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Pancake Magic  

When it comes to geography, Americans are notoriously ignorant—and curiously unbothered about it. Whether looking at a globe or a U.S. map, most folks just don't care.

Take my home state, Illinois.  For those who live in the city of Chicago or its suburbs, their knowledge of the state's western borders ends at the city of DeKalb, home of Northern Illinois University.  But about half of the state lies west of this point—the half where my wife grew up.  It's the half that rarely makes the news.

Yet I say you have not lived until you've been there and cruised around the tiny town called Kasbeer, shopped inside a converted grain elevator in Princeton, or gazed upon the antique gas station rusting away in Ohio (yup, that's an Illinois town).

This time of year in particular, my mind wanders out to Illinois' other half. For years, the Kasbeer Community Church hosted a men’s' pancake supper for fellow churches in neighboring farm communities.  They came from places like Wyanett, Bhuda, Bunker Hill, and Walnut.  Mustached faces, bib overalls and honest smiles—they were a manly mix.

In the kitchen, wielding the largest spatula I'd ever seen, was Calvin Philhower.  He made one size of pancake—huge (these were farmers, remember).  Calvin was the first to volunteer to round up the griddles and get them prepped.  All afternoon he hovered over them working a sort of pancake magic.

Though it took a full crew to pull off this supper, Calvin—my father in law--was the guy I watched.  I remember those good farm folks, remember that pancake supper.  But mostly, I remember Calvin, who succumbed to cancer a few years ago.

Scripture makes it pretty clear that heaven will offer a banquet, and because Calvin loved Jesus, he'll be there. But if that banquet somehow offers pancakes of any kind, I'll know exactly where to find Calvin: deep in the kitchen.  Look for the guy with the big smile--and an even bigger spatula.


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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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