Today Mr. B and I had to run two errands: drop off at the thrift shop and buy Mr. T's birthday present. Mid-trip he was hungry so we stopped at a McDonald's. While we ate, 2 older women sat at the table nearby. After a fashion, one began remarking on Mr. B.
"He looks just like my nephew did at that age. He had the same big eyes and blonde hair that came down in front just like that boy's." She went on and on about how Mr. B looked like her nephew and had similar mannerisms. I thought it a little strange that she'd make such a fuss over some kid looking like a nephew, but maybe this woman had no kids of her own and was very close to extended family. Maybe the resemblance was that strong. Maybe... then she said, "Can you hear us talking about you?"
Mr. B rewarded her with his smile and kept chewing his french fries.
"When he grew up he went to college and became a marathon runner. Oh how he loved to run. He ran all over the United States in marathons. He had to run fast--he was in the middle of 4 boys and his older brothers were really something else." She went on and on about how her nephew loved to run, how he'd gone to college. "Why, his last marathon was in St. Louis, Missouri."
I froze and gave her my full attention. "Your nephew was Adam Nickel." What would be the odds?
"How did you know?"
I'd been his teacher in high school. Oh, I remembered him very well. I told her what a fine person he'd been, what a good student and then I told Mr. B, "Buddy, if you're going to resemble anyone in this lifetime, Adam Nickel is probably among the best. That's a real complement. I hope you grow up to be half the man he became."
And I totally understood why she'd make a fuss over seeing a little boy out eating at McDonald's that looked just like her nephew.