|A Small World: Time traveling|
|January 26, 2012 Cher Maybee|
Owning and operating Barn Anew bed and breakfast in western Nebraska gives us a renewed appreciation and love of the valley. The world comes to us as we welcome our guests from near and far. The experiences we have with them have proven to us to that the world is a small place and coincidence is a daily phenomena.
What is amazing is the number of people who come to Gering Valley. Some are searching their roots, some are following the old west trails, some arrive by accident but all are inspired by the beauty of this valley that we call home.
We have learned that time is a factor that we have to deal with. There never seems to be enough of it. Just as we are getting to know our guests and are sharing stories and interests, we know that we will have to say good bye, as time is unyielding. Everyone has a schedule to follow. Some of our guests are following very strict schedules, which they adhere to after careful planning. We know that it is time that brings us together, even for a short time; that short time makes us treasure what we have. Time demands our respect, because it allows us to briefly meet, but then time carries us on.
Two travelers in time, who arrived at Barn Anew, were Anna and Blake. And as our guests they were welcomed first by Mollie, our Australian Shepherd. Her enthusiastic bark greets everyone, and we are quick to follow. Standing at the front door, I noticed immediately that our new guests were hesitant to get out of their car with Mollie wanting to usher them to the Barn. So calling her back into the house, I went out to welcome them.
We helped Anna and Blake pull suitcases from the trunk of their car and entered the barn. I apologized for Mollie’s enthusiastic welcome, and noticed that even inside, Anna was uncomfortable with Mollie’s presence. Anna was a small, very shy person, and she kept her eye on Mollie; even when Mollie approached with her tail wagging, Anna turned away in defense. Seeing that Mollie was not an appreciated hostess, I called her outside and closed the door. Anna apologized and quietly explained that she had always had a strong fear of dogs.
As we visited and showed them around, we learned that Anna and Blake were both retired college professors. This was their first visit to Nebraska. Being fans of James Michener had brought them here and they were experiencing a great adventure visiting the landmarks that they had only read about in Centennial, their favorite book. They had mapped out a strict agenda, in order to get all of their sightseeing done in a very limited time. They had done their research, were well-read, and had an agenda to follow right down to the minute. Tomorrow they were anxious to go to Court House and Chimney Rock, and they wanted to be on the road no later than 9 o’clock.
The next morning eight guests were seated around the table, immersed in sharing stories and laughter. The conversation was warm and generated an atmosphere of familiarity that wove itself into a blanket of friendship. Sitting at the table, Anna’s black hair and small stature set her apart. Her dark eyes at first seemed to give guarded, quick glances to everyone as she listened, but as the morning’s conversation and laughter were shared it was soon Anna who became the center of attention. She began to unwind the intriguing story of her life.
Although she had grown up in Boston, married, and raised her family, she had been born in Alaska, a member of the Inuit tribe. In her soft voice she told us that at the age of six, her father had died. Unable to take care of their large family, her mother had been forced to give the three youngest children to the state for adoption. She said that she had strong memories of her life in their village and one strong memory was of she and her sister being chased by a big dog, probably a sled dog from her father’s team, and thus her fear of dogs. There seemed to a cloud of loneliness even now, hanging over Anna. Maybe it was her quiet, shy mannerism, but she admitted that even after all of these years she still wondered about her family and her homeland. It seemed that there was so much more that we wanted to hear. Questions flooded, as we all wanted to know and understand more about Anna.
Time had gotten away from us, as often happens at a bed and breakfast. Finally everyone was forced to look at their watches, push their chairs back, and excuse themselves from the table in order to keep on their individual agendas for the day. Anna and Blake too were running late, as they had planned on being on the road to Chimney Rock by 9 o’clock.
Now sometimes we are caught up in the drama of life and cast onto a stage as an actor, directed by a script that has been written just for us to star in. Time is the manager. It might be luck. It might be fate. But what happened to Anna when she arrived a little behind schedule at Chimney Rock will leave you wondering.
This is part two of Anna’s story. Driving down Highway 92, Anna and Blake were in awe of the Nebraska landscape that they were seeing for the first time. Totally immersed in their western adventure, they were captivated by the beauty and history surrounding them at Chimney Rock. They had walked into the museum and were absorbing more of the history when Anna looked up and saw two men and two women enter the museum. In her explanation, her heart stopped. You see Anna had always felt “different.” her small stature and dark skin had always set her apart. Now as she watched in awe, she saw two couples enter the museum, who she said looked like her. When she saw them, she instantly knew she was one of them. An Inuit, like herself! Shyness exploded into exuberance, and she found herself rushing over to the strangers. In a flood of words and an avalanche of emotion the small group was thrown together in just a moment of time. As words tumbled out in that flash of a moment, Anna learned that it wasn’t just any Inuit that had come crashing into her life. It was, in fact, her sister and her cousin.
Separated for 42 years, Anna, her sister, and her cousin were standing together at Chimney Rock. Amid shrieks of disbelief, and overwhelming emotion, a sister and cousin who she had come to accept she would never see again, were holding her tightly in their arms.
Well when two cars pulled into the yard that afternoon, the story that was revealed to us was more than we could understand. But we were just the spectators. That evening lights were on very late into the night as these six people made up for lost time, sharing stories and memories and weaving together the torn threads of their lost family.
What if Anna and Blake had left on time that morning? Would they have had the encounter? Would their lives been given a second chance to collide with each other? Was it coincidence? Was it Fate?
Read more by Cher Maybee