It was the late 1960s and the fashion scene was bold. Flower Power was in, “these boots were made for walking,” and mini-skirts were up to there. Mamas were not happy, daddies were embarrassed and boyfriends were celebrating!
Since I sewed most of my clothes, we only shopped for special outfits. The ultimate must-haves were a John Romain handbag, London Fog raincoat, Weejun shoes, and a LadyBug or Villager outfit.
These more traditional clothes were located next to a trendy section called Serendipity. I didn’t have a clue what serendipity meant, but it sounded really cool and I wanted to be really cool (trust me, I was about as far from cool as one could be). When I got home from shopping I pulled out the Miriam Webster, and basically serendipity means “luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that were not looked for.”
In other words, serendipity is an unexpected pleasant surprise. Since then, I’ve been a fan and recipient of serendipity.
This Thursday, I awakened at an indecent hour to catch an airline flight. Without boring you with details, everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I had three different opportunities to practice “line patience” due to a glitch in the ticket. By the time it was resolved, I arrived at the gate just in time to get on the plane before the door closed. I stuffed my roll-aboard in the last vacant spot, disappointed that I didn’t have an opportunity to remove my devotion book, “Jesus Calling.” I needed a little devotion time after the early chain-of-events.
As I located my seat (toward the back and in the middle of the row, of course), I settled in between two young people. The young lady on my left was closing her book. Imagine my surprise when it was “Jesus Calling.” It was a gift from her granddad and she had just completed her daily reading. Of course, she shared and conversation began.
For the remainder of the flight we chatted, took cat naps, and read other books. She was on a weekend vacation and starting with a visit to the Denver Art Museum and the Clyfford Still Museum. Courtney studied Still’s work and was excited to experience the art first-hand. I made a discreet e-mail to my friend and chauffeur, Betty. I knew Betty well enough to know that if our schedule permitted, there would be nothing she would like more than showing off her beloved city. That’s how Courtney and I found ourselves outside the mile-high terminal, hopping in the car with Betty and spending the next 45 minutes or so receiving a drive-by tour of Denver’s landmarks.
As we drove, we both shared with Betty how serendipitous our meeting was. We felt that we were meant to become friends and share a bit of the journey. I told Courtney that I also called these moments “God Winks.” Those are the moments in life that you know that you are exactly where you are intended to be. Doors seem to open, luck seems to go your way, and a sense that all is right with the world embraces you. I love those moments.
We also learned more about our young friend. Courtney Denis lives in Atlanta and recently finished GMCU with an art degree. She’s back home teaching art in an after-school program in Fulton and Cobb Counties. She’s decided to become a teacher while she established herself as a name in the art community. I have no doubt she will excel at both.
She realized a noticeable difference between children attending schools in more affluent areas and those from impoverished communities. She said that the kids from the former group were loud, attention-demanding, and expecting lots of praise for their work. She noticed children from lesser means were very shy, hid their work and had difficulty making eye contact with her. Courtney saw the difference in self-esteem and confidence between these groups and hopes that through the world of art she will bring unexpected joy and value to the lives of all her students.
Oh yeah, I think she will be a serendipitous force in this world. You go, girl!
Garrett, a Carroll County resident and an author, writes a weekly column for the Times-Georgian.