Connecting the dots in unexpected ways

By Bruce Stambaugh

Life has a way of connecting dots in unexpected ways.

Nearly three weeks ago, our two-year-old granddaughter became ill. Her mother, our daughter, took her to the doctor on back-to-back days.

Maren by Bruce StambaughUnsure of the problem, the doctor thought it best if Maren were hospitalized for observation and tests. It was to be an overnight stay. When her fever didn’t subside, and the tests proved inconclusive, another night in the hospital was needed. Of course, we stayed in close contact with our daughter, albeit long distance via emails, text messages and occasional phone calls.

When Nana heard the news that Maren was to spend a second night in the hospital, her helper mode ratcheted into high gear. Nana hastily threw together her traveling items and headed to Harrisonburg, Virginia, where our daughter and her family reside.

I stayed behind. I had long-scheduled doctor appointments, meetings that convened only monthly, and other community commitments. Besides, I believe that too many adults in the same household at the same time can be, well, sometimes touchy, especially with youngsters.

The situation with Maren grew worse. She was transferred to a noted children’s hospital for further examination. Nana took care of our two grandsons while our daughter and her husband watched over sweet Maren.

Of course I was anxious to join them. We had previously planned on leaving for a weeklong visit with the grandkids anyhow. Maren’s illness just bumped up the trip’s urgency. But I didn’t necessarily want to have two vehicles 350 miles from home if we could help it.

Arriving home by Bruce Stambaugh
It was nice to have Maren arrive home, even though she was tired and peaked.
Being the workhorse that she is, Nana kept busy with household chores in Virginia. When the recycling piled up, she decided to take it to the recycling center. One other person was there, a middle-aged man who noticed Nana’s Ohio license plates.

The man said that he used to live in Ohio, Kidron to be exact, 12 miles from our house. The assertive person that she is, Nana asked this nice person if he happened to know of anyone coming down to Harrisonburg from Ohio on Sunday afternoon.

To her astonishment, and mine once she told me the story, the man replied that indeed he and his wife were visiting in Kidron, Ohio that very weekend and would be returning on Sunday afternoon, the exact time I had wanted to leave. He said he would be glad to have me ride along if I could find a way to Kidron.

As it turned out, my ride and I discovered we had mutual friends who lived near Kidron and who just happen to attend church with us. Our friends shuttled me to the rendezvous with this charitable couple. Like clockwork, we met up and transferred all my belongings I needed for the extended stay in Virginia from my friends’ car to my new friends’ car.

Given all the mental stress I was under, I was relieved to have someone else do the driving down the winding path to the

Feeling better by Bruce Stambaugh
Maren was glad to be home, playing and active as her strength would allow.
Shenandoah Valley. He proved an excellent driver, and delivered me right to my daughter’s door. It couldn’t have worked out better. The next day, Maren returned home, having been diagnosed with a perforated appendix, a difficult and unusual illness for a toddler.

Thanks to a common household errand and the interchange of two gregarious strangers, I got to welcome Maren and my daughter home. I am exceedingly glad those two divergent dots got connected.

This column appears weekly in the Holmes Bargain Hunter.

Author: Bruce Stambaugh

Writer, marketer, columnist, author, photographer, birder, walker, hiker, husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, township trustee, converted Anabaptist, community activist, my life is crammed with all things people and nature and wonder. My late father gave me this penchant for giving and getting the most out of life, my late mother the courtesy, kindness, and creativity to see the joy in life. They both taught me to cherish the people I am with. I try and fail and try again.

16 thoughts on “Connecting the dots in unexpected ways”

  1. It is indeed a small world, but I also simply believe that good things happen to good people.

    Most of the time, that is…


    I’m SO relieved your granddaughter is better. There’s nothing worse than feeling helpless in the wake of a sick child.

    Continued healing to Maren and to your entire family, Bruce!


    1. Thanks, Sandra. Maren continues to spike a fever, however. Carrie took her back to the hospital yesterday. The inflammation is still there, but with less fluids. Maren continues on antibiotics. She’s to check back tomorrow.

      Congratulations on your book being published, too.



  2. So glad to hear that your grand-daughter, Maren, is recovering. Spring does have a way of reminding us of the miracles of rebirth and recovery. We too have have been facing some serious health issues in our family in the last few months.


    1. Carol,

      Maren is still spiking fevers. Yesterday’s ultrasound still showed some inflammation. She’s on more antibiotics, with a follow up scheduled.

      What’s going on in your family? Send me an email with an update when you can.




  3. Where I come from we call that the providence of God. He’s looking out for little Maren AND you. Also, another reason to appreciate and love that great wife you have!!


    1. Ellen,

      I agree, of course. But I have to consider my audience. If I were writing for a church periodical, I certainly would have told the story with a different slant.

      Happy Easter,



      1. Its a great and true story. When I write I follow one voice, ” Above all, to thine own self be true.” Can’t do it any other way. I am a “Grandma Moses ” writer. No training. 🙂


  4. Great story Bruce. Edith use to say,” strangers are just friends we haven’t met yet”.
    Happy Easter,


  5. Bruce — The world gets smaller all the time! I also believe angels appear in the most unusual places. The news of your grand-daughter’s return home is the best. May angels continues to surround all of you.



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