Today we decided to make a trip to the Old Capitol Art Fair to see one of our friends, Ken Pease. He is a local folk artist, and my office is right next to his wife's. We wanted to see some of his pieces and maybe buy something for the boys' rooms. Well, we found two paintings we really liked, and I wanted to put them in the car (it had been drizzling all morning). This is where the story takes a few twists and turns. To put this in context, let me say that I am pretty predictable, to put it lightly. For example, if I buy tickets to a baseball game in the nose-bleed section, I will stay in those seats for the whole game. Even if I can see better seats that are closer to the action and obviously are not being used, I am not a rule breaker. I will stay in my crappy seats and watch the game from a million feet away. I am only saying this to point out the fact that what I did next was highly uncharacteristic of me. As I was walking to the car, I passed a car leaving a VERY (very, as in, too good to let someone else have) good parking spot. It was about a block closer to the art fair, and I was pretty sure I could run to my car and jump into that spot before anyone else noticed it was empty. All was going as planned until the Mercedes Benz in front of me took that spot. OK. No problem. I can run back to my old spot before anyone takes it. Not so fast, my friend. By the time I got back to my old spot, it was taken too, and apparently the art fair had suddenly become the most popular event in the history of Springfield because there was nowhere to park within four blocks of the art fair. So, I gave up a free parking spot two blocks from the art fair in order to steal a free spot one block away, and now I was going to be about 4 blocks away. Yeah, Gina was going to love that. Remember, it's raining and the boys are nearing that witching hour when chaos can erupt at any moment. Well, after driving around the block a couple of times and brushing up on my 4-letter words, a car pulled out just as I got there and I secured a parking space about half-way between the original and the hoped-for parking spots. I jumped out of the car and ran back to the art fair. Had this been a sit-com or a movie, I would have locked my keys in the car, but I didn't. When I got back to Ken's tent, I noticed Gina talking to someone. Who was it? No less than Ken Hughes, a good family friend from when I lived in Arkansas (back in 1978!).
Ken and his wife Helen, and another couple, the Corleys, were traveling around looking at some of the different presidential museums, and they made a stop in Springfield for the Abraham Lincoln museum (which is fantastic, by the way). Helen and the Corleys were at the museum, but Ken had seen it before and decided to walk around the art fair instead. As it would turn out, Ken saw Gina while I was driving around looking for a new parking spot. Had I been predictable (which I am 99.99% of the time), this chance encounter would never have happened. We were able to visit for a few minutes, and Ken got to see one of Nate's epic temper tantrums. We exchanged numbers and were able to meet tonight for dinner. We took them to the Dublin Pub for one of Springfield's infamous Horseshoe Sandwiches. It was a lot of fun catching up with the Hughes and Corley families, and there is a chance we will see them again next week when we travel to Fort Worth. It's funny what God will do in the midst of our harebrained ideas ... or maybe they aren't so harebrained after all, and perhaps He even orchestrates them. That's what I believe. Here are few more pictures from our dinner and time at the art fair. The last one is my favorite, which I annotated for your entertainment.