According to Wikipedia, serendipity means a “happy accident” or “pleasant surprise”; a fortunate mistake. Specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically not searching for it.

Personally, I love serendipitous events and go through life analyzing them.  They have changed my life’s story completely, but I want to stick to the subject at hand.

This finding a friend experience occurred just this past February.  Another friend, Norma Huff, had taken me to La Petite Auberge in Fredericksburg, my favorite restaurant for my birthday.   Coincidentally, this happened to be the same day, this murdering maniac was on the loose in Fredericksburg in my area of town, and I was upset by it.  This fellow had allegedly murdered two older people in Warrenton, stole their car, ditched it on Lafayette Blvd, and then tried to hurt another older person in Morningside.  (I love this part of the story.  The man with the oxygen tank konked him in the head and ran across the street and called 911)  But this maniac was still out there and I saw right before lunch channel 6 news showing police dogs sniffing around the Braehead Woods sign.

So I was talking about this to Norma at lunch.  The restaurant tables are close and my voice is loud.  With my husband’s artillery hearing loss, I was used to talking loud and still can’t change it apparently.  The lady at the next table heard me and said, “Oh my, I am staying in a downtown hotel, and my car is on the street, and I wonder how safe is it out there.”  I told her that she was as safe, barring the usual precautions, and that the maniac was presumably on my side of town.

She started asking Norma and I questions about where in town to look for housing near downtown,  because she was considering moving here.    At this point, I was a little anxious that the conversation was taking away from my gracious friend that took me to lunch, but we both answered her questions the best we could.

Now anyone that knows me, knows this fact about me.  I love to talk.  I can talk to anyone about anything, anywhere.  I am well read, and know current events, and don’t even get me started on my real areas of expertise where I can go on for hours.

Much to my chagrin, old friends had me to lunch this summer, and I talked non stop for about 3 hours.  I promised I wouldn’t do that again.

Anyway, after about 10 minutes of talking to this stranger, our lunch was over.  And we told her where and how to drive in the easiest way to look at Fredericksburg.  But as I got up, it dawned on me how hard it would be to look and drive  in an unfamiliar city with one way streets and weird traffic patterns.  And I liked this woman and her soft-spoken ways.  Having been a psychiatric nurse, I am an expert in reading body language, and analyzing people, and felt her to be someone I would like to get to know.

Since I wasn’t doing anything that afternoon, I offered to show her Fredericksburg.  I have always enjoyed showing visitors the area, because I am proud of my adopted city of 40 plus years, full of history and interesting places.  I drove her the next 4 hours and showed her every inch of Fredericksburg.  We concentrated where she might want to rent and spread out from there.  We ended up back downtown across from the train station where I said, here is a group of town homes right in downtown.  In fact, I had a close friend that lived there, and called her and she had us over. We spent another 1 and a half hours talking about our lovely town in my friend’s home.

Now this woman had met two people in Fredericksburg.  After the entire day, I really liked this woman from Williamsburg that wanted to live in Fredericksburg.  She offered to take me to dinner, but I declined, but she insisted on taking me to lunch the next day.  Every minute now we spent together seemed to part of the building blocks of friendship.  We exchanged phone numbers and emails, and went back to our regular lives.

She told me in an email, she definitely wanted to relocate here, but was not quite ready.  Meanwhile, she had visited again and took both me and my friend that had in her home to dinner back at the French restaurant.

About six weeks later, I took a short trip to Williamsburg on a whim and wanted to stay at the resort at Kingsmill.  I was interested in their outdoor swimming pool and the views of the James River.  The morning another friend and I left, it dawned on me that the name Kingsmill sounded familiar, and I emailed my new friend in the making and the answer was, “yes she lived there and could meet us for dinner.”  IMG_1198

Suzanne, Delia, and myself

So we did have dinner together, and now this new friend had met 2 people besides myself in the Fredericksburg area.

Months past and about 3 weeks ago, my new friend, Suzanne, called and said she was ready to find a place to rent.  Well, I started watching the paper, Craig’s list, and online real estate sites, and if she saw a place that was interesting, I drove by and checked it out.  I took pictures that a friend and not a real estate agent would take to weed out the places that she wouldn’t like.  This went on a couple of weeks.

We have spent hours on the telephone talking about this area and ourselves.  I told her that it gave me a lot of joy to do this for her, because I spend a lot of time studying  and advocating in the field of medicine and hard topics involving life and death, and this was a joyous distraction.

A few days ago, Suzanne came to Fredericksburg again, taking my friend and I to lunch back at La Petite while looking at a house that might just be the one she moves into.   We got to meet her delightful friend from Williamsburg that came with her and I liked her instantly.

All in all,  I found this new friend  because of a lunch in February where I was talking loudly.  Those connections we make that start out as a ripple in a pond can expand our circle of friends in an exponential  way.  All of this reminds me of that old saying I learned in girl scouts many moons ago.  “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”

Suzanne is moving to Fredericksburg today.

Now I get to introduce her to not only my beloved adopted city in a big way, but also to many people and places I know.  How serendipitous is that?