- Paperback: 370 pages
- Publisher: AuthorHouse (November 20, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1477289232
- ISBN-13: 978-1477289235
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 29 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #986,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Grandma's on the Camino: Reflections on a 48-Day Pilgrimage Walk to Santiago Paperback – November 20, 2012
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About the Author
Mary O'Hara, born on a Midwest farm in 1940, studied eight years in a one-room country school, four in a convent and six years at a Jesuit University before teaching in St. Louis at Roosevelt High School and the Job Corps. In the early 70's, living in the Village in New York City, she married Larry Wyman and moved to San Francisco, raising two children, Amelia and Nathan. Mary retired from the US Dept. of Labor as a federal Job Corps Program Manager. For more than 20 years, Mary has been deeply involved with the Centering Prayer Christian meditation movement. In 2010, at age 70, she walked every single step of the 500 mile Camino Frances in Spain to Santiago de Compostela.
Top customer reviews
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My little miracle came the day I went to the airport in St. Louis to pick up a rental car for a road trip I had been planning. I was in a good mood looking forward to the arrival in town of my friend who would accompany me to Chicago, relieved that the weeks of planning were finally coming together and ready for some time off. On the escalator a friendly trio and I joked about a silly-sounding announcement we just heard. They were a 70-ish woman and her 30-something son and daughter.
Approaching an array of doors, the family slowed their steps a bit looking for a sign pointing them in the right direction (a yellow arrow perhaps) while I’m a local who’s familiar with the terminal so I head toward the door I want. Now maybe it’s because we are in an airport and EVERYONE is traveling, or perhaps because these three have made me laugh with warm, welcoming wit for all of 20 seconds but I like them and wish them a good journey, or maybe because I’m just pathologically incapable of passing up an opportunity to be a wiseacre, I gave a little wave and bade them, “Buen Camino!”
It’s a good thing we were in an airport terminal with the high, vaulted ceiling typical of such places because if the room were any smaller my ears would have popped from the vacuum created by the gasp from the older woman! She and her daughter looked at me, then at each other, then at me again, smiles of surprise growing on their open, friendly faces. The older woman stepped toward me and took my hand in hers, clasping it warmly. She peered into my eyes and asked, “Do you know The Camino?” I was surprised and began to sputter that I had been reading several Camino memoirs lately and no, I had not walked the Way myself, but yes, it had crossed my mind… I don’t remember everything we said to each other in those first few seconds, but I do remember her saying to me those words which would very quickly become familiar to her readers and fellow travelers: “My name is Mary. What is your name?”
It turned out that her family and I were heading for the same rental-car shuttle, so we walked and talked together. She had walked The Camino de Santiago de Compostela 7 years earlier and had written a book about her journey. She pulled a copy from her bag and showed it to me. She said she would have given it to me right then and there if she had not already promised it away. I promptly answered that I would have insisted she autograph it! Her daughter suggested I photograph it so I can look it up later, so now I have not only a great book suggestion, but a lovely photo of Mary holding up her book with a huge smile. (I’ll add it to this review if Mary reads this and gives the OK to post her picture.) I promised her that I would order it on Amazon as soon as I got home that afternoon, which I did. According to the inside cover, it was printed that very day. (She gave a coy smile and an eyelash-bat and said she hoped I’d give her a good review.) She explained the layout of her book—each chapter reflecting one day of the pilgrimage, consisting of a postcard she had sent to her granddaughter, her daily journal entry and then a few lines, paragraphs or pages of reflection on the events of that day and the gifts each experience had given her. I asked about the highlights of the Camino. Did she see the chickens in the Cathedral of Santo Domingo? Did she have the garlic soup in San Juan de Ortega? Where did she come down on the dicey question of Compeed versus draining blisters with dangling threads? (Ok, I admit I may have imagined that last part in my excitement…)
Mary and her daughter Amelia and her son Nathan had come to town for a family gathering, as Mary grew up in the area and had lived in St. Louis many years ago. For the few minutes of our meeting and shuttle ride, I felt as though I was making a new friend, one of those people you are happy to know and to whom you can always look for calm reassurance that all will be well. Mary’s serenity and absolute certainty of her place in a complicated world and on a complicated journey shines through on every page of her book and even more in person. Mary has just over 20 years on me and meeting her in just those few minutes convinced me that whenever I feel old and tired and annoyed that I’m not in my energetic twenties anymore, I should simply take a clearer look at what the problem REALLY is. Is it I who am old and tired or is it my habits? As I age I come to realize what lessons I’ve learned along the way, what lessons I still need and what sorts of people I can learn them from. Mary O’Hara Wyman is one of those people who is that very best kind of teacher: an example. For her and for so many women like her, I take a deep breath, smile and say a heartfelt, “Thank you, St. James!”
I found it odd that she sought medical advice about her feet more than once, ignored it, yet continued to complain at length (truly at length) about them. That got old.
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