Church Characters #6: Annette

During a series entitled “Church Characters,” I’m recalling some memorable people from decades of ministry.

During my first years of pastoral ministry in small churches, I visited homebound members on a monthly basis. I regularly saw Annette who lived in a single-wide trailer with her daughter and cats.

Note that I wrote “cats” in the plural.

Annette suffered from progressive dementia. She possessed a sunny disposition but comprehended only the simplest conversations. In addition to watching daytime TV, she loved the company of her cats.     

Note that I wrote “cats” in the plural.

I never tabulated an accurate census of the feline population, which milled around in perpetual motion. It probably totaled over 30 but under 100! After sitting on the sofa, I appeared to be wearing a fur coat while scratching at imaginary fleas.

The olfactory experience of summer visits in the single-wide without air conditioning exceeds my descriptive powers. The heat, humidity, and malodor produced asthma-like symptoms. I welcomed the dog day heat outside after enduring the cat stay smell inside.

Annette’s daughter impressed me throughout my tenure at the church. Lou Ellen cared for her mother without complaint, accepting the living conditions with equanimity. Whenever I inquired about her personal wellbeing, she talked about her devotion to her mother who had cared for her.  

People typically assume that the Fifth Commandment instructs young children to respect their parents. Annette’s life testified that honoring our fathers and mothers encompasses a lifetime; and sometimes it includes cats.

Note that I wrote “cats” in the plural.

However, Annette proved to be the heroine of the story.  

1 thought on “Church Characters #6: Annette

  1. This is a great one! Your Annette was very blessed! May we all have a Lou Ellen in our lives.

    Although I have only 2 beloved cats, I told a friend I was afraid that in my old age, which is fast approaching , I would be known merely as that quintessential old “cat lady”, wearing fuzzy cat slippers and walking around the house talking to the cats!


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