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Family Connection


Brenda DeLauder Columnist

  My only first cousin and I could battle it out over most anything. That was until someone else tried to mess with us. Even in the middle of a squabble, if support for the other was needed, it was there instantaneously, leaving whatever we were fussing over for another day. Now we are miles apart, yet I feel her support as I imagine she does mine.

  Every summer of my youth, our family would head up to Ohio to visit Mom’s side of the family. A year’s separation never gave us a moment of hesitation to pick up where we last left off. Before the car was barely in park, we were off and racing to some adventure on bicycles or games which required lots of squealing laughter. Nights were reserved for the challenge of catching the most “lightnin’ bugs” in a jar. Our mamas would release them at bedtime so there would be plenty for the next night’s contest.

  Last month the daughter of one of those cousins, along with her husband, came to visit. A generation later, we still share that “comfortable on impact” attitude. Laughter filled our home as we caught up on details of our lives. Pepper felt it too and enjoyed their attention which they gave freely. He was sad when they left and we all hope they will visit again soon, even though they did try to steal him away while packing up their car.

  While they were here, we all went down to Noah’s Ark*. I’m ashamed to say it was my first time there, but it surely won’t be the last. It is a fantastic facility and truly a Henry County treasure! Not only are they providing a really good place for creatures to live, but they have kept the natural beauty of the land. The animals are well cared for, even perhaps a touch spoiled. After what some of these creatures have gone through, they are overdue the love and attention the staff and volunteers give them. There is a sense of “family connection” between the various animals, as well as with their volunteer workers.

  Being curious about the founder of Noah’s Ark, it didn’t take long to find what I suspected. In one of the many articles about Jama Hedgecoth, it mentioned her “deep trust in God starting at an early age.” Because she trusts God and obviously continues to listen to Him, she has provided a safe haven for many animals who otherwise would have been destroyed, as well as a wonderful home for a lot of children.

  Some families are small in size while others are large and extended. There are those with no family, but have found friends to help fill any void. We have neighbors we appreciate for lending a hand when needed and fellow church members we cherish. Like with any family, we may have our spats or grumbles, but without hesitation we are thankful for all of them. And the One who connects us all? Well, that would be God.

  Mrs. Hedgecoth might have known what she wanted to do from a young age, but I’m betting she didn’t know back then it would unfold into something the size of Noah’s Ark. I doubt she thought of having a bear, lion and tiger, the BLT, who live together and love each other. But God did. Our Lord keeps us, humans and critters, all in His hands. Whether it is the family we are born into, or the ones who raise us, or friends we have gained through the years, it is God who brings us together. We are all part of God’s family!

  *Be sure to visit 


  Brenda Nail DeLauder is a native of Henry County. Her heart remains in her hometown.



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