So my senior softball teammate, Brian, tells me that a friend of his is coming to softball practice today. The friend lives nearby and wants to check us out, see how we play, see if he fits in, see if he might be interested/able to join us.
The guy shows up and introduces himself as Paul. It's clear he has "baseball chops"--plays well at first base and can hit the ball well.
After his turn at bat, he comes out and stands near me. He says, "I hear you're a Rabbi." I say, "Yes, but how did you know?" He says, "Brian told me. I'm a Member of the Tribe as well."
I say, "What's your last name?" He says, "Stiegler." I say, "I knew a Stiegler family in Minnesota." He says, "I grew up in Minnesota."
I say, "Ione (pronounced, i-own)." He says something rude, the equivalent of, "You're putting me on." So I say, again, "Ione." He says the same thing. Thinking that he might be thinking I'm saying something in a foreign language (after all, Ione is a rare first name), I say, "No. Ione Stiegler is the name of a woman who lived near us in Minneapolis."
He says, "Ione Stiegler is my mother."
Ione is in her 90's now and was a good friend of my late mother, Ann. We lived at 1611 Upton Avenue North. They lived at 1607, right next door!
I gave him a big hug. Turns out he lives in Middleton, almost "right next door" to us now!