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Waitress Discovers Ancestors’ Photo Hanging on Restaurant Wall

Cracker Barrel Miracle (Photo by Dave Spencer)

“If coincidences are just coincidences, why do they feel so contrived?” – Fox Mulder, “The X-Files”

I completely agree with the fictional federal agent. If something seems to be a coincidence, why does it feel like everything fell into place to make sure it happened precisely as it did? Coincidence? I think not. And when I learned the story of Sandra, a server at the Owensboro Cracker Barrel, I felt the exact same way.

Tough Times for a Military Wife

Sandra (who asked me to refrain from using her last name) recently came to Owensboro from Terre Haute, Indiana. She did so in order to be equally close to her grandchildren and the doctors who were caring for her husband, who had had a heart attack. Times have been tough. Sandra’s husband, who is retired from the military, lost his benefits when a paperwork mix-up led the Army to believe that he was dead. They were forced to sell just about everything for the money. But since her husband was believed to be deceased, Sandra figured she could collect her widow’s benefits. However, for that to occur, she needed to produce a death certificate, which she could not do because he is, after all, still living. A vicious cycle if ever there was one.

An Amazing Discovery at Work

So what happened one day while she was working at Cracker Barrel must have felt like a huge ray of hope straight through her soul. Sandra was having a bad day and thinking about her niece, Cammi Jo, who had recently passed away. They were very close. She was sweeping an aisle in the back dining room when she looked up and said, “Oh my lands, it’s Cammi Jo.” Hanging on the wall above a large round table was an old framed photograph of a young woman and her daughter. Sandra took a picture of that photo and sent it to her sister-in-law, Cammi Jo’s mother. As it turns out, the baby in the photograph is Sandra’s great-great-great grandmother, and the baby’s mother is the one who is identical to Cammi Jo. This picture is the picture that hung above the piano in Sandra’s great-grandmother’s home. Sandra’s mother has since called the folks at Cracker Barrel and arrangements are being made to get the photo back to the family.

What an incredible story. I’ve been writing this while battling a case of the cold chills. Can you imagine, after all this time, something like this happening? And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person. I only met Sandra today, but I am very impressed. To say she is possessed of an indomitable spirit seems, actually, like an understatement. And to discover this photo after its whereabouts have been unknown for so long must seem like a real shot in the arm to someone who has really been through the wringer. As I left Cracker Barrel, I told Sandra that I hoped everything would work out alright for her. Without missing a beat, she said, “Oh, it will.”

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