Cromwell CT is a “bedroom” community adjacent to Middletown and 15 miles south of Hartford. It’s a wonderful place to live. The people are community minded. It has great schools. There is plenty of shopping in town and you are a hop skip and jump from the interstate taking you within two hours to New York City, three hours to Boston and multitude of interesting stops in between.
Cromwell also had Nooks Hill Road. Parts of the “Nooks” fit the profile of Cromwell. Other parts do not fit this profile. We bought our first house near the corner of Nooks and Field. A cluster of five houses was a colony of people who didn’t quite fit the more affluent profile. We fit right in.
We shared our driveway with two of the other houses. Actually, we didn’t own our driveway, the owner of the other two houses did. His name was Rev. Hodges. Driving a big old station wagon, he was a familiar site around Cromwell. However, his church was not one of the Puritan churches that still meet in pristine New England. No, Rev. Hodges was a pastor of a Fire-Baptized Holiness Church far away.
Rev. Hodge’s wife was from the south. Exceptionally tall she was an imposing figure with an equally imposing voice. In the summer she would butcher chickens on a stump between her house and ours. Other times she would can vegetables on an outside fire in this same area. Like us, their house overflowed with children. They had grandchildren and foster kids. The foster kids had such delightful names like Papaya.
The Hodge’s home was a large brick home that looked more like an old school building than a house. They owned the corner lot along with a house they rented to the DeMoranville’s, another large family. I never took count but on any given day there must have been over 20 people living on that corner. The Hodge’s painted their rental house a lovely shade of lavender. The DeMoranville’s had a “farm” across the road and down an alley. The barn attracted a lot of barn cats. These cats went to the vet courtesy of our daughter’s report card money.
There was a large willow tree near Mrs. Hodge’s butchering stump. One of these cats scaled the tree. For a couple of days terrified meows came from near the top of the tree. On Saturday morning, perhaps because of lack of sleep, someone on that corner called the Cromwell Volunteer Fire Department. A fire truck with a lone firefighter appeared at the bottom of the shared driveway. Climbing the steep driveway, Mrs. Hodge was there to meet him.
In her typically loud voice, Mrs. Hodges informed the firefighter and the gathering crowd that one of God’s poor creatures was stuck in the tree. She pleaded for its rescue and safety. The firefighter went for a ladder, a metal ladder. Placing the ladder against the tree he was ready for rescuing this creature in distress. All eyes were on the cat and the firefighter. It was as Mrs. Hodges was at her husband’s pulpit. She admonished the firefighter and all of us standing there that the cat was God’s creature.
She persisted. “Save that God. Oh Glory Be To Jesus. You have to save that cat. That’s God’s creature. Don’t you hurt that cat.” On and on she continued, in English, in Tongues, she prayed and interceded for the life of that precious creature of God. We watched. Our eyes rose to the top of the tree. The cat just meowed.
Soon the lone firefighter had help. Mrs. Hodges continued her loud prayers for deliverance. The firefighters huddled. It seems the metal ladder was also resting on the electrical wire going to our house. It was moved. A new plan was necessary. The hose became plan B.
The prayers and exhortations of Mrs. Hodges reached a higher more fervent pitch. Cars were moved. A white sheet was opened to catch the cat should he fall from the tree. The hose was turned on and aimed at the cat. The cat, rather than falling to the ground scaled higher in the tree. Now at the top, Mrs. Hodges became most vocal. The cat’s actions resulted in a change of heart in the dear Mrs. Hodges.
With even great fervency than her pleas for its rescue she declared: “That’s a stupid cat. You ought to kill that cat. Glory Be, that is a stupid cat.” With that, she went in the house to leave the gathering crowd without its leader. Another burst of the hose and down came the cat. Hitting the sheet it leaped from the sheet to the street. I don’t think that cat ever came back to the willow tree between our houses.
The crowd dispersed. The cat was saved. Our cars got a free carwash. The children were ready for lunch. It was just another Saturday morning on the Nooks. The lesson or sermon in this:
James 5:16b (AMP) The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].