Tricia Booker Photography

A Coincidence and a Story


Riding Stonewall’s Crystal Gale in 1989 at Knollwood Farm in Wisconsin.

I’ve always believed the universe works in mysterious ways, and recently I’ve found myself immersed in some experiences that defy simple explanations. Coincidences, yes, but almost beyond belief.

Therefore, it was fun to turn on This American Life, one of my favorite podcasts, over the weekend and listen to their episode titled “No Coincidence, No Story!” Quite a coincidence that it popped up in my feed considering my current mindset. The podcast explored a variety of stories relating to unexplained events that were beyond the simple coincidence, verging on eerie, just as mine have been.

One recent morning I woke up at 5:20 a.m., well before my 6:30 alarm, wide awake. I wasn’t sure what had prompted my early start to the day (I’m NOT a morning person), but instead of rolling over and trying to sleep for another hour, I picked up my phone to check for messages.

As I read through my emails, I noticed my best friend, Julie, who lives on the West Coast and is three hours behind, had sent me an email after I’d gone to sleep. I crafted a message back, and just as I pushed the send button at 5:25 a.m., I received an email from her at precisely the same moment and on the same thread! We were both awake in the middle of the night (2:25 a.m. her time!) replying to the same email topic the very same moment!

OK, total coincidence. Yes, we are best friends and working on projects together, so maybe that email topic was on both of our minds and hence the perfect timing.

My next story defies that logical solution, however. More than a decade ago, I sadly lost touch with Laura, the maid of honor in my wedding. After multiple moves, living 1,000 miles apart and well before Facebook, our close friendship slipped away.

Fast forward to last November, when I was in California at a horse show. While there, I visited Bobby, a friend whom I’d met and worked with way back in the 1980s. While catching up with him and sharing our memories, we talked about riding American Saddlebreds and the fun times we had back then. Upon returning home, we kept in touch and decided to get together for an Oscar party later this month.


Bobby Brennan, second from right, at the 1991 Hollywood Charity Horse Show.

Then, while rummaging through some books in storage a few weeks ago I stumbled upon a forgotten photo album, which included photos of not only my friend from California but also my maid of honor. She had introduced me to Saddlebreds when I lived in Wisconsin, and there were photos of us at the Knollwood Farm, where we trained and took lessons with Scott Matton.

I scanned in the photos, sent a few to my friend in California via Facebook, and decided on a whim to search for Laura. What a surprise when her name popped up! Admittedly, the last time I’d looked for her had been many years earlier, so I sent her a FB friend request. Not a day passed before she accepted my request, and we began messaging one another.

A few days later I posted one of the photos of me aboard a Saddlebred for Throwback Thursday (#tbt) on Facebook, and tagged her. I also mentioned my affinity for the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Texas, where I work each March and one of the few horse shows left in this country that features Hunter/Jumper and American Saddlebreds, along with other breeds.

As it turns out, Laura had the brilliant idea of traveling from Wisconsin to visit me at Pin Oak! So while we worked out the details, I received the most amazing message from her.

“Guess who’s judging Pin Oak? Scott Matton!” her message read. Goosebumps.

So, not only are we planning to have a reunion after a more than decade-long lapse in our friendship, but we chose to meet at a horse show in Texas where it just so happens that our old trainer is judging…

Coincidence? Or something more? I would love to hear your thoughts!



  1. There are certain friendships that are meant to endure over time, whether you stay in touch or not – I have a few of these kind of friendships. Then, there are those friendships, the one you thought would be a good one and the next week, they don’t who you are, or at least pretend they don’t – I have a few of those too. In your case, it’s a bit of coincidence, a bit of nostalgia, a bit of good fortune.

    • That’s so true, David! I recall one friend in college, who was wise beyond his years, advising me about friendships when I had a challenging roommate. He said very much the same thing, and after all these years I still think of him and his sage words.

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