Teacher Joanne Finch with her new friend Richard and his wife.

Teacher Joanne Finch with her new friend Richard and his wife.

His name was Richard. He was my new friend from the St. Francis Inn. The first night we arrived, I volunteered to be the “juice pourer” out in the courtyard. The guests were mingling out in the courtyard and I happily poured the juice. That’s where I met him.

He told me something bizarre about an elephant going to the hospital to find some peanuts. I responded, “Oh, that must have been a sight!” We both laughed. He then started talking normally to me after that. He had some really far-fetched stories but I still enjoyed interacting with him. 

As he continued speaking, I realized he reminded me of someone. His way of speech and his mannerisms reminded me of one of my brothers! I fell in love with my new friend.

The next day he brought his wife to the Inn and they were seated at my table. I enjoyed their company and snuck them an extra dessert. I looked forward to seeing them every day. And then the last day came. Our delegation was heading home after lunch and I was hoping to see them again. As it turned out, it wasn’t very busy that day. Richard and his wife were the only people I had to serve at that particular time. I decided I was hungry too, so after I served them their lunch, I fixed myself a plate and joined them. I was having lunch with my friends. When we finished eating, Richard’s wife went to go get her “take-home” dessert.

Richard looked at me and then put his hand in mine. We just sat in silence holding hands. It was his way of thanking me. Or was it Jesus thanking me? His wife returned and I gave her a big hug telling her, “I’ll see you when I come back next time.” Richard looked at me like “Where’s my hug?” I hugged him and told him, “See you later.”  I turned my back and wanted to cry because I knew I was leaving this incredible place of charity and love. Until next time…