She must have been in her 80s–maybe older–and she looked like an artist on an expedition with her sketchbook and supplies. “Young lady!” she called, and I looked around (it’s been a long time since I was a young lady) but indeed she meant me. “Young lady! I have a luncheon appointment at the Century Club. It’s only a block away, but it’s so warm and humid. May I please have a ride there?” Of course I said yes–what else could I say?–and we had a pleasant chat on the short trip to the Century Club.
It turned out she had come halfway across the country for the house walk, traveling by herself, and she was clearly enjoying the experience. She eagerly seized the opportunity to ask a local (me) for facts, figures, and interpretations of what she’d seen so far that day.
When we got to the Century Club, we shook hands and said goodbye, and we’ll never see each other again. But I’ll remember her. I think she’s a terrific role model for all of us.
Think about it: Would you travel halfway across the country alone to see something interesting? Would you be so eager to learn everything you could about a new place that you’d seize the opportunity to ask a local question after question? Why or why not?
Audrey Riley is director for stewardship for Women of the ELCA.
Photo of “biker” by Kamyar Adl, used with permission, Creative Commons