Some years back, Mike and I attended a family wedding. We were sitting at a banquet table with other family members – and a couple none of us knew. Including that couple in conversation proved difficult. They were quiet; the rest of us were family and had plenty to talk about.
Naturally we didn’t want to be impolite. We wanted to include that couple in conversation if we could. Mike sat closest to them and kept trying. Occasionally he would ask them a question; the reply would be brief; the strain continued.
Finally Mike mentioned that he should check on Nellie, who was waiting in our vehicle, whereupon the man asked what kind of dog -- German Shorthair – and conversation opened up. He and Mike had an enthusiastic conversation about dogs and hunting.
“Finally!” commented my sister Joni, seated on the other side of me. “You can always find something in common but sometimes it takes a while. You just have to ask questions until you find it.”
We experienced that again recently. We attended a memorial service that included a luncheon. (And incidentally, we left our phones in the car, thinking that the most polite thing we could do.)
We knew the parents of the deceased but not many of the other guests. As we sat at lunch, Mike began a quiet conversation with the man next to him. An Idaho resident, he was an avid fisherman, he said, and had traveled Idaho to fish. Mike described the location of the farm. The man knew the Gilbert Grade. Did we have chukars on the farm, he asked. And then he said, “I also like to bird hunt. I have a German Shorthair.”
“I have two!” replied Mike. And the conversation took off. The man whipped out his phone and showed pictures of his dogs. (He has also had German Shorthair in the past.) Like Bess, his present dog is a talker, “verbalizing” over the activities of daily life.
“I’d love to go,” he said, as Mike described some possible hunting excursions. As we took our leave, the man punched Mike’s contact info into his phone. I gave Mike a piece of paper from my purse to jot down the man’s number.
I suggested to Mike that he really should take pictures of the dogs with his phone – and then keep his phone on his person. There’s something about cell technology we just don’t get until we see it in action – and even then we forget. KW