“You know it’s a small world when you bump into friends you haven’t seen since grade school on the It’s A Small World Ride at Disney World.”

— Kilburn Hall

With more than 7 billion of God’s children co-existing in our world, upon occasion it is remarkable how small our world can appear.

For example, this past July I was eating breakfast at a small restaurant in Cody when I noticed a young man who was definitely earning his wages. The restaurant was filled with mostly Yellowstone tourists.

The young man, who I shall call Phil, was in perpetual motion as he greeted hungry patrons, monitored the buffet, cleaned tables, filled empty glasses and worked the register. While I was paying my bill, I asked Phil if he was a native Wyomingite. He smiled and told me that he grew up in Laramie.

While attending law school at the University of Wyoming in 1982, I met and befriended Joe Shumway, his wife Susan and their many little children (who are no longer little). Joe was our local congregation’s bishop and I worked closely with him for two years as our congregation’s elder’s quorum president.

So, while Phil was processing my bill I asked if he knew the Shumway family. He paused and looked at me as if I had slapped him. Then, quietly but with enthusiasm, Phil told me that the Shumway family was his foster family. He adored the Shumway family. Phil was truly amazed that I also knew the Shumways. Small world.

My niece, Emily Hyde, is presently serving as a missionary in California. Emily grew up in Utah. A few months ago, she was assigned to work in the city of Clovis where she met an elderly woman who was investigating our church. I shall refer to the elderly woman as Julie.

Julie had been investigating our church for a few years and had met and interacted with many of our missionaries during that time. Missionaries rarely stay in one assigned area/city for more than three or four months, after which they are assigned to a new area. Our young men serve for two years and our young women serve for 18 months. During a missionary lesson, Julie told Emily that her favorite missionary that she ever met was a Sister Walker from Cheyenne.

The Sister Walker about whom Julie spoke is my daughter, Tiffany. Tiffany was called to serve as a missionary in California in 2017 and she was assigned to work in the city of Clovis in 2019. Tiffany and Emily are first cousins. Small world.

This past July, many members of my family had a wonderful time vacationing in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi is 7,708 miles away from Cheyenne. It is also 10 hours ahead of our Mountain Standard Time.

After spending a few hours at the Abu Dhabi Warner Brothers World indoor theme park, which is located on YAS Island, we decided to visit and explore the Abu Dhabi shopping mall. I was a bit taken aback by the many familiar retail stores that were located within the massive mall. I could not help but notice the very familiar looking Texas Roadhouse restaurant that was located within the mall.

As a side note, I also found a quaint little novelty shop in the mall. I saw and bought a cute baby turtle carving at the novelty store. When I returned to my law office I brought my baby turtle with me so that I could add it to my eclectic turtle collection. I pulled a sticker off the baby turtle and was a little disappointed when I found an “Ecuador” sticker underneath the Abu Dhabi sticker. Oh well.

While walking around the Abu Dhabi mall, my wife (Trena) noticed a man who was wearing a Colorado Avalanche shirt. Trena asked him if he was from Colorado. He replied, “No, I am from Gillette, Wyoming.” Shortly thereafter, he introduced us to his wife, who grew up in Cheyenne and graduated from East High School. Small world.

John M. Walker is an attorney and lifelong Wyomingite who lives in Cheyenne. His email address is jwalkwyo7@gmail.com.

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