Starting out in Porto in a hostel that included a mixture of pilgrims and tourists one never knows who of the people at the hostel you will see again. Melissa Foley, pictures of her abound and I have spoken of her before on this blog, would turn out to be a Camino angel that reappeared every day of the walk and became for me the best part of each day.
At half my age, with twice my energy level she was an inspirational part of each days walk and a delightful conversation that made the kilometers go by. Not just for me but for the many people with whom she came into contact. She was capable of keeping pace with the best of walkers and conversations ranged from music to literature to growing up with a strong father whom she misses dearly.
I was surprised that she had never heard the Almond song “Sweet Melissa “. At the same time after a difficult climb one day I admitted that I was counting steps to focus my mind while she was repeating a poem by Yeates. She saved her biggest surprise for me on our last night here in Santiago. (She has continued to walk on to Muxia and Finesteere.)
As we were all having a night cap, she unveiled the sketch below. She had somehow found the time and energy to draw this sketch, dedicate it and frame it.
There are no words for such an act. Gratitude cannot cover the depth of emotions and the deep respect and love it took to do such a thing for this old pilgrim.
She is truly a Camino Angel.
Side note for Thomas, there could never be a down grade. There is no one better.