John McCaslin

In October, this columnist was visiting a tiny "out island" in the Bahamas measuring three miles long by a quarter-mile wide. Few people live on the island, which one only reaches by boat, so the fact that one of the islanders — "Pops" — was wearing a Washington Redskins cap immediately caught my eye.

"I'm the only Redskins fan on Harbour Island," gushed the Bahamian, pointing out that other locals who happen to follow professional football cheer for the Miami Dolphins, their stadium being 175 miles to the northwest.

Pops didn't hesitate rattling off the names of his favorite Redskins players, including cornerback Shawn Springs, and he spoke highly of Joe Gibbs — neither of us realizing, of course, that it would be the final season for the legendary coach who brought three Super Bowl trophies to Washington.

A week or so after encountering Pops, I happened to be seated behind Redskins owner Dan Snyder and his wife, Tanya, for a movie premiere in downtown Washington. I immediately told them about this lone Redskins fan on an island so small that roosters roam its streets right alongside the people.

Mrs. Snyder's eyes lit up, telling her husband how nice it would be to send Pops a package of Redskins keepsakes. The enthusiastic owner agreed, and he asked if I might be able to find the mailing address for the Bahamian. I explained that there are no street numbers on the island because there's no mail service — not even a post office.

However, I assured the Snyders that on my next visit to the island I would gladly carry however many Redskins souvenirs I could squeeze into my suitcase and present them to Pops on their behalf. So it was agreed.

A little less than two weeks ago at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va., Mr. Snyder had waiting for me a cardboard box with Pops' name on it filled with every Redskins trinket and collectors' item imaginable, including an extra-large burgundy and gold football jersey — # 24 — autographed by Shawn Springs.

In order to reach this particular cay in the Atlantic Ocean one flies by small plane to an isolated airstrip on an adjacent island and from there hops aboard a small wooden boat steered by whichever Bahamian happens to pull up to ferry you and your luggage the rest of the way for the incredibly low price of $5. (It was $4 until OPEC raised the price of crude.)

Fifteen minutes later, as the sun dipped low in the late afternoon sky, my bag and I were deposited on a practically empty dock stacked with empty crates and fish pots.

And then it happened: one of those amazing coincidences in life, a "small world" story that for all of us springs up from time to time. I stepped off the dock, rounded the corner, and it can't be, can it?

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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