In the Chow Line, A Miraculous Coincidence

We drove up to Chris and Susan’s farm to celebrate his 57th birthday, and arrived to a porch full of people sipping wine and mingling with dogs and cats. On the grounds of their 17-acre farm were a parade of baby donkeys, a freshly shorn llama and a bevy of dogs. On the porch we met a man named Jeff who was very friendly to all of us, as if we knew him. None of us did.

He told us a story that amazed us. He said he was returning to his native San Diego after 30 years on the east coast; as a youth he was raised in a succession of foster homes. He said that when he was young he hitchhiked east and has been here ever since. He joined the navy and went into boot camp. While in a chow line on one of his first days, a man behind him answered to the same last name as he did. Surprised he turned around, and the sergeant said ‘well he must be your brother ’cause you both have the same last name.

It turned out that in that chow line was his long-lost brother, who he hadn’t seen in 20 years! They had been put in different foster homes but were now reunited in the navy! I asked him what it would be like to go back home after so many years on the east coast. He said he was excited about it, and will miss the people like Chris and Susan who he has known so well over these past few decades.