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                                                             A Chance Meeting            


       Years ago -- maybe around 40 -- Frode Andersen and my brother Francie flew from the Fullerton airfield near La Habra, to another place in California called Baker. The landing strip itself was north of Baker, a few miles out of town, on the road to Shoshone. Shoshone lies east of the Death Valley National Monument, around 20 miles from the Nevada line. Leaving their aircraft on the strip, they started out on foot, going south on the road leading into Baker. As they were walking along, a car came along, travelling in the same direction they were going.  It passed them up, but after a short distance, it stopped.  Its driver gave them a ride, saying to Francie, "I know you." It turned out, the guy's name was Leo Rausch who once had a business in Francie's hometown of Lake View, Iowa, hundreds of miles away from where they were.   And since then, time had passed -- years in fact -- and  Rausch was living in the small city of Storm Lake, Iowa.

      The business was a restaurant on a corner of Main Street. It was named the Frozen Frontier, which had a counter and booths, and a banquet room in the back. It was even humorously called by the cowish name of Frozen Steer. Rausch recalled that Francie used to come into the Frozen Frontier with free sticks--ice cream bar sticks with the word "free" written on them, which entitled one to another bar, for free.

      For Francie, it quickly fell into place who the motorist was, and they talked about time past. Francie thinks he'd just been to Death Valley.  (Unbeknownst to Francie, Rausch's son lived in La Habra, about 10 blocks from where Francie lived, but even then, La Habra wasn't near to where Baker is in California).

    Francie remembers the road to Shoshone as a lonely, comparatively untravelled road. He said, nobody drove that road to Shoshone then.

       Think of the chances of this meeting: off the beaten path, hundreds of miles from where Francie grew up and where Rausch had his restaurant.  I wouldn't even know how to figure the odds of this happening with the number of people who populate our United States and the wide expanse of its territory.  Add to that, their being on the same stretch of road of the many that cross our country, at the same hour. 

                                                                    John Riedell

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