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In the Strangest of Places

By Eduardo Rey Brummel

Even though it’s commonplace for me to be in bewonderment over the ways I find myself connected to this town, I still have difficulty not constantly calculating my cost to others. You could blame my upbringing. Dad made it a point to tell people, “I would have finished college, but I ran outta money, I ran outta smart-sauce, and I had him.”

A major factor leading me to move here was the hope that I’d be enfolded into this community. With my small-town roots and outdoorsy lifestyle, I thought the locals would quickly take me in as one of their own. Instead, the first nine months was the darkest, loneliest period of my life. Instead of welcoming me, as they had during each of my visits, residents were now keeping me at a distance.

But come the tenth month, folks who I figured would have had no interest whatsoever in a schlub like me began doing so anyway. It wasn’t because of anything I did. Rather, it was from seemingly mundane behind-the-scenes, matter-of-fact occurrences: Say, crossing paths with the family who owned a downtown bistro; or a benefit dinner at the local pizza pub. In ways I could never have imagined nor contrived, I found myself being threaded into this town’s tapestry.

According to St. Willie of Nelson, “Miracles appear in the strangest of places.” Even when the hopes you’ve built your life upon never arise, it’s still possible the universe will play in your favor cards that you never knew were in the deck. And family will be what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

Eduardo Rey Brummel is celebrating his first decade of staying put.