On Monday, a reader called to tell me that she often finds pennies on tails when she is going through a difficult time. She said that they are a sign from her late father that he is still with her.
She asked me if anyone in my life had passed away recently. The answer, thankfully, was no.
Then I thought about my grandfather. Papa was a logger until the day he died in 1997.
Was it a coincidence that I got stuck in the woods on what was probably an old logging road? Could the penny have been a reminder that I was not alone that day?
I am not a superstitious person. However, some things have fallen into place too perfectly in my life to be called accidents.
For example, I chose journalism because I thought Kate Hudson had a cool job in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” I became a reporter because I crashed a meeting at UAB’s campus newspaper, the Kaleidoscope.
I walked into the Kaleidoscope office one day during my freshman year, told the faculty advisor about my goals and asked for her advice. She encouraged me to become an assistant to one of the section editors who were about to graduate.
I e-mailed the editor-in-chief, who told me that I should come to the office that Sunday for a meeting of potential assistant editors.
I became the features editor that summer before I had taken a single news writing class. I was the only assistant-in-training who moved up and remained as an editor at the Kaleidoscope for two-and-a-half years.
It was a long time before I found out that I was the only person at that first meeting who had not been invited. Each editor had picked one writer to train. My editor, for whatever reason, did not choose me.
If I hadn’t e-mailed the editor-in-chief at exactly the right time, I probably wouldn’t have become a section editor. Then I wouldn’t have gotten the experience in writing and page layout that earned me an internship at the Daily Mountain Eagle. The internship turned into a part-time position that summer and then a full-time job after my graduation in 2008.
In March of my senior year, my history professor took an uncharacteristic bathroom break about 15 minutes into class one day. I, a straight-A student who never skipped class, decided to leave.
I couldn’t stop thinking about this guy from my past who had e-mailed me a few days earlier after he passed me on the interstate.
As soon as I walked out of the building, I saw Zac walking down the steps of the library. Somehow I knew it was him, even though he was pretty far away and his hair was longer than he had ever worn it when we dated the first time.
We had lunch a couple of days later and have been madly in love ever since.
When we were buying our house in 2009, we were a little worried about the FHA appraisal. Any minor detail, like an improper height of the ceilings, had the potential to disqualify the house for the federal loan that we needed.
Zac took a walk around the yard while the inspector did his look-over. We knew the house was going to be ours when Zac found a baseball hidden in some tall grass.
Three months later, I signed my new name for the first time on that ball in our Cubs-themed wedding at the Old Park.
I don’t believe in luck, but I do believe that some minor decisions have unforeseen consequences.
Although I can’t see a master plan with my name on it, I have felt it unfolding.