|Me with Some of the Kind Strangers Along the Route|
I have time for just a quick post tonight. Just finished day 1 of my 3-Day Walk, 17 miles so far. Gentle and I spent the night with my old Girl Scout friend Diana. We had a wonderful visit last night, and then she drove us to the opening ceremony this morning.
We were up at 5:20 and out the door by 6:00, wearing lots of layers. I believe it was 38 degrees, but there was very little wind. The only thing cold on me was my toes, which were about frozen in my 5-finger shoes. We stood around waiting for over an hour before the opening ceremony. They were playing loud, fun party music, and my feet were tapping even as my eyes kept filling with tears. I was waiting behind a beautiful young woman with stubbly black hair. From the back, I could imagine she was Laura, walking with us just as she dreamed of doing.
I asked God if she could walk with us, like I felt she did a few weeks after her death. (That time, I went for a one-hour training walk and talked to her the whole time about every memory I had of our short, sweet friendship. I turned at one point and said, "Are you holding my hand?" I really think she was.)
This time, I just felt she was looking down from heaven, along with so many others who battled cancer. I missed her so much, but I was happy knowing she was at perfect peace.
My next tears came when I saw the long line of strangers cheering us on as we finally embarked on our journey. There were mothers, teenagers, babies, dogs, and Harley Davidson riders, and they all high fived us as we passed and said, "Thank you for walking."
We saw the most amazing and hilarious costumes along the way, like a man wearing only shorts, a pink bra, and a Miss April sash. Also a dog wearing a pink leotard and a black tutu.
Throughout the walk, people cheered, shouted, and high fived us. In the morning, we passed an elementary school where the children lined up in rows and cheered like we were movie stars. At that point it was still very cold, but their love really warmed me up.
In the afternoon, it was much warmer, a gorgeous 70 degrees or so. By then I was down to a T-shirt and a tennis skirt. Just before the last pit stop, we passed a high school where about 100 kids lined both sides of the sidewalk. Some of them just stood there looking bored, but many of them--both boys and girls--seemed very sincere as they thanked us for walking. Remember my recent negative experience with kids at the football game? Well, these kids restored my faith in teenagers.
When we arrived in camp around 4:00, two young men who looked to be college age asked if they could carry our bags to the tent site. When we got there, they informed us that they were going to set up the tent for us! Neither Gentle nor I has ever set up a tent, so we were ecstatic. I think they were our Komen angels for the day.
I wish I'd thought to take a picture of the tent; maybe tomorrow. Our twin air mattresses filled the entire space, and we had to leave our bulging duffle bags outside.
Well, that air mattress is calling me. More soon!