An intriguing number draws us to delightful surprises

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, November 14, 2012

Clockwise from upper left: Our odometer turned to 88888 at the McLean Creek turnoff from Highway 66 in Kananaskis Country. That kilometre concluded with this mountain vista near Elbow Falls. Lunch at Infusion restaurant in Bragg Creek provided a surprise encounter, left-to-right: Kateri Cowley, Mary Anna Harbeck, and Gloria Cowley, of Rafter Six Ranch fame. Photos by Warren Harbeck
Click for larger version

I love serendipity; my wife loves fascinating numbers – especially numbers on our car’s odometer. Now, delight in pleasant surprises is self-explanatory. But delight in fascinating numbers on the dashboard?

Over the years, Mary Anna has developed the knack for noticing intriguing numerical arrangements on our car’s odometer. We’ll be driving along and she’ll say, “Oh, look! It’s about to turn to 34567!” Palindromes – arrangements of letters or numbers that read the same forward or backward – especially catch her attention: “Look! 87678!” she’ll exclaim.

Recently, anticipation of one palindrome, in particular, captured her imagination: 88888. And this Monday was the day.

We decided to celebrate this milestone by heading into Kananaskis Country by way of Bragg Creek. We’d drive until the odometer read 88888 and take note of what we saw.

We eventually found ourselves heading west along Highway 66 toward Elbow Falls. As we approached the turnoff to the McLean Creek Provincial Recreation Area, there it was: 88888.

Embraced by foothills pine forest, we continued west for the next kilometre till at last, as we began the descent toward the bridge over the Elbow River, the palindrome ended at the very spot where the trees parted. There we were rewarded with one of those breathtaking mountain vistas for which K-Country is so famous.

Yes, what a delightful mix of serendipity and numbers. But the delight wasn’t over.

We headed back to Bragg Creek for lunch and pulled into picturesque Infusion Contemporary Cuisine. Some of Chef Air Bouphasiry’s tasty lobster bisque would be a great way to end our adventure.

As we entered the dining room, there they were – my beloved goddaughter Kateri Cowley and her mother, Gloria Cowley, from the Rafter Six Ranch near Exshaw! We hadn’t seen them since the beginning of summer. They’d taken a bit of R & R and had stopped at Air’s for lunch, too.

Over another cup of coffee they blessed us with unanticipated hugs and words, the perfect climax to our 88888 Serendipity Day.


© 2012 Warren Harbeck

Return to Coffee With Warren home page