A couple of Decembers ago, while driving from the vast Midwestern metropolis where I attended graduate school to Saranac Lake for the Christmas holidays, my friend, (and fellow Saranac Laker) Dave, and I stopped at a gas station-slash-internationally beloved sandwich shop in Nowheresville, PA. The plan was simply to refuel the vehicle (with gasoline) and our stomachs (with internationally beloved sandwiches) - but, as often happens in Pennsylvania, we got much more than what we bargained for.
The pit stop began mundanely enough. While I pumped the gas, Dave headed inside to secure a spot in the sandwich line. After topping the tank off - in thrilling defiance of the tiny instructions on the back of the nozzle - I followed him.
Immediately, I saw two college-aged guys in scarlet-and-brown wind suits perusing the candy selection by the cash register. I recognized those wind suits. The colors, the patterns, the letters reading "St. Lawrence University Hockey" - those wind suits could only belong to St. Lawrence University hockey players.
Spotting St. Lawrence hockey players in Nowheresville, PA would be weird enough on its own, but as a St. Lawrence alumnus, I felt like I was either dreaming or getting "Punk'd" by celebrity moron Ashton Kutcher. I entered the sub shop section of the store in a daze and got in line behind Dave.
Looking around, I saw that St. Lawrence hockey players occupied three or four tables. I tapped Dave on the shoulder. "The St. Lawrence hockey team is in here," I said.
"What?" Dave asked.
"The St. Lawrence University hockey team. They're here, in this building, right now."
"Yes." I swept my hand across the room. "That's them taking up all the tables."
Then it dawned on me that St. Lawrence was playing against my vast Midwestern university, in my vast Midwestern metropolis, that weekend. I remembered hearing about the game months earlier and realizing it fell during Christmas break. The coincidence was so striking that I felt almost obligated to point it out to the hockey players.