An “Encounter” at Festival


something VERY unusual happened at Quilt Festival and it has nothing to do with the constant rain, or flooding or close encounters with runaway scooters even though all of those things DID happen and WERE unusual!  This involves a very dramatic and amazing encounter with a person I met during the Quilt Festival.
(And just so you know, I’ll acknowledge right up front that there will very likely be a wide difference of opinion about the circumstances I’m getting ready to describe, and that’s OK.)

So here goes… (and I promise I’m not making ANY of this up)
It was Festival Saturday and it was deluging outside. We had had a dickens of a time getting to the Convention Center due to the flooding and the fact that the taxis weren’t operating. The Festival opened at 10 as usual but the foot traffic was way down due to the storm and the News folks begging folks to just stay home for the day.

I was standing at my counter looking up the aisle at a decent crowd of customers who had just rounded the corner when a woman came out of that crowd walking straight toward my booth. This isn’t that unusual. Attendees often have a list of vendors they want to see first and foremost, and they make it a point to go to those booths first, so I didn’t think anything of this until I saw her face and realized that she looked exactly, and I do mean EXACTLY like my grandmother!….

She was smiling, and looking directly at me, and I could feel my legs wobble a bit. And when she said “Good Morning” in that singsong way my grandmother always spoke, I knew my eyes were welling up. When she got to the counter I knew I had to say something or she would think I was some kind of nutjob but my throat was tightening up, so I just said, “Please excuse me, but you look just like my grandmother.”

Just as I heard myself saying those words I instantly regretted it, thinking it might just offend her, but it didn’t bother her at ALL. She smiled broadly and said “Really? Would you like to take my picture?” Which of course I did as you can see (above left). Then she said “Maybe send that to your Mom? It’ll make her feel better today.” She went on to ask me a couple more questions like “what was your grandmother’s name” and such, but I have almost no recollection of them because I was so stunned by her comment about my Mom. Before she left she asked me if I’d like to give her a hug, which I gladly came out of my booth to do and then she left but not before reminding me to “send that picture to your Mom”, and as I watched her walk off and I felt a tinge of sadness as my vision was obscured by other customers and I realized I had never even asked her what her name was.  🙁

Once I “came to my senses” I made note of what struck me as so unusual (weird?) about this encounter (besides of course her physical similarity to my grandmother) so I could tell the story to my husband and of course my Mom.

  • Even though she seemingly came to our booth with purpose, she never once asked me about our products, nor did she seem the least bit interested in any. She only seemed interested in talking to me and making a connection. Why would that be?
  • How did she know that the grandmother she resembled was my Mom’s mother?
  • Why would she want me to send her picture to my Mom?
  • And why would it make my Mom feel better to see her picture?

So… of course I emailed the picture to Mom and she seemed genuinely pleased to say there was an uncanny resemblance to her mother, especially a younger version of her Mom than you see here.

To me she looked most like the Nana I remember from when I was a young girl, when she was in her 40’s or so. I wish I had a better picture of her at that age, but most my pictures have aged and are badly focused. These pictures were taken at her 80th birthday party, with my Mom (above left) and also with my nephew Shawn (below).

It was only after I got home that I realized the full significance of this encounter. As it turns out, my Mother had a car accident that very Saturday. She was fine, no injuries, but cars were damaged, she did get a ticket and it shook her up pretty bad. Additionally she had been VERY worried about our well-being and safety the whole time we were gone. She’s not crazy about us being in Houston anyway… let’s face it, the downtown area CAN be a little sketchy at night, but her concerns were just compounded by  all of those dicey weather reports she was hearing about on national news. And yes, it DID make her feel better to hear my story, a LOT better.

Add to that, the fact that we came an eyelash from a rollover wreck on a rain-soaked interstate (of course) as we were driving home from the airport in NC. We got pushed out of our lane by an 18-wheeler, which sent us fishtailing into the emergency lane and an almost certain date with a downhill embankment. My husband’s a former cop and a fantastic driver, but even he admits that he felt we were supernaturally protected from a horrible outcome that afternoon. I STILL don’t see how he alone pulled us out of that spin.

So there’s my story, which I know leaves mostly questions, and very few certainties…

I ‘ve done a whole LOT of thinking about things since this happened. I’ve talked to quite a few people about the encounter and the subsequent events and I’ve come to certain conclusions, none of which I can prove of course.

But I thought I’d recount the story for you, just to see what YOU think? 
Do you have an opinion about this encounter that you’d like to share? have you ever had a similar experience you’d like to share? If so, please feel free to do so in the space provided below. Please remember however, that we all come from different backgrounds and belief systems and all comments at the very least need to be respectful of that.
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