Then there was the time in the lounge car of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief when I was approached by a 30ish Japanese doctor who had spotted the distinctive red B on my cap. He was returning to Japan after two years of residency at a Boston hospital where he had been studying the newest techniques in organ transplants. During his time in Boston, he had become a rabid and very knowledgeable Red Sox fan. We ended up having dinner together that night in the dining car.
A year ago, I had taken some visiting relatives to the top of Haleakala, the 10,000-foot dormant volcano here on Maui. We were all gazing down into the crater when I noticed that a middle-aged man standing near me was also sporting a Sox cap. He had already spotted me and of course we struck up a conversation. It turned out we had both graduated from the same boys’ school back in Connecticut. Go figure!
But the weirdest experience so far occurred a dozen or so years ago in the town of Pecs in the south of Hungary. My wife and I were on our way to visit the town’s weekly outdoor market and came across a battered old Skoda – the eastern bloc equivalent to a VW beetle – parked on a side street. A huge decal almost filling the entire rear window read:
BOSTON RED SOX
1986 AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONS
I hung around for a while, hoping the owner would show up. He never did, but all these years later, I wish I had waited longer.