Dawn Ligon and her family were moving from Reno, NV, to Santa Barbara, CA. On the drive, Dawn reviewed notes she’d saved about their destination. Two different people from two different states gave her the same name: Anne Towbes. One was our cousin Mickey from Sarasota who met Dawn on a cruise ship and described my sister as her “favorite cousin.” The second was a bridge teacher from Boston.
Of the many names she’d received, Anne was the one person Dawn called. Anne asked Dawn to “a lovely lunch,” Dawn says. She adds, “Since I was 17 years younger, I could tell she wasn’t sure what to do with me.”
After lunch, my ever thoughtful sister (maybe that’s why she’s the favorite cousin) invited Dawn to play bridge. “Bridge sees no age differences,” Dawn says.
As a new player, Dawn was nervous. But she survived. Anne’s partners proceeded to teach Dawn the game as well as the best doctors, hairdressers and local restaurants. In turn, Dawn helped them with their iPhones and iPads. The group became devoted to each other. They started traveling together for bridge and taking lessons together. Dawn became the leader of what she called “the Bodacious Bridge Babes.”
A local country club hosted a members-only program with Larry Cohen, a 26-time national bridge champion. Though she longed to attend, Dawn didn’t belong to the club. At the last minute, a member cancelled. A sub was needed. The favorite cousin called Dawn who was dressed and ready in hopes of such an alert. As a thank you to my sis, Dawn gave her one of the speaker’s CDs.
After, Dawn emailed Cohen, thanking him and offering suggestions to make his next visit more fruitful. He emailed back asking for more. “By the next morning I had about 20 more ideas for marketing, tours and books,” Dawn says. “I was thrilled to converse with someone I revered.”
Days later, Cohen offered Dawn a job as his first marketing director. Dawn’s teenage children would soon leave for college. She was ready for a new challenge. “It was a dream job!”
Not long after, my sister held a charity fundraiser. A guest from St. Louis noticed the Larry Cohen CD on Anne’s desk. In her thank you note, she mentioned she was a fan of the famous bridge teacher. Anne reported the response to Dawn. Dawn arranged for Cohen to speak at the woman’s club in St. Louis next year. And Dawn is off and running lining up other gigs.
“I think we all need to take our cues from Godsigns,” Dawn says. “I’m so glad I had the courage to follow the ones I was given. When I meet people new to the area, I try to be as inviting as Anne was to me. And if they play bridge… well, that’s just another Godsign that we MUST be friends.”