This is a true story. It really happened. It happened to me. It happened Saturday and Sunday, February 8 and 9, 2003.

Jimmy Smith, our contractor is almost finished with the bathroom. Over his end-of-the-day beer, I discussed putting him on a page of my web site so he could convey his story and pictures to his family and friends in Ireland where he grew up.

Jimmy and his wife were going to go to dinner that evening at the home of his niece who lived in San Francisco. Since Jimmy doesn't have a computer, but his niece does, I wanted him to be able to impress him with a swiftly prepared, creative web page that evening. I gave him my card with my e-mail address and wrote my web site location on it as well. I told him to have his niece visit my web site that evening.

When he left, I composed a page based on an internet search from the notes I had just taken during our discussions. Focusing on locations in and around his boyhood home at Tullyvin, Ireland, I composed a web page for Jimmy Smith. At one point, I write in that web site, "Q: Where is Tullyvin?"  And then I provide this answer which I copied from a site I had researched. "Ans: 7 miles to Cavan; 12 miles to Ballyconnell; 15 miles to Monaghan; 22 miles to Enniskillen; 70 miles to Donegal or Sligo; 75 miles to Dublin or Belfast; 100 miles to Galway, 185 miles to Cork."

Note the name "Sligo". It was to me a new name, a strange name and, of course, a place I had never heard of.

Then to my amazement, on the Sports Page of the San Francisco Chronicle, the very next day was the following headline under the HORSE RACING section: "Seinne's big kick tops Sligo Bay". The story starts off with this paragraph: "With superior acceleration and clear sailing under jockey Ron Warren, Seinne outfinished favored Sligo Bay by 1 1/4 lengths in the $100,00 Tanforan Handicap on Saturday at Golden gate Fields. Click the newspaper to see the amazing coincidence, capping this story, a true story, a story which happened to me ..... the story of SLIGO BAY.

Somewhat ironically, Tanforan is our shopping center, just down the street. It is the former location of the San Francisco Peninsula's race track, hence the name of the race, "Tanforan Handicap". You can read more about  Jimmy Smith  by going to his page on my web site.

Dear Alan:

Even stranger coincidence is that on Thursday Vera met you at the PX at Moffet and mentioned we were going to Ireland. But she didn't tell you that her father was from Donegal, right outside of Sligo. Strange isn't it.


(Charles Burns in an e-mail to me, Monday, 10 February 2003. Vera is Charles' spouse)