Yesterday morning we were hiking along the lake here in Oak Mountain State Park near Birmingham, Alabama.  We met a friendly couple meandering in the other direction, and when we greeting one another a conversation just naturally developed.  Before we knew it we were laughing and talking together like old friends and our new friend Rosemary suggested we get together for a cocktail later in the afternoon.  Hurray!!  This is what we‘ve been missing from our cruising days, meeting new people and making connections.

We enjoy a quiet afternoon riding our bikes and completing some chores, and realize somewhere along the line that we don’t have a time to meet or a plan for our get-together.  Do we bring an appetizer; our own drinks; what time do we come over?   We don’t need much structure but when you meet new folks it’s hard to tell just how much structure they require.

Not to worry.  Turns out our new friends Keith and Rosemary are parked near us in their RV, but it’s still hazy which one is theirs.  I notice Keith coming back from the golf course later on and walk across the caul-de-sac to feel out what time we should meet.  Looks like just cocktails after each of us eats dinner.

So we’re sitting around after cleaning up from dinner when a golf cart drives up next to us with Keith and Rosemary aboard asking us to join them for a ride around the campground.  It’s recently rained and dusk is approaching but the air smells clean and we enjoy joking and laughing with our new friends.  We return to their RV and they after we come aboard and accept our drinks Rosemary takes Carrie into the other room so that the boys and the girls can “talk”.  This seems like a classic Southern thing to me.

Keith and I easily walk through our lives as I enjoy my drink, and find that we have crossed paths on a number of occasions.  We both have military backgrounds, our families have roots in Virginia, we’ve both spent time in Washington.  It was fun connecting with him.

Somewhere in the conversation he let out his family name.  This is not something that we normally share until later in the relationship as it’s not necessarily important to forming the friendship.  But when the name “Butler” came out of his mouth, the conversation changed.  “Hey Carrie”, I yelled into the other room, “ask Rosemary what her last name is!” Keith and I joined them and the conversation jumped to a new level.

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We searched for a family connection and didn’t come across one, but what fun we had trying.  We laughed and joked, trading stories and getting to know one another better.  When we finally said good night we traded emails and phone numbers and hopes to see each other once again.  It was a wonderful evening and something we look forward to more of as we travel down the road.

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