up self-checkouts at grocery stores (I had never heard of such a thing), meant that he had to fly several times a month. The woman I met while in the chair at the hair salon who became a fast friend. The two artist mamas I met online on a SARK message board but who embodied not only red threads but lifelines. And even meeting Mark. Such a thing necessitated that his parents move their family twice--from Michigan to Nebraska and from Nebraska to Pennsylvania-- and finally settle in a hometown that had been home to my family for generations. All for a job at Kellogg's.

Today, I don't want to think too much about why things happen the way they do. Thinking about it might wear away its magic. Instead, I think I'll just take a moment to be grateful for red threads, pink wine, grilled pizza, corn flakes, and chocolate.

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