PET Founder mourns, but has good memories and sees good

PET MO-Columbia update 5-2-16
PETs built since 1-1-16 #550

This past week, three days in a row, I attended Celebration of Life
services for friends. Two of those were for members of the PET family,
Donna Hofmeister and Harold Wilson. Donna was the wife of a long-time and
major volunteer, Roger Hofmeister. Harold became a volunteer very early in
the development of PET and was a skilled and faithful worker.

For many years I have watched things die. That is, of course, the
normal occurrence as time passes. Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is
“a time to live and a time to die.” That truth does not, however, make
it any easier to watch things one loves to lose their vigor and wane in
purpose. Here are some things I mourn:

*** My cousins and one sibling, my parents and grandparents, uncles and
aunts, are all deceased. We are told to “respect our elders,” but I have
none. I have no one to ask about family history. I wish now I had asked
more questions about family, but it is too late.

*** The house in which I was born has been torn down. The one-room school
I attended has been torn down. The high school I attended burned down. The
first church in which I preached as a certified minister was closed and

*** My chosen denomination has been dying for 50 plus years. During the
last 100 years, it has closed a church a day. When we came to Columbia in
1965, there were 1,260 Methodist churches in Missouri. Today there are
around 800. My home church at Golden City, once a vital and station
church, is almost closed.

*** Dudenville, MO, the village near our farm, was a bustling village when
I was a child – with two produce stores, a blacksmith shop, a Modern
Woodman Lodge, a Anti-Horsethief Assn., one doctor, one dentist, two
churches and a cemetery. The cemetery is all that remains. Our ashes will
be placed there.

*** Golden City, our shopping town, was a major place of business when I
was a child, with two car dealerships, two machinery dealers, a bank, a
hardware store/mortuary, a hotel, two drugstores, three restaurants, a
grain elevator, two doctors, a veterinarian, a newspaper, small
manufacturing, many churches, and much more. It has declined dramatically.

*** I could become sad and remorseful about all of that, but I see it as a
part of the movement of time expressed in Ecclesiastes. Houses and towns
and people outlive their usefulness. Soon I shall also. But in the
meantime I see the world getting better every day, in spite of what our
media report.

Today more people are helping more people in relevant ways than ever in
history. Having eyes to see, we must see. Having ears to hear, we must
hear. The Kingdom of God is alive and all around us, and Harold and
Donna helped make it so.


*** “In the final end, all that we will have left will be memories.” – Anon

Mel West, Director Emeritus
PET MO – Columbia

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