Yesterday soon after I arrived at home,
I was sent a surprising photo
of my library’s large display window
by someone I know from West Virginia
asking is this your library?
The funny thing is an hour earlier
I took the same photo.
After standing precariously on a ten foot ladder,
I descended to snap my playful placing of the words
“Welcome Candace Fleming,”
before the afternoon swarm of students took over.
In quick time the mystery unfolded.
Candee was giving a two-day teacher training
five doors down the hall from me.
And to think I first connected with Candee in 2007
waiting in line in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
We were both eagerly and anxiously
trying out for the Amazing Race
with our siblings,
my brother Jason and her sister Missy.
It seems strange to say this now,
but the nine-hour wait was a blast.
When it finally came time to audition
Jason and I were like deer in headlights
while Candee and Missy were well choreographed ninja warriors.
Needless to say CBS made a big mistake
when they did not pick either pair for the show.
Several years later
after a rough school year
as a classroom teacher,
I am at the Shenandoah children’s literature conference
in an attempt to drown myself in books.
I see that joyful face, and hear that voice.
She just has this habit of popping into my life.
I would not say we are close
but our conversations are very real, honest and fun.
Over the years we have kept occasional tabs on each other online.
I have seen her many travels
including her hike along the coast of Wales
and walk through the Netherlands.
She has witnessed me
on my many adventures such as
working my way through Italy
and exploring the Big Island of Hawaii.
Both of us have traveled by foot on our own
The Camino Frances pilgrimage route
from France, across the Pyrenees
to the Spanish city of Santiago.
A powerful mindful experience for both.
This summer she is following Hadrian’s wall
while I might jaunt through Portugal.
So maybe we didn’t make it on the Amazing Race
but somehow we managed to both create our own amazing races.
If this life long journey of mine
includes a few more random run ins with Candee
then I think I am doing more than fine.