Small World Stories  
 
 
     
   
     
     
  Story 1  
     
 

My last project with Monsanto was relocating a manufacturing plant from Anaheim California to Glasgow Kentucky. While in Glasgow, we would often go to the local Shoney’s restaurant for dinner. One evening as I was walking into the restaurant, I heard my name called. When I turned around I recognized the person who called out my name. He was an individual with whom I had worked at Monsanto some years prior to this time.

In our conversation I asked he and his wife what they were doing in Glasgow. He replied that they were on vacation and driving along the parkway and decided to stop for dinner.

Small world! 

 
     
  Story 2  
     
 

I was on an early summer hike in the South Fork of Teton Canyon. I was hiking out of the canyon and would run into people who were hiking into the canyon. The Colorado Columbine flowers were particularly beautiful on my hike and I was pointing out that fact to the folks who were hiking into the canyon.

I was talking with two young hikers going into the canyon and I asked the usual question “where are you from?” They replied they were from Jackson. The young lady also mentioned that she was from New Zealand but working in Jackson for the summer. They asked where I was from as well. When I mentioned I was from St. Louis, Missouri the young lady said that she had just been on holiday in St. Louis. I asked her where she had stayed when she was in St. Louis. She said she stayed with friends but could not remember the name of the suburb in which they lived. She did however remember the name of the street on which they lived… Etzel.

I told her I lived on Corbitt which is one block north of Etzel. As Etzel is only three blocks long and I live roughly in the middle of the three blocks, this young lady stayed no more than 1-1/2 blocks from my house in St. Louis.

Small world!

 
     
  Story 3  
     
 

I was having dinner in 2005 at The Blue Lion restaurant in Jackson Wyoming with my good friends Gabe & Hilda Callol. At the next table were four people also having dinner. We started talking with these folks. They were a couple who lived in Jackson and their daughter and son-in-law. The daughter was from Wichita Kansas. As Washington University had a volleyball player who was from Wichita, I asked the daughter if she would be interested in searching for one of my small world stories. She replied “sure”.

I told her I was from St. Louis Missouri and had gone to Washington University. I also told her that I was a fan of the Washington University sports teams. At that point she stopped me and said “volleyball” and “Whitney Smith” which is exactly where I was going. It turns out the daughter was a teacher of Whitney’s in high school. In fact once I related this story to Whitney she said this lady was her favorite teacher. They got together for lunch in Wichita over Whitney’s Christmas break.

Small world!

Follow-up: On September 7, 2015, I was with a friend who was taking photos of the Moulton Barn. I started talking to a lady who was also taking photos. It turned out to be Whitney Smith's teacher again.

She confirmed what Whitney had told me back in 2005: in college she dated Garth Brooks and dumped him. She also confirmed the favorite teacher/favorite student supposition on my part.

Even smaller world!

 
     
  Story 4  
     
 

One of my acquaintances while working for Monsanto was a fellow named Heinz Jankowski. Heinz was originally from Germany and worked with me for a time. I had also met his wife as we shopped at the same grocery store near their home in Clayton.

Heinz retired some number of years before me. Several years after Heinz retired his wife passed away. Heinz then decided to move back to Germany. A number of us had a going away party for him.

Flash ahead a number of years. I was in Jackson Wyoming one evening (prior to having my place in Driggs) and who but Heinz comes walking around a corner. Startled I said to Heinz “What are you doing here. You live in Germany?” it turned out he was on vacation with another fellow with whom we’d worked at Monsanto.

Small world!

 
     
  Story 5  
     
 

My guests and I were going on a whitewater rafting trip. We were just getting on the bus that would take us to the river. A lady with her two sons asked "Is this the bus we will return on? Should we leave our stuff on this bus?".

I spoke up to answer her question as the bus driver was not on the bus. As soon as I started to speak this lady asked if I was from St. Louis to which I replied "Yes". She then asked if my name was Rick Budde. She then said her name was Laura Cook.

She had swum for me from the ages of 10-12. I had not seen her since. She was now 45 years old.

Small world!

 
     
  Story 6  
     
 

I was traveling in California. I was packing my car in the motel parking lot to start my day.

A fellow, seeing my Missouri license plate,  walked up to me and asked where in Missouri I was from. I asked the same question of him. He replied he was from St. James.

Well at the time, I knew one person who lived in St. James... Charlie Armistead, with whom I had worked at Monsanto. He left Monsanto to return to St. James to run the family business. This fellow replied that his best friend was Charlie's brother.

Small world!

 
   
  Story 7  
     
 

I was traveling to St. John in the US Virgin Islands one year. I had flown to Chicago from St. Louis for my first leg of the journey. My second leg was to San Juan. As I waited to board the flight to San Juan, I struck up a conversation with a lady sitting next to me.

I asked her if her final destination was San Juan. She replied "no" that her final destination was St. Croix. She asked the same question of me. I replied that I was going to St. John... my second favorite spot.

She of course asked me what my favorite spot was. I replied "the Tetons". She said that she had a daughter who lived on "the other side" a common description for Teton Valley Idaho where Driggs is located. My eyes began to roll as I was sure we had another small world situation.

I asked where her daughter lived. She replied that she lived in Tetonia and worked for the Forest Service in Driggs. I pulled out my card with my Driggs stuff on it and showed it to her. I gave her my card and asked her to write down her daughter's name in a notebook.

When I arrived in Driggs, I went to the Forest Service office and asked if Liz Davy was there. Someone went to get her. I pulled out my notebook and asked her if she could help me read the writing in it. She replied that it was her mother's handwriting and I must be the person her mother ran into.

Small world!

 
     
  Story 8  
     
 

I traveled to Indianapolis one winter to see Don McIntosh compete in the Master's Swimming Nationals. Don was studying the heat sheets to check out the competition in his age group. He ran across a name, Dan Willert, he thought he might know. It turned out that Dan went to high school with Don.

Don called me over to meet Dan. It turns out that Dan (and his wife Pat) live in (drum roll please) Driggs.

Small world!

 
     
  Story 9  
     
 

Bruce Canaga who visits me each summer in Driggs found out that, Ron Cordes, a fraternity brother (pledge brother of mine actually) lives not 30 miles from Driggs.

Small world!

 
     
  Story 10  
     
 

I was at the Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival in 2009. I was taking photos of the crowd from in front of the band stage. A young lady comes up to me and asks if she looks familiar. I said yes as it was Rebecca Parker who played basketball at Washington University.

Small world!

 
     
  Story 11  
     
  Well I had yet another small world experience today

We were hiking the South Fork of Teton Canyon trail. As we were hiking in we came across a young family... Mom, dad and four kids. The boy had on a Cardinals baseball cap. I, of course, asked if he was from St. Louis. They were.

In talking with the dad, I learned they live in U. City just south of Delmar and Old Bonhomme. As the males were wearing head cover and based on where they lived, I assumed they we're orthodox Jews which the father confirmed.

I then asked him if they knew Stuart Zimbalist. They did! He asked if I knew David Smith. I said I did and that he was the son of Phil Smith who was the aquatics director at the "J" for many years.
 
     
  Story 12  
     
  My good friend Steve Odenwald from Belleville, IL was attending an event and ran into a young lady (Mari Castello) whose family lives in his neighborhood. In the conversation Mari mentioned that she would be leaving Belleville and taking a job for a non-profit out west. It turns out that job was in Driggs.

Steve said that he visited Driggs every summer. As she had never visited Driggs prior to her hire, she asked if Steve knew anyone would could help her answer the many questions she had,  He pointed her in my direction.