by Andy Weddington
Tuesday, 28 January 2014
"Uneven numbers are the gods' delight." Publius Vergilius Maro
Out of the country and returning Sunday past my wife and I were outside at a tiny airport waiting for the plane. Sitting on a bench seat for about an hour, and due to board in little over half an hour, I decided to stand and stretch and walk a bit.
After standing and raising arms I turned about and noticed a minivan taxi approaching. It stopped about 10 paces in front of me. The markings on the driver's door caught my attention: Papa Lou's Taxi Services Taxi 11.
I pointed out the taxi to my wife. She commented she thought she knew the driver but added he does not work on Sundays.
Just before the plane arrived we spoke to the taxi driver. He was who my wife suspected. They chatted. I joined the conversation and offered a comment with short story about his taxi number. He confirmed as a rule he does not work on Sunday but today was an exception. He wished us well.
Moments later we proceeded through cursory security and boarded the plane. Our boarding passes indicated seats 8 D and 8 F.
Last to board the small plane, the flight attendant said to balance the plane we need you to please sit anywhere from rows 7 back. Our seats had been taken so we sat in the first available. After settling in I looked up - seats 11 D and 11 F.
Arriving back on U. S. soil we proceeded through Immigration. The snaking queue was not too long. We approached and waited to be directed to the next available officer. He was Immigration Officer 11.
I made a passing comment to Officer Gonzales that it had been an odd day. He asked how so and I told him about 11. He said goose bumps swept him. And he added he was an Air Force veteran and retired after 21 years.
He welcomed us home and wished our family well.
On the third flight of the day - Charlotte to Raleigh, NC - the UNC women's lacrosse team (still in uniform with sweats atop) boarded.
The flight uneventful.
In the baggage claim area, on the opposite side of the conveyor from us, one of the players had removed her sweat bottoms. My wife noticed her and told me to look at the number on the lower left of her shorts - 11.
The past couple of weeks have been different for me. Frequent signs, clear but inexplicable, from above aplenty while out of the country.
A couple of days before heading home my wife and I walked into a small restaurant with an attached gift shop. I looked right and hanging on a hook eye-level five or six paces away was a utility bag made out of old sail cloth. A big blue number was stitched to the bag - 11. The green tag of the maker - affixed aside 11 - has a big W at the top.
I bought the bag.
Days earlier my sister told me she was awaiting signs and asked that I please bring him home.
You see, our Dad died on 11 January - seventeen days ago.
I brought him home.
Like Officer Gonzales, Dad was an Air Force Veteran. Mom now owns the sail cloth bag - 11. The number 11 will ever mean more to me. Thanks, Dad! And gods'! Delightful!
Harry F. Weddington, Jr.