Francie is one of our oldest members. 98 last week. She enjoyed a wonderful birthday party with family and neighborhood friends. She loves her neighborhood,and much of our conversation on Thursday morning comprised some of her most interesting neighbors.
First, there was the “neighborhood cat,” Miss Elizabeth. She was her neighbor’s cat and apparently had a pretty bad attitude.
Francie: “She would come to my door and sit on the top step, looking for her owner and I would open it and say, ‘Miss Elizabeth, she’s not here! Now go home!'”
Me: “Cats are so hit or miss.”
Francie: “Well, she was a miss I guess.”
Francie: “Well, there was another family that lived on the corner over there, and they had goats.”
Me: “Aww, I love goats!”
*Francie gives me a sideways “you’re insane” look*
Francie: “You do? Ok. Well, these people would mow their front yard- it was perfect, but they would let the grass grow in the back yard. One day, there were about 5 goats back there, eating the grass! Did you know you could hire goats to eat your grass?”
Me: “I did not.”
Francie: “That’s not all. My other neighbor, down the way, she’s a Social Worker. She’s very nice, but guess what?”
Francie: “She has three egg-laying chickens in her back yard! They live there and they have names. One is Lucille, one is Sally, and I forgot the other one’s name. They have nests back there – she built them a place -it looks like a doll house, and theres one nest on the left side, and one up top and one on the right side. I went over there to see them one day, and she introduced me to the chickens! She picked up one of those chickens and had it under her arm like this, and she let me rub its head!”
*Francie dissolves into laughter.*
Me: “That is pretty funny.”
Francie: “That’s not all, there’s more.”
Francie: “YES. There is a family down the way on that other corner, and they have a pig. About this big. My friend told me about it, she had gone past their house and she came straight here and told me, and I said ‘I cannot imagine a HOG in our neighborhood.’ She said ‘get in the car.’ She drove me down there, and there’s this big old pig- on a leash! I wonder what’s next?!”
*Now we are both laughing. *
Me: “I wonder what’s next too.”
Francie: “Well, you have a guinea pig.”
I refrain from telling her that my parents had dinner with a missionary lady who went to Peru and had a little taste of one of Oliver’s cousins- but I do show her the picture of Ollie in his pirate hat.
We spend about an hour getting to know each other better, then we have a prayer together before I go. She tells me how proud she is of me, and how much she appreciates visits, and to come back any time, and come often.
Next time, I’ll probably have my travel communion set with me, and a few of our members. We will sing, pray and break bread together, as our own little church neighborhood right there in Francie’s house.