Last Friday, the first of October, I spent a most wonderful day with Hope. Hope is my sixteen year old friend from church. I cannot describe the beauty of this young girl for she is beautiful both inside and outside. She stands about 5'3” with dark shoulder length hair, light olive skin, warm hazel eyes. For some mysterious reason I have been chosen to be her “best friend” which is a great honor to me. Friday was a gorgeous Fall day. The sky brilliant – the sun bright - a warm breeze ushered us on our way as we left Hope's house and headed off to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, for lunch at Red Robin. She had a “big whopper” of a hamburger, and I broke the rules and gorged on french fries. Oh my, those forbidden fries tasted so good. Now Hope is a talker, and so am I, we lingered over an hour talking a mile a minute. I have to admit by the time we were ready to leave I felt sixteen again. As we were ready to leave the waitress asked Hope, “Is this your grandmother?” She answered, “No,” this is my best friend – a higher compliment I will never receive.
My precious little friend and I found our way to downtown Coeur d'Alene and the famous Hagadone Hotel that sits on beautiful Coeur d'Alene Lake. Like teenagers we cruised the tourist stores in the hotel. Hope holding on to my hand nearly every step of the way. When she wasn't holding my hand she was holding on to my arm. We decided we couldn't afford the gift shops so hand in hand off we went to see what main street offered. We stepped into a small covered mall and right before our very eyes was this scrumptious little Candy store that had jars and jars of candy – way too much temptation! Once again I broke the rules. But. My little sack of candy was sugar free. With candy sacks in hand we strolled main street talking, eating, laughing and investigating every store both sides of the street.
We ended this wonderful day walking the boardwalk that sits on the lake and circles the hotel. It is such a magical place – the scenery is out of this world – the mountains – the sea gulls – the boats. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day as we talked of Hope's dreams for her future. I can't count the times that Hope told me how much she loves me and how much I mean to her. I was able to reciprocate her feelings and told her how grateful I am that God has sent her into my life. We spent six hours together and not once did I feel my years or think of my illness. Blessings often come in small ways and large packages. The blessing of this day will always be in my heart. There will be many more precious experiences with Hope – after all we are best friends.