Retirement Retirement Age Stories

It’s a Small World

It’s a Small World      by Octo G. Enario

“Can you believe this? I just met a fellow here that grew up in the same small town in Wisconsin that I did. Here we are transplants in the South, and we run into each other after 40 years, 40 years! What are the odds?” said one of my fellow gym rats recently. In fact, this is not an uncommon occurrence here in my retirement community of about 2,000 residents. It happens frequently. It’s eerie. Actually, I, myself, have such a story.

A few years ago, in our creative writing group, as each member was reading aloud his “homework,” a new member’s selection included a paragraph about his being stationed in Wurzburg, Germany. “Wurzburg,” I thought,” that’s where I was stationed. We’ll have to talk sometime.”

My fellow veteran had just moved to the community and was surely quite busy settling in. I didn’t want to press him while he was so distracted with the moving details.  I knew what he was going through, having moved here myself only a couple years before. Fortunately, he mentioned he was a dedicated walker, as I am, and so we arranged to walk together one morning.

We did indeed meet one morning, and as we walked and chatted, I noticed an oozing red globule on his chin.
“Oh God, do I ask him about this? Should I just not mention it?” I thought. I didn’t want to embarrass him. What would my diplomatic wife advise? But she wasn’t available to help me at this awkward moment.

Making sure to look everywhere but at the distracting sore, I enjoyed our conversation about our Wurzburg connection. But I was relieved when we neared the end of the walk, as I couldn’t hide my curiosity much longer. We hit it off and agreed to do something else together, maybe next time with our wives.

Spotting me at the clubhouse later in the week, my new friend—sans red globule—confronted me, without greeting, “Why didn’t you tell me about the red stuff on my chin…surely you must have noticed it during our walk?”  

“I…I…didn’t want to embarrass you. I thought you might have some kind of disease,” I replied in a weak defense.

“Well, I WAS embarrassed when I got home and saw myself in the mirror! It was some jelly from the jelly donut I ate for breakfast.”

Since then, we have learned that we have a lot more in common than a city 4,000 miles away.  We especially enjoy telling and retelling our “It’s a Small World” story.