Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Strangers are just friends we haven't met.

It will be a week tomorrow since my daughter's surgery.  Happily she is on the mend and getting around much better now that the heavy duty pain meds are only taken before therapy sessions.   Although the day she had surgery was quite a long day and sitting in waiting rooms can be quite tiring it was not all bad.  I met a very nice woman whom I had quite a long visit with and this chance meeting is entirely credited to her very outgoing personality. 

I had been sitting in the waiting room only a short time after Julie was taken to the pre-op room when someone gently tapped me on the shoulder.  I looked up to see an older lady (somewhere in my age range) smiling down at me.  She said she noticed I was also waiting on someone having surgery and had just learned about a hamburger place down the road and invited me to go with her for some lunch.  I declined the invitation as my son-in-law and I had just finished a late breakfast but I was so struck by her friendliness.  I have always been a little shy with strangers and so I admired her straight forward friendliness wishing I could be more like her. 

Later when she returned from lunch she immediately struck up a conversation.  She had a youthful quality about her inspite of her obvious gray hair and facial lines.  She was tall and slender with a boyish haircut.  She wore a plaid work shirt over a plain white tank top and khaki pants rolled at the hem.  She had an Annie Hall quality about her.  

Within minutes I learned that she was a horse woman and that she and her husband (who was having shoulder surgery) owned a horse ranch about 50 miles from where I live.  She and her husband moved there from Utah about seven years prior.  I asked what brought her from Utah to the small town in Oklahoma and she immediately replied, "horses".  She had always wanted to raise horses and it seems that Purcell, Oklahoma is well known horse country.  (I had no idea)

She told me about her love affair with horses but how the economy had pretty much forced a decision to get out of the business.  She was preparing to transport her last 3 horses to Amsterdam to deliver them to their new owners.  She and her husband would then be moving to their rental home in Florida.  When she told me the horses would travel by air to Amsterdam I was astounded.  It had never occurred to me that livestock flew on jets (duh).  She said that a jetliner can carry up to 16 horses at one time.  She and her husband will be flying as the grooms for their horses, staying in the cargo area with them for the entire flight and feeding and watering them every 30 minutes.   She said that this will allow them to fly for free round trip.  On the trip back they will fly in business class as they will be considered temporary employees of the airline.  

I found all this so fascinating as I had never heard of such a thing.  She then told me that she and her husband plan to continue taking trips as grooms in order to provide a means to travel around the world.  

We talked for about 3 hours and I learned she had had two knee replacements (on the same knee) and got the name of her doctor who came highly recommended.  

She told me of her 175 pound weight loss and how hard she had worked to try to avoid the knee surgery (but to no avail).  She was just one of the friendliest and most interesting people I have met in a long time.  

Our conversation was interrupted when we were called back to the recovery room to sit with my daughter.  I never got a chance to even exchange names but she turned a long, tiring day into an opportunity to make a new friend and learn something new to boot.  I guess the moral is to keep your eyes open for those opportunities as you will know never what you might otherwise miss.


Arkansas Patti said...

What a delightful exchange and such an interesting person. I love those types of meetings for you can learn so much.
The flying as a groom was really a novel way to fly. Sorry though that the economy is hurting the horse industry.
Lucky for you as she certainly made the tedious waiting so much easier. Wonderful post.
So glad your daughter is doing so well.

Linda said...

I don't know anything about horses or grooming but I'm out the door to find out. Wow, what a novel idea.

I just love those kind of meetings, except I'm always the outgoing one, sometimes to outgoing. People will tell me anything.

kenju said...

How nice to find someone so compatible and interesting to share your waiting time, which is always hard, at best. Glad to know your daughter is doing well.

Olga said...

It's sad that they have to give up the horses, but interesting that their "horse sense" will allow them to travel. Who knew horses flew on planes?
So glad to hear that your daughter is doing well.