Thursday, March 1, 2012


We recently had visitors from the city who hadn’t been here for a few years.  We were excited about preparing our home for them.  One of our visitors refers to himself as “somewhat of a germ freak,” so country life is a bit of a challenge for him.  While we try to accommodate him as best we can, things don’t always turn out as planned!

A few hours before they arrived, our neighbor, Robbie, came running across the pasture carrying our momma cat, Missie.  Gasping for air, he announced, “She was at our house and I think something happened to her!”  One look at Missie’s barely attached, mangled paw confirmed Robbie’s concern!  Being predisposed to infection and a prime target for predators, putting her outside was too risky!  Closing Missie in the shower for observation and treatment seemed like a better option.  While zipping through some emergency care, I prayed that she’d do well until we could offer more extended attention.

Soon our guests arrived.  While Missie seemed to be content in her new protective “cage,” as the minutes passed, her cold paw began to warm-up and the odor of dead flesh began to waft through the house.  We apologized for the smell and explained the situation.  While they were quite concerned for Missie, the “germ freak” became a bit uneasy.  The conversation went something like this:

Germ freak:  “Where is she?”

Me:  “In the shower.”

Germ freak: “The one we normally shower in?”

Me:  “Yes.”

Germ freak: silence

One of our visitors was particularly excited about seeing our Haflinger horses so... we all walked out to the pasture.  The horses came to greet us and our friends oohed and aahed over their beauty.  However, a few days before our guests’ arrival, we noticed that the gelding had rubbed an area on his hip until it was raw.  The conversation went something like this:

Germ freak:  “Oh my gosh!  What’s wrong with your horse?”

Me:  “What do you mean?”

Germ freak:  “That spot on his side!

Me:  “He’s been rubbing an itch that’s getting better with treatment.”

Germ freak:  “Why is he doing that?

Me:  “Probably some type of parasite.”

Germ Freak:  Oh!  Is it contagious?

Me:  “Could be.”

Germ Freak:  silence

It didn’t take long for the thrill of seeing the horses to wear off and we were on our way back to the house.  After a bit, we suggested taking their belongings to the guest house before dark.  At the front door of our visitors’ quarters we have a lovely mat that reads, “Welcome.”  On the mat lay our 18 year old cat, Smokie.  Under normal circumstances one might think, “How inviting!”  However, Smokie not only would not move, she cried when we touched her!  With a body full of arthritis, Smokie normally whimpered a bit when we handled her, but not like this!  We gently picked her up and lovingly placed her on the cushioned rocking chair on the front porch.  The conversation went something like this:

Germ freak:  “What’s wrong with your cat?”

Me:  “She’s old and probably isn’t going to be with us much longer.  We’re surprised she’s made it this long.”

Germ Freak:  Is she OK?

Me:  I’m not sure.

Germ freak: silence

With everything unloaded, we were blessed with a great time of fellowship.  Time flew and the hour was late when we suggested that we all head to bed.  Gary offered to accompany our guests to their lodging area to double-check that their needs were met.  When they arrived at the front door, Smokie was there to greet them… again.  However this time she didn’t cry when Gary touched her!

The conversation went something like this:

Germ freak:  “Is she ok?”

Gary:  “She’s dead.”

Germ freak:  “She died on the welcome mat?”

Gary:  “Yea, I guess so.”

Germ freak:  silence

The next afternoon arrived all too quickly, for us anyway, and it was time for our friends to get on the road.  Quite an adventure this visit was for them.  In years past, I would have reflected upon our time together and judged myself as a miserable hostess.  Today I find freedom in knowing that hospitality is an attitude of the heart.  I can honestly say that our hearts read, “WELCOME!” no matter how things might unfold.

Ya’ll come back now.  Ya hear!



P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at:">>.  You may also contact me at:

             Bonnie Jaeckle

             In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life

             Diagonal Progress

             505 Jefferson St.

             Diagonal, IA 50845

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