Sunday, 8 November 2015
Coincidences happen all the time. For the most part we just smile and say: 'Wasn't that a coincidence?' Two events occur at precisely the same time and we're dumfounded. Of course there's the story about three clergymen, a Catholic priest, a Baptist minister and a Rabbi, who lived on the same street and all bought new cars--at exactly the same time--and got exactly the same make, model and color, all unbeknown to each other. The story goes on about how they individualized them, by the Baptist minister pouring a bucket of water over his car, thus baptizing it; the Catholic Christening his with a vial of Holy Water; and the Rabbi taking a hacksaw and cutting an inch off the end of the tailpipe. Yes, that's getting a little off the storyline but it's still funny.
How about when five of them occur? It might inspire one to go right out there and buy a pile of lottery tickets. This is a true story. Only a couple of names have been changed since the author cannot remember the proper ones.
It was in the late spring, a time when the days were fairly long and the sun was up long before most human members of the animal kingdom were even stirring. Well, 5:00 AM on a Sunday morning anyway. Urban was enjoying a few extra minutes of early morning slumber before having to rise, get dressed and ready to attend church and spend the rest of the day relaxing before enduring another week of punching the time clock. His moments of relaxation were suddenly cut short by the ringing of the telephone.
Urban picked it up, more to keep it from waking his entire household than to actually answer it. Suppressing an oath, he plastered on the best smile he could muster at that audacious time of day and greeted the caller.
"Good morning, Urban," the caller greeted, "this is Father Patrice. I was wondering if Leona could play the organ in church today?"
Urban put off giving Father Patrice a large piece of his mind. After all Father Patrice was not only one of the best Parish priests they had ever had, he was a good friend. And it was Sunday; no doubt the Father was extremely busy and had a lot of work to do before services began.
"Well, Father, she isn't up yet, but I could ask her. She likes to play but she has a long way to go before she could really be up to your standard."
"I thought she was very good," the priest responded, "when she played at that concert in Augusta last Christmas, I was left speechless--"
Urban was puzzled. Augusta? What the heck was Father Patrice talking about? Leona had never played a concert in her life. She had only taken up the organ after their oldest boy had left for college less than a year ago. "Excuse me, Father, but I must be missing something. Augusta? The only Augusta I've heard about is Augusta, Georgia."
A brief pause. "Of course Augusta, Georgia. I was there before transferring to Atlanta."
"Atlanta? Georgia? Father this is going to really sound silly but this is Lethbridge, Alberta, in Canada.
"That's impossible. I just dialled your number from the parish member's list."
"Father Patrice, unless there has been some kind of time warp this morning, I've never set foot in any part of Georgia since the war."
There was a stony silence on both ends of the line while both men collected their thoughts. Father Patrice finally starting speaking again. "What's your area code?"
"It's '403,'" Urban responded.
Father Patrice let out an embarrassed laugh. "My area code is 770 but the code by your name is '404.' I can't believe it; I dial a three instead of a four, and get a parrishner named Urban, who has a wife named Leona, only they're two time zones away. Well tell me, since I'm paying for this phone call, what's the weather like up there?"
So that's got to be Coincidence Extraordinaire. But it actually happened, over forty years ago. I heard that Urban and Leona actually planned a trip to Atlanta to meet the other Father Patrice, and the other Urban and Leona, who had the same telephone number, save for a one-digit difference in the area code.