Small world theory

 A social network exhibits the small-world phenomenon if, roughly speaking, any two individuals in the network are likely to be connected through a short sequence of intermediate acquaintances.

Jon Kleinberg

I drove up to Red Deer yesterday to deliver 13 paintings to Cilantro and Chive on 50th Avenue. It must be a popular restaurant, as several people on my social media have commented that they are regulars. My sister-in-law is also a fan, as she does a fair number of conferences and programs in the area. 

Kim (the co-owner with her hubby) and I spent about 90 minutes deciding how to group the paintings and get them hung up, most on the black wall shown above, and a few others above the bar, which you will see as you come in or as you leave. I'm so grateful and excited for the opportunity to share some of my work for several months in such a great space.

As we were working, Kim and I got to talking. It turns out we have something in common. We both spent time in the radio broadcasting industry. I was an announcer and program director; she was a news reporter and announcer. I'm not sure why, but I threw a hail Mary pass and asked if the name "Dan Chabot" meant anything to her. Dan and I did the Q14 morning show together for a number of years back in the early 1990s. In fact, I hired him and brought him to Alberta from his previous gig in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island.

"He was my mentor," said Kim.

"What???" I replied.

She went on to explain that she grew up in the Halkirk area, just down the road from Stettler. She spent time at the radio station, back in the days when it was still set up in the house on 48th avenue.  Dan introduced her to the world of radio, news reporting and announcing. 

As she spoke of Dan, memories started pouring back for me. We had so much fun in those early hours of the day before anyone else arrived. We'd go through two pots of coffee before 8 am and had a blast with each other live on the air. He was an avid Montreal Canadians fan, a devoted husband and father, and a disciplined note taker. Dan kept files on everything. Years later, I would get random emails from him reminding me of important days in my life. 

Exactly four years ago, this email arrived:

A happy wedding anniversary to you & Heather for October 12th.. We have not forgotten you and your constant friendship through the years..

I received this note in April of 2020, just a few months before he passed, again referencing his meticulous notes kept for significant events that happened over the years:

Russell, ma boy.. Hope all is going well for you and your family.. Best regards to Heather and your family.. Did you know that this week (Apr 30) will mark the 30th anniversary of your start at C J A V Radio in Port Alberni, B C .. What fond memories we both have of that place and its people..

Dan's care and attention, coupled with his love of news and community, had a profound impact on a young Kim and helped fuel her desire to pursue a radio career professionally. She has gone on to become a successful business owner and community supporter in the Red Deer/Lacombe area. 

I love these random moments of connection, the memories they rekindle, and the new friendships they create. 


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