We never know what or who a day will bring here at The Mill House. Last Thursday was one of those days. As I was doing my weekly pre-weekend chores to prepare for guests, I glanced out the front door and noticed a green clad, backpack laden fellow walking down the other side of the street. I watched him for a few seconds walk in the rainy weather and concluded he must be hiking through town. I didn’t think much of it since we get many cross country bicyclist in Grand Rapids each summer. I figured he must be walking to Mary Jane Thurston State Park to camp, although the wet rainy weather would make for a miserable night.
Ron and I continued with our daily routine, not putting much more thought into the hiker. We took off to run some errands and visit a friend with our business phone forwarded to my cell phone. While out and about, I received an inquiry about a room for the night with the possible guest promising to call me back when he had made a decision.
After returning home, we received a call back and our guest was standing at the front door. Guess who? It was the hiker who I had seen walking down the street. He seemed relieved to get in out of the damp weather and quickly introduced himself as Ed. Ed was from Silver Springs, Maryland and was hiking the canals in Ohio. He told us how glad he was that we had a room after a very trying day in Grand Rapids.
Not only was the weather crummy, but someone had called the sheriff on him. He had gone to our small town library and received a visit from the sheriff. Someone thought he was a homeless man wandering the streets. Ed explained that he was usually patient with these types of misunderstandings, but today he was just tired and frustrated. He mentioned that the mid-west states were particularly skeptical of hikers. Ed asked the sheriff to “google” his name to prove he was who he said he was. Apparently the sheriff was slightly embarrassed by the episode and apologized.
Ed Talone, is a hiker who has walked over 60,000 miles. He accompanied Sue Lockwood, a blind and diabetic woman, on her cross country hike in 1998. Ed wrote an article for American Hike entitled A Hiker Like Anyone Else . We enjoyed his stories and great sense of humor.
After Ed checked out, I left the inn to meet a friend for lunch. I received a call from Ron asking if I had gotten the room keys from Ed. Nope, I didn’t have them. Poor Ron ended up on a wild goose chase, playing phone tag with Ed and driving up and down county roads to retrieve the keys. Luckily Ed had gone into an auto repair shop and some customers told him they would return our keys to us. Ed emailed us later that day and claimed we had foiled his plans to keep our keys! We truly appreciated the note he left in the room journal…” In 60,000 miles of walking, I’ve never stayed in a friendlier place.” Thanks Ed, we hope you were truly refreshed by your night in The Mill House.
Proverbs 11:25 A generous person will prosper, whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.