Book Recommendations, Relationships

Sometimes, It’s the People Pt.2

My husband and I attend the National Book Festival to discover new books and hear the stories of authors. And, hopefully, collect the current National Book Festival poster. And other freebies.

Another reason for attending (September 2008)

In 2016, I had the privilege to meet a favorite author, Katherine Paterson.

With Katherine Paterson (September 2016)

On Saturday, I unexpectedly met another favorite author, Gary Schmidt. (See here and here.) I purchased a duplicate book so he could sign it.

With Gary Schmidt (August 2023)

Although my husband and I did not seek to have meaningful conversations with strangers, it happened. Three times. I think I would have new, good friends if these women lived closer, or if, perhaps, I had asked their full names. Twice in a row, I have experienced events in which I will fondly remember engaging with strangers.

Who are you meeting?


Sometimes, It’s the People

Hawksbill Overlook, Shenandoah July 2023

My husband and I vacation in the Shenandoah for the quiet, the scenery, and not the people. Definitely, not the people. My favorite trip was when we were forced to slow down and savor the flora and fauna. (See here.)

However, last month’s trip might tie with our favorite because of the people. We like the off-season, but peak season means ranger-led programs. We went to as many as possible, and so did others.

We had meaningful conversations with strangers—conversations that continued at the next trail or gift shop or parking lot meeting. Fun conversations. Serious conversations. A 2021 through hiker dubbed us Father Shenandoah and Mother Shenandoah because we gave her our biased opinions about waterfalls and overlooks instead of hedging.

When we saw her and her friend later, she said they had hoped to see us again. “Had we ever seen a bear?” Yes, a mother and two cubs in 1983, and another in 2009.

I could picture us hugging our new acquaintances if our paths crossed another year or in another park.

Along the way, I am being surprised by enjoying strangers—many strangers.

Who are you enjoying these days?