Monday, May 16, 2005

"Fancy meeting you here!"

Serendipity. Fate. Karma. What have you. "It's a small world." Who first came up with that phrase, and why?

Recently, I contacted a travel writer for American Cowboy magazine in hopes of having him come to the Official Gunsmoke 50th Anniversary Celebration, thereby giving us some great press coverage. Turns out, he can't come, but he was nice enough to answer my email. His name is Alan Wilkinson and he lives in England. I had previously visited his web site and commented to him about the book he wrote as an apparent dig at the all powerful Manchester United football side. That's *football*, folks. Not American armored battle, but the kind of "futbol" the rest of the world plays. As John Cleese so aptly put it, the English don't generally call a match a "World Championship" unless they have invited at least one team from another country to participate.

Anyway, Alan and I got to discussing "footie" via email and we realized that we had both attended matches at Craven Cottage (Fulham's - my team - home pitch) in the late 1960s.
Hell! We could have stood there in the stands shoulder to shoulder and not realized it! It got me to thinking about the "small world" phrase.

A number of times over my 60 years of life, I've had the experience of meeting someone only to find that we have been somewhere, or done something with such proximity that we only just barely kept from becoming acquainted. This affords me some feelings of at least remote kinship with these people and is a sure way to establish a quick friendship. Does everyone have these experiences? I would think that they do but I've never really looked into it. It does seem unlikely that there are people who spend their entire life cruising around through life without ever meeting anyone of a kindred spirit that they only "just missed" meeting before. If this is pervasive as I think it must be, then the phrase "It's a small world" would seem quite prophetic!!

I think it is a blessing. It allows us to appreciate again those things we enjoyed before when times were good. By the same token, it also allows us to know that when things were bad, there was someone of kindred spirit there to share them with us so that the event doesn't seem quite so bad in retrospect. For instance, I've run into a couple of people over the years who were (without either of us knowing it) in very close proximity to me during various unpleasant military ventures. Sharing our common experience and wonderment of having been so close to meeting each other somehow puts a much different light on the misery!

It is with great enjoyment, then that I can repeat the cliche - "It's a small world!" Cheers to all who have shared it with me!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

More on Historic Dodge City and the Old West

I want to share with you a quote, for all the folks out there that are really negative about Dodge City. You know... This is for all the folks who don't think we can ever amount to anything... For those who think Dodge City isn't a tourist destination... For those who think we need some more ball fields, horse barns...etc. while our history crumbles away. It comes from a young lady in Denver who shall remain nameless although she gave me permission to attach her name if I wanted to.

"Thanks so much for trying to help keep the real AND ficititious citizens of Dodge in the Limelight... Both are important and draw attention to Dodge City, KS and if folks don't realize that, well then they're missing something!! There are people all over the world who know about Dodge City and believe me, it;s a lot about Wyatt Earp AND Matt Dillon!! And for some, all about Matt Dillion! I see no reason why Dodge can't focus on BOTH and keep the spirit of the Old West alive while still becoming whatever else Dodge wants to become for the future! That Old West spirit is still around in all of us Americans so we should celebrate it!!"

I think she just about sums it all up. For all of you out there that still don't "get it", talk to people from elsewhere in the world. They'll tell you how important Dodge City is. They'll let you know what you are missing - what you are quite literally trying to ignore and forget about this marvelously historic little town that we live in.

Got it? Good. Now get out and do something for Dodge City and the Old West before we ship you all off to live in Bayonne, New Jersey!