YAWYSB – “You are where you’re supposed to be”.  This is something my dear wife Pam has told me on many occasions when I was frustrated about being in traffic, in a long line, etc.  I’m a type “A” – at least.  I’ve always expected more of myself and everything else around me, so I would hear this a lot.  Something very, very special happened to me a few years ago that wouldn’t have if I had been where I thought I should be.

I was driving around Detroit, my hometown of over 40 years and the radio was on the local sports talk radio channel.  They were talking about the Stanley Cup making its final rounds  through each key member of the organization as is the custom after each season.   I had lived in Detroit all my life and I’d followed the Wings for as long as I can remember starting back with ‘Hockey Night In Canada’ on CBC when I was a wee lad.  I had never seen the cup  other than on television or in magazines.  As I was listening to the broadcast I thought to myself how special it would be to see it in person someday.

At the time, my wife Pam and I were living in Boulder, CO having  left Michigan late in 2001.  Our house was on the market and would hopefully soon sell.  I was commuting between various locations of the company I was working for and I would alternate weekends between Boulder and Michigan spending time cleaning out the house, getting it ready to sell and thinning out what we had to move.   We had a  pool table that wasn’t in the plan for our move westward.  My good friend and partner in our company Jochen wanted it, so I sold it to him,  He was living with his beautiful family in Norwalk, OH near the facility where I would spend most of my working weekdays.

During one of the weekends I spent in Michigan, I rented a truck, disassembled the table and drove it down to him on Sunday.   There was a conference in San Jose that I was scheduled to attend the following week and I had an early flight out on Tuesday morning.   My plan was to work out of the Norwalk plant on Monday and catch a ride back up to Detroit with one of our salespeople.  He would drop me off so I could pick up my car which I had left at my brother-in-law’s house, pack my bags, gets some rest and a get very early start to the airport.

I got caught up and I didn’t plan well enough to remind my ride that we needed to leave mid afternoon, nor did I ask our CEO, who my ride had to meet with that afternoon, to take care of their business early so I could get back to Detroit.  We left very late in the afternoon, more than two hours later than I had planned, so I was going to be late and I wasn’t in a good mood.  When I arrived to pick up my car, my brother-in-law Johnny was there. If I had been where I wanted to be at that time, I would never had seen him.  I would have picked up my car, gone on to my house and plan for the rest of the week.  Johnny was glad to see me as always and   asked if I wanted to stay for dinner.  I initially declined on the excuse I had to get going, pack and get ready for my early flight the next morning.  Johnny pointed out I had to eat sometime somewhere, so he had a point and I stayed.

Ten minutes hadn’t passed and he asked “What I was doing at 9PM”.   Now, I had already explained the urgency of my getting home and my early trip the next morning.  As I was going through all of this he cut me off with “Doc Finley’s got the cup and invited us over……”.   It was the last stop of the Stanley Cup tour before it was sent to its NHL ‘home’.   I started at him with a blank look for a few seconds and said “……..I’ll sleep on the plane”.

I’ve always been type ‘A’.  I’ve never liked waiting for things, standing in line, being stuck in traffic.  My beautiful wife Pam has always told me when she saw steam coming from one ear or the other “you are where you’re supposed to be…..breathe”.   I had just experienced  another example of how “God works in mysterious ways..”.

Now this was a silly little thing in the overall scope of events in my life, but looking back on it changed my life forever.  I carry these pictures with me on my iPhone.  Now when I’m in the middle of one of life’s traffic jams or long lines, I hear Pam’s voice.  I pause to take a breath.  I see one of these pictures in my mind and look forward to the next wonderful surprise waiting for me down the road.

Wally, Johnny and StanleyWally & Stanley






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