The universe expands. And contracts.

This is a picture of Fredericton, New Brunswick, my birthplace and hometown for 16 years.

When I first moved to Toronto, I had no idea that Fredericton was actually the centre of the universe, but it became evident very quickly. No matter who I met - no matter where they were from, within minutes of them learning of my heritage, a connection evolved. They either had relatives there or knew someone from there, and a bond was formed. Nearly 40 years has passed and that is still the case.

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting two Frederictonians for business purposes. It's always fun to meet people from the "home team". There was an instant connection and much reminiscing about how much things have changed since I left. Things like the new hospital and high school, shopping and housing, and the closing of the Pony Club where I spent so much of my time.

We also talked about how much things have stayed the same. The population hasn't gone up much - still around 55,000. It's still one of the best places on earth to raise kids. And the friendliness is still so much a part of the place. For these fellows, one fell in love with the place while attending UNB and ended up there. The other grew up there, moved away to Toronto, but returned to marry the love of his life. They both love it there.

A second connection was formed within a heart beat. When I started to talk about my rug hooking, one of the guys just shook his head and chuckled. His wife is a rug hooker too. We laughed at how coincidental that was, but I wasn't surprised. The rug hooking community, which seems so small at first, comes shining through in all kinds of unexpected places. On a regular basis, my universe expands to include all these new people and experiences. And the degrees of separation lessen. (I'm sure I've blogged about that theory already.)

I have come to realize that the centre of my universe theory has to be amended slightly. It will now have two points of reference - the second of which has been there for some time, but now has totally dovetailed with the first. The world revolves around Fredericton and people who hook. If you happen to be from Fredericton and you hook, you are definitely in my epicentre


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