I’ve had a really great week of spending time with some wonderful women. I’ve caught up with two friends from Kansas City by phone, had three breakfasts or lunches with local friends, and exchanged phone numbers with someone I was recently reacquainted with, that I am looking forward to getting to know better. I am so blessed to have all of these ladies in my life. But perhaps my favorite encounter of the week came in a serendipitous moment, or as Eli Wallach’s character Arthur Abbot referred to it in the movie The Holiday, a “meet cute.”
There is an antique mall close to where we live that many times I have driven past and thought, “I want to stop there,” but I was always going somewhere else. Not long ago, I finally made it my destination, and it did not disappoint. The majority of the booths truly are antiques or at least interesting pieces. I have been back a few times since, and it has become my favorite place to “get lost.”
About a month ago, I stopped in and bought a flow blue vegetable dish that I fell in love with upon sight. After a small amount of research, I was able to learn the pattern name and that the bowl was more than 120 years old.
That same day, I saw a picture that also caught my eye that looked like it was somewhere in Europe. I immediately thought, “Where would I put it, and would I need to have it reframed to go with the rest of my décor,” so I left without it. Shortly after, we left on a seven day trip and shortly after that was Thanksgiving. While I haven’t had the chance to go back, I’ve never stopped thinking about it.
Yesterday, I was heading out to run some errands, and as I got in my car to leave, once again I thought about the picture. I got to the street and without hesitation turned right to head to the store. It’s in a busy area, but as I arrived, there was a parking spot right in front. A good sign, right? I went in the store and headed straight for the booth and table where the picture had been, and it wasn’t there. Upon further observation, I realized that the booth was actually quite large and the same woman owned all of the merchandise in it. Each item had a business card on it that said “Mary…” I went back to the beginning of the booth where the aisle began and slowly looked up and down, hoping the picture had been moved. I got about half way down the aisle and I heard a sweet voice say, “Let me know if I can answer any questions.” I looked up to find this beautiful woman dressed in a blue and green plaid coat with a scarf to match. And I said, “Oh, is this your booth?” To which she replied, “Yes, I’m Mary.” I told Mary about the picture and she helped me look, but said she couldn’t specifically remember what it looked like, and after a while we determined that it was supposed to belong in someone else’s home. Mary and I continued to talk and she told me how this was her and her husband’s retirement hobby. He was the shopper, going to estate sales, garage sales, etc. and then she took over from there, placing everything in their booth. The conversation flowed from home décor to European travel to my mom and faith and how could anyone live without it. She was like this person that I was just supposed to meet. Even though I was disappointed about the picture, I loved talking to this warm, interesting woman. We eventually said our goodbyes and she left and I decided to do a quick walk through to see if anything new had arrived since the last time I was there. I had seen a pretty glass dish when I walked in that I wanted to look at again, and I found a crock with blue stripes that I wanted to inquire about the price as it was missing.
I finished my browsing and began walking toward the front of the store to the register. I glanced to my right and almost gasp out loud when I saw my picture. Mary’s booth actually rounded the corner and I didn’t realize it and hadn’t looked there. I grabbed it, and it was actually more beautiful than I had remembered. I wanted so much for Mary to still be there so she knew I had it, but instead, I had to leave her a note at the register.
I love the picture so much. It’s hard to believe I left it the first time, but if I hadn’t, or if I would have immediately found it upon arriving at the store, I would have never met Mary. Sometimes things happen the way they’re supposed to.