Odyssey International: Masthead
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Road Coincidences

July 20th, 2007


I was cruising Highway 101 between Wolfville and Kentville, relaxed, letting my mind wander over details of a driving event we’ve been asked to implement through that area of Nova Scotia.

Something off in the distance caught my attention. It was moving toward me on the shoulder of the road so I prepared for evasive action. I was having a hard time figuring out what it was, lanky limbs flying everywhere.

Approaching the flailing critter, I realized it was human, a man walking at an incredible pace down the shoulder of the road. He was using what looked like ski poles to enhance his gait. When I blew by him, all I could see of his face were the clenched teeth of dogged determination.

“Good for you!” I said out loud.

A week later I was driving the same road, thinking about the same drive program when off in the distance, here he comes, the pole-flailing walkoholic doing his business. He had the same look on his face, teeth and all.

The following weekend, I’m on that stretch of highway yet again regaling the story of Mr. Determination to my Yukon-load of relatives. Then, as if on cue, I spot him again, arms flying, teeth clenched. We all laugh and I get kudos for descriptive prowess. But the third appearance in as many trips? A bit spooky, but a commendable coincidence.

We’ve all experienced road coincidence I suppose. When I was a kid I couldn’t believe how many people Dad knew when we were driving around. I figured just about everyone who drove knew each other. Not much of that happens anymore though. I drive around Halifax for weeks without spotting someone I can tap the horn at or flash a big wave signifying we absolutely must get together right there because we crossed paths at an intersection. No time, see ya later!

I was thinking about my run-ins with the toothy power-walker the other day while running a couple of motorized errands. The guy on the radio mentioned it was the 7th day of the 7th month of the 7th year of this century. Since sevens and elevens have played an uncanny role in the history of my years on the road, my ears perked up at the information.

I recalled a telephone call a few months ago from my former partner, Ken Langley. Ken told me his car’s odometer had flipped over to all 7s as he pulled up in front of his law practice in Baddeck. We laughed and yarned on about the time we moved from Toronto back to Halifax in 1983.

After four years in Hogtown, we’d made a snap decision one Friday afternoon - move the office back to Halifax. By midnight we were unplugged and Odyssey International was packed onto the back of Darth Vader, Ken’s brother’s black-on-black Chevy pick-up. The rig sported a throaty 350 V-8 and a pitch-black cabin, no interior light and no dash lights. On the back, a pair of flapping fluorescent-orange Canadian Tire tarpaulins protected our company’s dowry from the torrential rains that had begun to pour.

Just as we settled onto the 401 a flash of sheet lightning lit the interior and there it was on the odometer: 77,777. The powers of luck were keeping Darth Vader in line and the decision to move back to home turf was now obviously the proper thing to do. It must have been because, after almost 30 years, Odyssey International is still at it.

And now, here is this guy on the radio going on about the 7th of July 2007. If I had known about this ‘lucky seven’ windfall earlier, I would have set my alarm for 7:07 that morning. I calculated the 777th minute of the day and at precisely the instant I concluded the ‘luck filet’ of July 7th, 2007 would be at 12:57, a tan GM pick-up truck pulled out of a Tim Hortons coffee shop right in front of me.

It wasn’t a close call, but as the truck crossed the street something fell off the back. I blew the horn, waved and yelled but the driver seemed more intent on getting at the double-double he’d just scored at Tim’s.

So I pulled over and picked up an almost-new handsaw. I thought about my father-in-law the week before using the dull, rusty relic from my toolbox and smiled. No more of that embarrassment because my ship had finally come in. Lady Luck had dropped a sweet deal off the back of a pick-up truck right in front of me.

“Hey Garry, keep it,” I rationalized. “You did your best to alert the driver!”

I was quick to justify ownership of the handsaw. Someone might have driven over it and sliced open a new Pirelli. I was doing society a favour by picking it up.

On the other hand, I felt sorry for the person who might have spent the weekend looking for his handsaw. He was probably building a deck for an anxious wife or maybe his kids had been deprived of the tree house Dad had promised.

Yes, my good luck on this day of sevens turned out to be someone’s misfortune. But now, even though I enjoy the pleasures of possessing this fine tool, I’m ready to give it back to the rightful owner.

So if it’s your saw, or if you know someone who’s been whining about loosing a handsaw from the back of his tan Chevy or GMC pick-up, let me know, because that favorite handsaw is hanging in my garage.

And if my lucky find ends up back where it belongs, that will be bit of road coincidence for the both of us.

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