Encountering the Unexpected

Today’s post comes from Renee in North Dakota

Husband dines on Mexican food prepared in back of Pakistani-owned tobacco shop on a North Dakota Indian reservation.

He tells owner “We make chapatis and lamb curry”, and shows book of Arabic poetry.

Owner translates, then recites poetry in Urdu, and challenges Husband to read the Koran.

When have you encountered the unexpected? 

71 thoughts on “Encountering the Unexpected”

  1. When my mother died, my father was utterly bereft of reasons to go on living. So we began taking him out to give him something to do besides grieving. Our first outing was to Chang O’Hara’s Bistro, not far from my home in Saint Paul, to listen to Dixieland jazz.

    Think about that. Chang is (I think) Chinese. O’Hara is Irish. Bistro is French. Saint Paul is Midwestern. Dixieland jazz is from from New Orleans. And someone once told me the owner of the place was Mexican.

    Some people encompass similar unexpected diversity. Scroll up a few inches to the images of people who “like” Renee’s blog today. Click on the third image from the right, the one for “chiharumon.”

    Liked by 5 people

  2. In the “it’s a small world” category – once on a cogwheel train up the side of the Jungfrau mountain in the middle of Switzerland I met a family who lives about 10 blocks from me.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. saw that
        i was thinking that mankato and rochester have been getting more than your fair share of newsmaking weather in recent and not socrecent memory. last couple of years it seems

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You wouldn’t like the weather just forecast for Portland. I grin when I read their extreme weather warnings. They are panicky messages written in all-caps. We apparently can expect a freezing rain tomorrow that will morph into a thawing rain. The anticipated results are icy roads, downed trees, downed utility lines, a power outage . . . all to be followed by floods. Sounds “biblical” to me? When do the locust hordes show up?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. i love pizza and pay the price for gluten and dairy but gluten free non dairy pizza just aint the same at all
          vegan cheese is interesting but its like the replacement for sex, its just not the same

          Liked by 2 people

  3. at sams club yesterday
    i was buying a 50 lb bag if onions from sams club and the checkout lady asked “what are you going to cook with all those onions?” i told her “everything” she said “me too” “and are you a garlic person?” she asked “yep sure am” “oh when i lived kenya they had great food and when i worked in a neighborhood clinic in town there were 42 languages spoken and i got the best food from people whovwould bring treats” i meet people who i would love to have coffee with everywhere i go. i expect the unexpected. my kids eant to know how i do it, “no one else has these conversations”. “yes they do, we are a secret society and talk amongst each other all the time”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Loved Morgan’s. My first time in there the owner complained he couldn’t get good flat bread because “these young girls don’t know how to make it.” As he said that, he pointed to a toothless crone sitting on a stool. She grinned amiably and said, “I’m too young to bake it!”

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Renee, you should read “Britt-Marie Was Here” to meet the Pizza place owned by Somebody that also is a beauty parlor, coffee shop, bar, auto body shop, and UPS delivery place..

    Liked by 3 people

    1. i was in that store 5-10 west of winona on those winding roads throgh the hills. it was run by the mayor. i was there to talk to him about carrying a line of plastic rain gutters i had for the hardware store part of the shop.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I just had an unexpected experience. I have this thing happen to me in which I suddenly will have somebody from my life on my mind. Often it is someone I have not seen or heard from in years. That occurred in December when we got here. I started thinking about a co-worker I knew many moons ago after encountering a town in Arizona with his last name. So I sent him a Christmas letter while I sent out the rest of them, thinking, “I wonder what he is up to?”

    Friday night while Lou and I were making our way to Central Phoenix to meet our daughter for supper, he called. We chatted a while. Then he says, “Jacque, I am in Mesa!” This is 10 miles south of where we are. We are hoping to get together for a cuppa coffee, but he has company right now.

    I was not surprised to think about him, or even hear from him–that happens to me a lot. But 10 miles away when we both live in MN?

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Robin and I were out for a walk around the neighborhood one morning and, in crossing a side street, passed an elderly lady coming the other way. We said hello and made some pleasant comment, probably about the weather. She responded with something other than perfunctory and we struck up a conversation on the corner that lasted more than an hour.

    She had originally lived in Detroit and only came to live here with her son when her husband died. Her father had worked for Henry Ford and she herself had met Ford when she was a little girl. Her husband had been an architectural photographer named Balthazar Korab.
    When Korab was younger, he studied architecture in Paris with Le Corbusier. After he emigrated to the U.S., he was hired by Eeno Saarinen as a photographer to document his projects. He had been invited by Frank Lloyd Wright to join him at Taliesin. He had photographed for National Geographic and a set of his photos had been acquired by the Library of Congress.

