Jericho is an ancient city. I mean really ancient! 8000 BC ancient! I bet it is hard for you to wrap your mind around that tidbit of information. Me too! This city was one of the places we visited as we toured the Holy Land. While standing atop a hill overlooking the modern city, our guide Mike gave us a history lesson about the area, pointed out the Mountain of Temptation, where Jesus wandered for 40-days following his baptism and indicated the road ancient travelers would use to travel from Samaria to Jerusalem. Oh by the way we also visited a Sycamore tree. You remember the story of a small man who wanted to see Jesus but the crowd was too tall so he climbed a tree. Jesus saw him up in the tree and motioned for Zacchaeus to come out of the tree so that Jesus could visit with him at his home. So much history so little time.
The camel ride was a hit to most of the other women in our group as well. The line was long but finally the oldest woman in our group was afforded her turn at riding the beast. Peggy is 87-years-old and was an absolute joy to be with on this trip. She was game for most anything, which at times was a concern for her traveling partner or daughter, Mikki. When it was her turn to ride, our eyes were focused on the camel’s owner as he lifted Peggy onto the camel’s back. We watched to see if she had both hands on the saddle handle and shortly thereafter we gave a collective gasp when the camel started to get up from his sitting position. As the camel began to rise, Peggy dipped towards the ground, and with a look of fear Mikki ran towards her mom with her arms open and ready to assist her if necessary. No worries. Everything went great and the smile on Peggy’s face was blinding as she rode around the parking lot. She had a blast! When her turn had finished, we all stood with anticipation of her dismount. There was no need for our worry as the owner carefully lifted Peggy off his animal and then showed off a bit by turning to the crowd with a big smile and posing for a pic with his rider. It was a great moment for both of them.
Jericho was one of those places that is now written in my memory not just because of its history but mostly because of the shared experience of the fun and joy found in riding this camel with my bus mates. These are moments to cherish. I will always remember the smile on Peggy’s face and the fact that the rest of us were ready to jump in and help her if necessary. It was a feeling of a caring camaraderie that was encouraged by our guide, Mike who often said, “Take care of each other.” We did!