Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write a Travelogue (11/06/14)
TITLE: The Innkeeper
By Francie Snell
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We stood at the front door disgruntled, about to leave and cancel our credit card payment, when the innkeeper made us an offer which caused us to pause.
“How ‘bout I upgrade you to a better room?” She walked a few steps down the hall and unlocked a door, then pushed it open, walked in and flicked on the lights. “How is this?”
We followed her into the room that was beautiful and generous in size. It was what we originally had in mind. Still, I felt deceived by the apparent false advertising and planned to leave the next morning.
Yet, after a restless night filled with prayer, I awoke with new resolve.
Breathing in the aroma of fresh brewed coffee, I sat up in bed. “Paul, I’ve been thinking; maybe we should just stay here, this isn’t so bad.”
Lying on his side, he peeked at me through a sleepy eye. “Yeah, this is fine.” He sighed. “I really don’t want to have to look for another place anyways.”
“Good.” I slid off the bed and walked out into the hallway where a woman stood at the coffee counter filling the containers of cream and sugar.
She smiled. “Good morning.”
“Good morning,” I said surprised to see a different face than the night before. She was older, extremely thin, and wearing a worn sweater and faded blue jeans.
I poured two cups of coffee. “Breakfast is at 9:10?”
I smiled, “Ok, see you then,” then ducked back into our room.
At 9:08, we arrived at the breakfast table set with meticulous care: a tasteful display of traditional fine china, along with creative renditions of bacon, eggs, and various side dishes, all appearing as if prepared by a chef.
The Innkeeper, now Hostess, stood by and chatted with us while waiting for the other guests. In our light conversation she made mention of angels.
Paul perked up. “So, are you a Christian?”
Nodding her head, “Oh yes, I am.”
We both looked at her with broad smiles.
After breakfast, Paul and I stood and said our goodbyes’ to the other guests. He left to his business appointment and I went back to our room.
It was not long before I returned to a clean table to find our hostess sitting alone sipping coffee. Her eyes lit up seeming to welcome my company; so I sat down to have another cup of my own.
We began to talk…
Born and raised in Oklahoma, she appeared older than she was at fifty-six.
Her son, her daughter, and her ex-husband had all died at different times. And with many battles fought between the losses, she eventually decided to run away to the California Coast where she survived homeless for over a year. During that time, she worked odd jobs whenever possible and eventually landed a part-time position as Innkeeper at that place, which also provided her a tiny room in the attic to live in.
For a moment, she looked and pointed up. “He’s taking good care of me.” Then looking back at me, “People ask me if I’m angry at God.” She scoffed and shook her head. “I’m not angry at God; I just don’t understand why things have happened this way… but I know He has a plan; I just don’t know what it is. I’m not mad. No. I know He loves me.”
She went on to share her empathy and compassion for the homeless, in that affluent, touristy little town, where money mattered most and the two worlds collided. “There’s a lot of homeless here, and they need help,” she said with determination.
I saw in her remarkable character, and realized if we had followed our impulses to leave the night before, we would never have met this woman, a rare find, and a living testimony of God’s grace.
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