I first learned about the provenance of serendipity when I was in my late thirties.  I’d just found out that the man who raised me was not my biological father.   My mother still insists that I knew the truth about my past,  and  it was my decision at six years old, never to speak of him again.  A few weeks after I met my biological father, a letter arrived in the mail from his sister that cleared up a thirty year old mystery for me.  When I was six, I had a huge collection of stuffed animals that mysteriously vanished from our house while I was at school one day.  In the letter, my aunt explained how she used to work at a department store, and every payday, she bought a stuffed animal for me.  I also learned that my stepfather officially adopted me when I was six, and the day the paperwork was final, everything about my past went into the dumpster.

I am also reminded more frequently now of the power of serendipity thanks to the 10 pound Shih Tzu who lives in my house.  We got a phone call last winter to apply for seasonal jobs at the local ski lodge.  We headed up the mountain on a Tuesday afternoon at 2:00 and as we rounded the corner, a half frozen Shih Tzu with a huge chunk of hair missing from the middle of her back sat shivering in a snow bank.  She was emaciated and matted, and we adopted her on the spot.  We also found out we’d gone the wrong way to the lodge.  There was absolutely no reason to be in that particular place on that particular day….except for the provenance of serendipity.

A few days ago, while I was working at one of part time jobs, I got a phone call from a woman I would never have had any reason to meet otherwise. Her name is Shirley Lucas, and she was one of a very famous pair of sisters who worked as stunt riders, trick riders and rodeo queens in the 1940’s to the 1960’s. They doubled for everyone from Lucille Ball and Betty Hutton to Lauren Bacall and Esther Williams.  Shirley is 88 years old now and has a new book out called IT TAKES  A GOOD HORSE.  The book is self published and in desperate need of wider distribution and acknowledgement, so I put her together with Bobbi Jean Bell, owner of Outwest Boutique and Marketing, because Bobbi used to work for the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum and is as in love with the Old West as I am.  In fact, I admitted to Shirley that I wanted to be a cowgirl when I was growing up so badly I could hardly see straight.

I was also surprised to learn she is not in the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and has never been interviewed for a feature story by Cowboys and Indians Magazine.

This is the link to her website and the new book, and if anyone knows ANYONE who can help get this woman the recognition she deserves, then please, do whatever you can to make sure Shirley and Sharon Lucas are not forgotten. Because it seems to me that the path to this remarkable woman and our new friendship was meant to be.

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