Karma Cousins

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I met Laura at the first meditation retreat I ever went to.  Before the retreat began there was a continental breakfast and social time. Laura and I had never met, but quickly learned that we had a lot in common. A love of animals and the arts. I was hand dying wool for rug hooking at the time and she was planning a dye garden… plants to be used to make dyes. She had several acres of land with a few animals. I had studied behavior analysis and worked in an animal shelter. She was a psychologist who worked mostly with people with developmental disabilities in residential facilities. These retreats took place several times a year, so every few months we would meet up again. We were casual friends, but we always had a good time chatting and getting to know each other.

About 3 years after I started attending the retreats, in about 2013, we were sitting together at lunch with several friends. Someone had made an amazing Indian vegetarian stew, and there were a variety of other delectable offerings. Laura mentioned that she was going to be taking her mother to Ponca City, Oklahoma the following weekend.

“Ponca City?” I knew that town. “Why are you going there?”

“To visit relatives, why?”

“I was born there.”  

Our eyes widened, but we continued to eat and chat with others at the table.

“I can’t stand it,” I said after a while. “This is not likely, but what is the name of your family in Ponca?”

Laura’s mouth was full. Her dear friend, Will, was across the table. He said, “She’s a Kinzie.”

There was a pause. I looked at Laura and said, “I am related to some Kinzies. My cousins lived in town. Their grandparents lived out in B’ois D’arc.” We pronounced it Bow Dock.

“My family lived in B’ois D’arc,” she replied. There were only about 10 houses out there. “Who did you know?”

“Well, my Aunt Norma,” I answered.

“NO! MY Aunt Norma!!!”

Norma Kinzie? Yes, Norma Kinzie.  

“Norma is my Dad’s sister,” I told her.

“Norma is my uncle Gale’s wife.”

“And your cousins are…”

“Jack, Susan, Doug, and Julie.”

“Those are MY cousins.”

It turned out that Laura and I were not related by blood, but we had the same Kinzie cousins. Three years into our friendship we made this discovery.

I looked around the table. Everyone’s eyes were wide and everyone had stopped eating and talking.

“We’re COUSINS!” I mean, this just doesn’t happen does it? We knew each other for 3 years and didn’t have any idea. If she hadn’t casually mentioned that she was taking her Mom to Ponca City we would have never known.

We became fast friends after that. We texted almost daily. We spend weekends at each other’s houses, hers in the country, mine in the city. We sat on the porch drinking wine or tea. We went old school and mailed things to each other. We loved going shopping at antique and thrift stores. Years later when someone new would join our meditation center, someone would mention, “Oh, and Laura and Kellie… they are related!” We would share the whole story.  

She dubbed us the Karma Cousins, and we remain so until this day.

Laura has been ill for a while now, but remains a canny and precious friend. I’ve moved to Pittsburgh, PA, which turned out to be where she got her undergrad degree, but we still text. It’s funny that she doesn’t email or do anything with computers, but she texts often. She ran a private psychology practice without a computer. I don’t know how she did it.

There were so many coincidences over the years. She and Will went to the Unitarian Church when they moved to Dallas. I later became an active member for well over 20 years at the same place. In fact, I found the meditation center that led to us eventually meeting because it was held in a Unitarian Universalist church. I was used to UU churches. I knew that church, in fact. It gave me something familiar to hang onto while I tried out something very different. I figured if I didn’t like the meditation center I could go across the hall to choir practice.

Ask the questions, Friends. You never know what you’ll find out.

Do you have any interesting coincidences that have changed your life?

Categories: Family, Love and Compassion, Meditation

Kellie Snider, MS

When I was a young child, my father, my grandmother, an uncle, and a teacher noticed and complimented my talent and interest in drawing. My family didn’t know how to help me make a career in art, but they made sure I knew that my art was a good thing. I was fortunate to grow up in a time when the arts were still considered an essential part of a well-rounded education. I had a very good art teacher in elementary school, and I was able to continue studying art throughout middle school and high school. I even ventured a couple of years of college-level art study.

My education in art did not include the business of art, so I went off and got a traditional job as a draftsman, the kind that drew with pencils and templates on sheets of vellum, spread across massive desks. (I always named my desks Carlisle.) I worked for an oil company, a shipyard, a power company, and for NASA’s Johnson Space Center TV Department. I was there during some pivotal moments in space history. I also met the man I would marry. I stayed home to raise our kids for a few years, and while doing that I worked as a freelance writer and did some freelance art as well. But then I got a deep interest in animal behavior thanks to an aggressive cockatoo we had, got an advanced degree in behavior analysis and launched a career in animal welfare. That career lasted nearly 15 years, and it nearly did me in. The burnout and compassion fatigue was overwhelming.

When I was laid off from a director’s position in animal welfare during Covid Times, I began to paint to help ground myself. People began to show an interest in my painting and I got many requests for commissions. That was when I realized that I could learn the business side of art and be a real live artist full time.

I have never been happier in my professional life. I wake up every day, have a lovely cup of tea with breakfast, and head to my studio. My days are rich and peaceful. I’ve come home for good.as trained as a behavior analyst, but I am what Barbara Sher called a Scanner. I'm interested in a lot of different things, and once I learn a lot about them I'm ready to learn something new. But all the things involve somebody's behavior. This blog is about how behavior and different activities intersect.

Constructional Approaches will be discussed a lot.

1 Comment

  1. Rebecca Forrest

    I have a dear friend named Karen. She and I were in college together, in the same major, but I was a year or two ahead of her. We had a few classes together. I didn’t meet her.

    After I graduated, I didn’t look for a job right away. Instead, I agreed to teach a class in creative writing at an art center. But right before I was to start, I got an unexpected job offer I couldn’t pass up. I had to back out of the class. The organizer said it was okay, as she’d had another applicant who was well qualified, too. That applicant was Karen. She taught the class. I didn’t meet her.

    When I job-hunted again a few years later, I got an offer in a publications department and was just about to accept it when I got an offer I liked better elsewhere. I called the pubs manager to decline. She said she just heard from another excellent applicant. That was Karen. She took the job I declined. I didn’t meet her.

    Finally, a year or two later, I joined an international professional association. I went to local meetings. Somewhere in there, I finally met Karen, who had joined the same association.

    So, about 10 or 12 years after our first opportunity to meet, we finally met. And became best friends.