These kinds of things actually do happen and are amazing!
After a terrific week of shows in Memphis, I arise in the wee hours of the morning, before the sun, to catch a just-after-sunrise flight to my home airport (Denver), where I'm not going home, but catching a connecting flight to Portland, Oregon.
At my destination, as I am completing my transaction at the Thrifty rental car counter counter, a voice behind me asks: "Is that a Hammered Dulcimer on your back?" (the backpack straps on my Colorado Case Co. case help me tote all my instruments and gear through crowds at airports and on the ground at festivals.)
Surprised and delighted at the recognition, I turn and smile: "Why, yes it is!"
The uniformed pilot who is standing there smiles back and says the most unusual thing: "I play hammered dulcimer, too. Who made yours?"
"Sam Rizzetta designed it, Nick Blanton made it."
"Rick Thum made mine," she proudly exclaims.
The red-headed clerk behind the counter is a bit agape watching this exchange as I click the plastic pen to the electronic buttons on the pad.
She goes on to say she just took a seminar from Russell Cook recently.
"You were at the Memphis Dulcimer Gathering?" I query (it just happened two weeks ago.)
Astonished, she nods yes.
"I flew in from Memphis just now," I add.
Excited with her memories of the event she goes on to tell me about what she learned and a new dulcimer friend she met, and another instructor she took a class from, Ilace Mears.
"Seriously?" I ask. "I've been staying at Ilace's house this past week."
Her jaw drops open and she grabs her phone and says, "I have to text her and tell her I met you!"
Turns out she is Pat Trusty, a Southwest Airlines pilot, based out of the Dallas. (I LOVE Southwest Airlines! The bags always have and continue to fly FREE!)
She takes regular lessons (when back home in Dallas) from another friend of mine, National Champion David Moran.
"I fly planes better than I play dulcimer," she quips, "but I've only been playing a year."
"Well....I'm sure glad you're good at flying the planes," I grinningly respond, "that's important!"
She takes my photo to send a hello from me to David and we continue chatting.
As we are delivered to our respective cars she calls out her window: "Drive safely! The world needs more dulcimer players!"
Well, I sure agree with that and bid her to do the same, because she is another example our quest to bring more beauty into the world, one dulcimer player at a time.