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The Minister's Musings -- September 2018

I’ve been in Gainesville for exactly one month now, and I’d like to say thank you for making me feel welcome! There have been a few adjustments to my new life in Gainesville; the humidity and heat have been challenging, and I miss my 95-year old mother who lived with me for four years while I was in Chattanooga. I’m the youngest of four children and I’ve always said that I’m her favorite, but I think it’s just that we are so compatible. We had a deal: I did the cooking and she did the dishes. She loves my cooking. Mom is now living in a lovely independent living apartment near my older son in Anderson, SC. She seems happy and my son and his wife are spoiling her, but it’s been an adjustment for both of us. [Click "Read more..." to continue]

When I first moved to Ludington, MI to serve my first church, Mom followed me from South Carolina a year later. She had a cute little apartment on the sixth floor with a view of Lake Michigan from her balcony. Ludington is a resort town that has less than 9,000 residents from September to May when the population swells to over 30,000. This is great for local business, but it changes things radically for the locals. I felt serious “Mall withdrawal” with Ludington’s limited retail offerings, but I soon adapted which meant that I rarely went to Grand Rapids, Traverse City, or Muskegon without running a few errands and doing a little shopping, necessary or not :)

One September, a few years ago, I took my mother with me because she needed to do a little personal shopping, too. Besides, there was a huge sale at Younkers! On our way out of town I had to make a couple of pastoral visits in Ludington, but Mom said she didn’t mind going along. It was the first time that I had taken her with me on pastoral visits, and I have to say that it turned out brilliantly! My mother is about the sweetest little old lady you’d ever want to meet; gracious, poised, kind and compassionate, everything you could ask for in a grandma. She even baked banana bread and cookies. It occurred to me after leaving the hospital that my mother is a “therapy-grandmother!” I could take her with me every time I visited sick people, maybe even rent her out, you know, like they do with therapy dogs and cats. My mother was a goldmine!

There was a cute little boy, around eight years old, at Younkers who stopped to show Mom his new school shoes and belt. She was sitting in the shoe department waiting for me to finish up my shopping when he walked right up to her and said, “Do you want to see my new belt?” He whipped out his shiny new black belt with such enthusiasm that it flew out of his hand. He had just rescued his new belt and was just getting ready to pull out his new shoes when I appeared. “Do you want to see my new shoes?” I said, “Sure!” and he proudly held up the left shoe. “Wow! Great shoes!” I said. “Do you want to see the other one?” he said. My heart melted, and I looked adoringly at his other new shoe.

That little boy was drawn to my mother like a dog to a bone. She’s priceless! I can see it now! The classified ad would read: Therapy Grandmother for Rent; lovely white hair, great smile, bakes cookies, doesn’t eat much, never complains, great with children and pets. As it turns out, therapy dogs and cats aren’t for rent; they work for all the smiles and hugs they get. They are a gift, just like my mother and that cute little boy who made me smile. And she has taught me that no matter how tough life gets, we can always choose to be kinder, more compassionate, and grateful.

In faith and love,

Rev. Cathy Harrington

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