Never Too Old For New Friends

At one of my recent Mah Jongg classes at the beach I had a student named Penny. Penny’s Mother-in-law had been one of my students in Kinston, and was a favorite of mine. In class Penny said she had moved from Kinston to Chapel Hill during the pandemic and had hardly met anyone. She asked if we might have lunch when we were back home.

Today we met for lunch. It was so fun to get to know her more deeply than I do in class. When I am teaching a group they get to know me better than I get to know each of them, even though I try hard. My whole life my default when I meet someone is to ask them where they are from. I think this is a habit I developed during boarding school. I love making connections between different people I know from the same place. Of course, I probably inherited this trait from my father who never met a person he didn’t first ask, “Where are you from?” Which was quickly followed up with, “How long have you been doing this.” This, being their job.

While Penny and I were having lunch, my neighbor Jay came by our table to say Hi and I introduced him to Penny. She asked him if he was related to someone and it turns out he is and that someone had been in one of my Mah Jongg classes.

I wish I kept better notes about who I have taught and could make a big Venn diagram about how they are all connected and related. Penny is looking to play Mah Jongg in Chapel Hill. I was planning on introducing her to my friend Val, who just took a class and before I could say it, Penny mentioned she had met Val and asked if I knew her. The criss-cross of connections is endless.

To all my Kinston friends, if your ears were burning today it was because I was sharing your names with Penny. I hope that Mah Jongg brings you all many new friends as it has for me. You just are never too old to make new friends.

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