    In 1966, he and his family were living in Florence when the Arno River flooded and he had documented the efforts to rescue books and manuscripts from the flood waters. Returning to the U. S., the family had come by ship. Because they were traveling with children, they were seated at meals with other passengers with children. Among those passengers was John Lennon and his son Julian. I remarked to this woman, whose name was Monica, that her life sounded to me like the Woody Allen movie, “Zelig”.

    She told me that once when she and her husband were in Paris, they went to the Louvre on a rainy day and were wandering around casually. She came down a staircase and found herself face to face with Che Guevara.

    All this from a chance encounter in the neighborhood. You just never know.

    Liked by 8 people

      1. I was afraid I might have told it before, but couldn’t recall.
        We haven’t seen Monica since and don’t have contact information. We know where she lives, but haven’t had sufficient reason to knock on her door.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. No harm done, Bill. It’s a great story, and it bears repeating. My recollection of it was vague enough that I wouldn’t have been able to tell you any of the details, but I could nod in recognition as you revealed them. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  7. We did not invite our Son’s twin godfathers to his wedding in San Diego. We did not want to burden them with the trip or giving a gift. Turns out one of the twins was not only in San Diego that day but was also in Balboa Park, where the wedding was held.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The Trail was unexpected. I read it for a while before I dared to make a comment and was surprised to encounter a pleasant welcome. And meeting the baboons IRL (in real life) was also pleasant, although that pleasantness wasn’t as big a surprise since I had already “met” you here on the trail.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I, for one, am glad you decided to join in.
      It brings to mind, though, something I’ve wondered about: just how many and how diverse are the lurkers who follow this blog at least occasionally and how did they find us? From time to time I get a notice that someone, often from another country, has “liked” some post of mine from weeks or months previous.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Well, here’s how I found it. I had been a listener of the morning show, but had lost track of it (due to life circumstances I wasn’t able to listen to it as much as I had in the early days). One day, it popped into my head to look up whatever happened to Dale and Jim Ed. I found this blog and was intrigued by the witty, funny, friendly conversations I found here.

        It seems doubtful that more recent followers find the blog in the same way, now that TLGMS is but a distant memory.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have been surprised at the number of international readers this place attracts. I’m not sure they read all the comments, but they read the initial post. I am impressed when someone from another culture can connect with this blog . . . originally a bunch of Minnesotans chatting about folk music. Some of them are intriguing people I’d like to meet in person.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Well, I meant regular as a contrast to majestic and glamorous. In my book, that’s a compliment, since I assume majestic and glamorous people are also arrogant and no fun, and was not intended to indicate a lack of delightful individuality.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Pleasant weather today is unexpected. We were supposed to get freezing rain then 2 inches of snow. Nothing as of yet. It is still down by Iowa. My squirrels are very active in the warm weather. Running up and down, over and across, in circles.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. We moved around a bit when I was a kid, and I went to 3 different grade schools in Storm Lake, IA, before moving to Marshalltown for 6th grade and beyond. By the time I was out of college I had run into about 6 of my Storm Lake classmates – and only one of them in a college class (which you might expect at Iowa State). When student teaching in Des Moines, Eugene G. knocked on our apartment door selling something-or-other. I ran into Sherry W. when standing in line at Green Gables (restaurant) in Sioux City while visiting my grandma. I ended up student teaching in the same school as a friend’s mom (who had by then moved to DM)… I think the 6 degrees of separation is probably real.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In my bizarre online-dating years I dated a woman about your age who grew up in Marshalltown. What are the odds of you two knowing each other? Alas, I don’t know her maiden name. First name: Barbara. She was blonde, 5′ 4″ and fond of earthy stories.

      Also in the line of “small world” stories, when I showed my house to the couple who eventually rented an upstairs room for a while, my erstwife was visiting. It turned out that the wife of the renting couple knew my erstwife from high school. It also turned out–although nobody said so when they had that surprise reunion in my living room–they hadn’t liked each other when they were teenagers.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. OT: We have your freezing rain, Clyde – stepped out to go to my mom’s hit a sheet of ice on the way to the garage, turned back around and I’m hibernating till this stuff melts – been watching cars skid as they break at the stop sign across the street…


      1. yep i went down a couple weeks ago and it hurt for 2 weeks (hey thats why it still hurts to get up after being stationary for a while, yeah thats it thats it)
        it was in a busy shopping area crawling with old people but 2 hours after most of the stores closed. ill bet they were good in the morning but clean shoveled sidewalks that get frozen or covered with freezing rain are tretcherous
        my first wife walked ot on a frehely shoveled sidewalk after i hopped on a plane to china at 8 months of pregnancy and snapped her leg. looked fine bt was glare ice. the abulence driver went down when they came to get her.


    1. yes, i just went to the neighbors to feed and hang out with their cat while they’re out of town. i made it back without falling, but only because whenever possible i walked through the snow instead of on the sidewalk (and because where it was slippery, i leaned forward with arms out for balance and took baby steps). it is Very Slippery!

      Liked by 1 person

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