Have you ever noticed that a lot of great memories always originate from visits to the grandparents. They did with me. Of course, how could they not, when you lived with one of your grandparents for ten years of your life. When I was in second grade, we moved into to the home where my mother grew up to help take care of my aging grandfather. We lived there for ten years, and boy do I have stories to tell of planting gardens, taking care of animals, bringing in hay, etc. etc., but those are stories for another post.
My paternal grandparents were also an adventure. All of my cousins on my mom's side were older than I was, but I had two cousins, both girls, that were my age on my dad's side. We always met up at Grandpa Tinkel's house on Orchard Street in Wabash, Indiana. Grandpa always wanted people to know that Wabash was the first electrically lighted city in the United States. He was proud of that fact, along with the fact that he was born on Groundhog Day. Yes, Grandpa was quite a colorful character. He was a retired school teacher and a retired minister and did he have stories to tell. And, others had stories to tell about him as well! I loved the house on Orchard Street. It was a neat place, but, those are stories for another day as well. The tale that I want to weave today is of our visit this weekend with the Grandma's.
We always say we are visiting the "Grandma's" because both Sarah's mom and grandmother are widowed, so, Mom moved in with Granny some years ago to help her out. We always have a blast at the Grandma's house. It has a huge yard to play in and a big basement that the kids can play in and explore. We even brought Jojo this time to play with Sarah's sister's dog who was also here for a visit. Unfortunately, Phebe and Jojo didn't hit it off to well but they tolerated each other. That should have tipped me off that it was going to be one of those weekends.
Despite Jacob's surgery on Thursday, we decided to come on Friday because we knew that bad weather was going to hit on Saturday. We thought that the storms wouldn't arrive until later on so we set out to visit Sarah's brother and then entertain the kids at the bowling alley. Sure enough, no sooner had we left Uncle Franklin's house that we heard thunder. A quick stop at the grocery store and then, to Joshua the bowler's dismay, we came straight back to the house. Joshua was only consoled by the fact that we promised to try again Sunday afternoon if we could. We tried not to frighten the boys, but shared with them that some thunder storms were coming and we wanted to be home.
And came they did. Actually they weren't too bad right where we were, but all around us were thunder storm warnings and tornado warnings until 3 am in the morning. I'm always the designated storm watcher, so I was up the whole time making sure that we were ready to head to the basement if need be. Thankfully that didn't happen but a stormy night is always an adventurous one.
Today began as a fairly good day. I stayed home from church sense Jacob had had a bad night. By noon, however, everyone was set to go bowling, and sense Jacob had been medicated and felt much better, he would not hear of us leaving him home. So, off we all went to the bowling alley leaving a disgruntled Phebe and Jojo staring at us as we drove down the lane. After bowling, out to eat, then to a park to let the kids run off some energy and on home. Phebe met us in the driveway, but no Jojo.
After we checked to make sure Granny hadn't left him in the house, we began to search and holler for him. Soon, the neighbors came out and said that they saw him run down the railroad tracks that parallel the road about an hour before. I jumped in the car and went on a chase. "Surely he couldn't have gone that far" I thought, but in the pit of my stomach I knew that he could be lost forever. With my windows down and me yelling, I drove down every road into every housing development along the tracks. No Jojo. Finally I saw a man on a mower and asked him if he had seen a little black dog run by. My first lead! He had seen him...two or three hours before that. Two or three hours! The neighbors were a little off! Jojo could be anywhere. Seeing the panic on my face, he said that I might check the animal shelter across the road just a little ways further down from his house.
The gate was shut, but a girl was coming out of on of the buildings. When she saw me she walked my way. After a quick prayer, I asked if anyone had turned in a little black miniature pincher an hour or two before. I said that we had been visiting my in-laws and he had run away. I told her his name was Jojo. I waited, and to my relief she said that someone had dropped him off earlier that afternoon and went into the building to fetch him out. I nervously waited. Could she have been mistaken? Could it be another dog that was picked up and dropped off? A few minutes later I had my answer. Out she came with our Jojo. Immediately upon seeing me, he ran to the gate wagging his little stubby tail and barking excitedly. She said I owed her nothing, she was just glad that Jojo's owner had found him. He was almost two miles away from Granny's house when he was found!
I excitedly called Sarah and told her the news. The boys, who had been in tears but were now joyous, met us at the end of the drive. After watering the very thirsty and tired Jojo, we took him in for the day to rest. Granny doesn't like dog's in the house, but this was an exception. Even she seemed to be happy that Jojo was home. He is asleep on the bed beside me even as I type. All I could think of was the Disney movie about the two dogs and a cat who had gone in search of their master. Jojo, the faithful puppy, had gone in search of us.
Thank you, Lord, for helping us to find Jojo. You care even about the little things, Lord. Thank you also, Lord, that, just like Jojo, you loved us enough to search for us. Only, you didn't just search for us, you died on the cross to take our punishment. Thank you for giving us faithful Jojo, but thank you even more for faithfully loving us enough to provide a way that we can get to Heaven. Amen