Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Hebron Crossroads 5-16-04
By Jeff Gill

We closed the basement door a few weeks ago. No big deal, right?
In the Gill household, we haven’t closed the basement door in seven homes over sixteen years: it’s how the cats got to the litter box.
We moved from seminary housing into a home in my parish in some part because we adopted a grey cat whom we called Gandalf. Actually, he adopted us at the close of a three day revival at the church, showing up each evening to greet arrivals at the door and meow goodbye each night.
The last night he jumped into our car, the last to leave the parking lot. Skipping a few mushy details, he briefly lived an illegal life with a litter box in the half bath until we went to our first home with a basement.
Before we left that house to move to Newark, Ohio from Indianapolis, I brought home another cat, a kitten actually who was about to be put down a well. This was a temporary adoption, until we found somewhere else to place Pumpkin. That was fifteen years ago.
Now they’re both gone, each quietly expiring in the last year from general debility and a final attack of overall collapse. My Lovely Wife and I have been together nineteen years on the 19th, and those darn cats have been one of the few consistent parts of a weird and varied life from Indiana to Ohio to West Virginia to Pennsylvania and back to Ohio again.
At some point, we’ll probably go back to being owned by cats, but for now, we’re closing the basement door and adjusting to black clothing without tufts of cat hair. Those two cats had us to themselves for a decade before we rudely introduced a small child into their golden years, which they accepted with the usual feline hauteur. The Little Guy has chased them into the basement for the last time, and we’ve learned some lessons together about sickness and illness and dying and gone. He’d be delighted now if we adopted the Gahanna Lion, or maybe a lizard. We’ll see.
Sometimes, in church, someone will ask for prayers for a pet, and it usually isn’t a child. Occasionally I’ll get asked about the status of non-humans in heaven, also more often by grown adults than kids.
Pastorally, I know that the love people have for their pets and that they experience, rightly or wrongly, as coming from their “companion animals” is a very real thing to them. Theologically, the comfort I believe we are promised in the Bible where “every tear will be wiped from our eyes and death will be no more” does not rule out cats and parakeets and Labrador Retrievers (though perhaps not in the same room, but if the lion can lie down with the lamb. . .); therefore, I don’t see why I should count them out, either.
What God has made is good, and what shows God’s love is of God. So I offer up the part of our family life these last sixteen years that was Gandalf and Pumpkin, and trust that what God has made, God will preserve. Rest in peace, guys.

Seven days after our thirteenth anniversary, the Little Guy came into this world. A friend pointed out recently that the great thing about “five” is that dad will never be this smart again until age 22 or so. From six on, daddy gets a little dimmer, just a bit dumber and a whole lot less omniscient with every passing year.
Personally, I think we may have gotten a jump on this process, as “Daaaaaaaa-ddeeeee” becomes more and more a declaration of “what part of how I want things to be don’t you understand?” We will celebrate a new year, more big boy teeth, and the blossoming of “I want to do it myself” in everything from getting dressed (a good thing) to lawn mower repair (not so good).
And my pastoral experience tells me it can be a whole lot of fun to be the fount of all wisdom again someday if I can just be patient enough. In between, I’ll just be the amiable goof I am, and stick with embarrassing the dickens out of him. What’s a dad for, anyhow?

Hebron Elementary PTO is getting excited about the Village of Hebron Crossroads Festival. Tickets are going out as a pre-sale for the eight rides that will be available at Canal Park May 28-30, Friday through Sunday Memorial Day weekend. Michael’s Amusements has been very helpful, and their “rainbow posters” are popping up around the area (very attractive, too, Mr. Albanese!); they will make tickets available through the PTO and flyers will go home with kids this week on details.
Many community groups will set up along the “Midway” next to the “Action Pest Control Pavilion” for Sat., May 29, with informational, entertainment, and food item booths between the ride area behind Hayman’s Dairy Bar and the Gazebo/Picnic Shelter end of Canal Park. We can still use some parking aides Friday night and through Saturday guiding folks off Main into the area Coughlin Chevrolet of Hebron is clearing out for us. Contact me if your group is willing to take a two hour block wearing an orange vest and pointing people to parking spots.
And of course: Watch the Booster next week for more details!

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and proud member of Hebron PTO; if you have news or notes of local interest, or want to help park, call 928-4066 or e-mail

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