When you live in a tourist town, expect company. How sweet it is when family members visit. The theme of a recent issue of Alive Now magazine was Hospitality, our hospitality to God. How are we extending His hospitality to others?
We get to pick up family from the airport or pick them up at their hotels, and have lunch or dinner with them at theme parks or local restaurants. We get to put hospitality into practice with our family, guests and strangers we may meet. The story of Patsy Ann has been on my mind, maybe because a friend is traveling on her second trip to Alaska in a few weeks. Patsy Ann left a deep impression on me when I first saw her statue in 2002.
*”I think about the story of an English Bull Terrier born in 1929 whose name was Patsy Ann. She lived in Juneau, Alaska. Patsy Ann was known for enthusiastically greeting every ship that docked in Juneau. In 1934, she was named “official greeter of Juneau” by the town’s mayor. Born deaf, and intended to be a gift from a father for his two daughters, Patsy Ann chose to make her home along the Juneau wharves and at the longshoreman’s hall. Though unable to hear, it was reported that she could sense a ship’s whistle a half-mile away and would run to the wharf to greet passengers. On the 50th anniversary of her death, a statue of her was dedicated by The Friends of Patsy Ann organization. The statue sits with Patsy Ann facing the waters of the channel where she greeted Juneau’s visitors. The organization bearing her name raises scholarship funds to promote ‘understanding, respect, kindness and compassion.’ Those words sound like love to me. Patsy Ann knew her passion and lived it despite being deaf. I imagine what she looked like, her wagging tail and big eyes smiling, greeting the passengers disembarking from a ship… One could say that Patsy Ann flourished in her job as official greeter. Today, all that remains of the stray dog named Patsy Ann is a bronze statue and a plaque summarizing her story…”
I like to think of myself as an official greeter in the name of Christ, at an airport, in a grocery store, or at a turnstile to enter a theme park. I strive to exude the enthusiasm of Patsy Ann, to promote understanding, respect, kindness and compassion. I am grateful for family and friends who have extended amazing love and warm hospitality during their visits.
“…And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
To see more of the story of Patsy Ann, click here.
*Excerpt first published November 25, 2011 by St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.