There’s only one and a half degrees of separation from Butte.

Have you heard the theory that there are only six degrees of separation between one person and Kevin Bacon?

I think there’s only one and a half from Butte Montana.

It started in Walmart, where I was buying groceries. I typically don’t shop there, but I was fresh from the gym, and I figured I was the least likely to run into anyone there.

In the spices aisle as I was picking up a box of cocoa powder for the Texas sheet cake I was making that evening, a man stopped me to ask if I knew where breadcrumbs were. I started to answer his question, but he interrupted me.

“Oh, Seattle U!” He said, pointing to my t-shirt. “My son went to Seattle U!”

“Really?” I responded. “When did he graduate from Seattle U?”

“Well, he only went there for 2 years…then he, well…I guess then he transferred. He goes to MSU now.”

“Oh! Well, what years was he there?”

“2004–2006.”

“I was there then! I graduated in 2006.”

“I wonder if you know him,” The dad states, as his son walks up the aisle.

I take one peek, and I nearly fall over.

Oh yeah…I know him. I was his Resident Adviser his Freshman year.

And he was not exactly well behaved. In fact, I’m pretty sure I know why he transferred.

So, bad enough that we’ve run into each other, but of course it had to be while I was wearing Spandex and had post-gym hair. I’m sure I looked REAL impressive. He didn’t glare at me, or treat me unkindly, but behind his eyes there was a coldness. I’m pretty sure he didn’t really want to talk to me.

The dad’s completely oblivious to all of this. “Are you from Montana originally?”

I explained that I am, and how I ended up where I ended up, continually glancing over to the son.

“I’m from Butte, originally,” the dad says.

“So’s my mom! Her maiden name was G*******”.

“Is she related to MC? I went to school with a MC G********.”

I explain that MC is my aunt, and the dad is just over the moon.

“What a coincidence! It’s so funny that we ran into each other here, and that you know my son and I know your aunt! How fun!”

I smile, and politely end the conversation by telling the dad how to find breadcrumbs in Walmart. I tell the son it’s nice to see him again, and that I hope he likes being back in Montana.

I’d call a meeting like that a lot of things, but none of them would be “fun.”

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