A Hat For Every Occasion

Ooookay people… the 10th of July 1957 fell on a Wednesday that particular year and Kenneth Dominic Manning was one of 32,500 babies born on this date. Had he lived beyond the 14th August 2016 today, he would have been 62 years, 0 months 0 days and, at the time of writing, exactly 9 hours and 44 minutes old.

My own entrance into the world did not occur until the 7th December 1959 by which time my husband- to- be was already toddling around. Even then, he usually had a football close to his feet and, his cheeky grin, the thing I first noticed and attracted me to him many years later, was already clearly in evidence.

As I have written about in my forthcoming book The Funny Thing About Being a Widow (cover being designed as we speak) I am fascinated by the seemingly random way in which we seem to ‘bump’ into significant people in our lives at the optimum times. How much of this is down to coincidence alone or, do other pre-destined factors exist which influence these events?

When I first met Kenny I was a 16 year old with big hair and an attitude to match and, he was a waiter in a local working men’s club which I used to go to so that I could listen to the live music acts. Once the cheeky grin and charm offensive were unleashed my head was well and truly turned, but when I encountered the devastatingly incisive wit, to put it topically, that was pretty much Game-set-and- match right there. I was either very lucky that this chance encounter lead to a marriage of 36 years duration or, is there more to it than that?

When Kenny died and I thought I would too, I was lucky enough to ‘bump’ into Jayne when we met on-line and, as a consequence, GOWNS or Grieving Overwhelmed Widows Negotiating Stuff was born…find us at gownsgroup.co.uk. That random click of a button catapulted me into a whole new direction and, even now, I marvel at the chances of it happening at the point of my greatest need. Coincidence? Possibly.

If I thought that my luck ‘ran out’ when I lost Kenny I am more inclined to believe nowadays that it still persists, but leads me down different paths to those I expected to be travelling along. It was yet another random click of a button on a dating site that lead me to the man I am about to marry in a few weeks time. Like my late husband above, who loved to wear hats, the man who will be my second husband was wearing a hat in his profile picture, which was why I sent him a message that said nothing other than ‘I want that hat’. He responded and, the rest, as they say is history or coincidence? Possibly.

Today, as I wish Kenny a happy Heaven birthday, I remain thankful for all the random coincidences which continue to befall me, usually when I am in need of a change of direction the most. I raise a glass to you today my darling, the adventure lives on.

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