Saturday, August 15, 2009

Scratch Yourself

I'm currently staying with some folks and the woman of the house makes everything from scratch. Well, not everything. She buys flour and eggs. But you won't find any Pillsbury's pre-mixed cookie dough with its gift of trans fat. All is natural; butter, sugar, and all the rest. One can definitely taste the difference. It takes more time to do it this way. I'm not sure I have the patience. But if Patti the Scratch Cook ever opened a restaurant there would be a line out the door most of the day. Then whatever can be recycled goes into the appropriate container for later transport to the recycling center, or to the compost barrel. It makes me think of how God made the first human being by hand. No assembly line there. No waste either.

When I make anything from scratch, it tastes scratchy.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Theological Weather

While on vacation in Central City with Cheyenne and her husband Hank, we had a wild hailstorm. Their house got hit with hailstones that measured about 2 inches across. As several of them crashed through the skylight, I reflected that I had always thought that their house was the most safe and solid place to be. Well, it is. It is beautifully built. But that does not mean that Nature can't get freaky on us. Our only absolute safety is in God. So, we mopped up water and glass for quite a while. Hank had just come home from work and into the house when the storm hit. When he saw it starting to hail, he went outside to move his car from the driveway to the garage. Then the usually calm-natured Hank yelled, "Holy Sugar!" although sugar was not the word he used. I rushed out to see what was up. Across the street in the neighbor's yard were what looked like masses of white tennis balls, with more of them bouncing down. I am glad Hank did not get a concussion. One of those ice balls did hit his gutter and narrowly missed his head. He darted back into the house. In the northern Central City area, windshields were smashed and cars were dented. When a hailstone crashed through one woman's windshield while she was sitting in a traffic jam, she jumped out of her car and dashed away in a panic. I wonder what I would have done. Sat there in the car while the hail came down, or run off into the storm to risk getting a direct hit? Not a choice I'd like to make.

Cheyenne, still at work when I phoned and told her about it, groaned and said, "Please tell me this is a bad April Fool joke." I wished I could say that. But later she said, "Ya know, you take what comes to you when it happens. And when it happens, you deal with it."

Good philosophy, I'd say.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Blog Break

I'll be on vacation all of this week, fine readers, so look for more postings in about eight or nine days. I have not deserted you. I'll leave you with something I saw on a T-shirt recently. I was walking behind this guy at an airport and on his T-shirt he had a photo of four men, also wearing T-shirts, with their backs to the camera. They were standing in a row in a necessary room, if you get my drift. The caption on the back of all four of the men's shirts said TEXAS HOLD 'EM.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

John 3:16 All Over the Place

I tellya, being sick and laid up with a bad foot can sure put a crimp in the blog writing style. However, I did share a story with my congregation today in worship about John 3:16. It seems that everyone, follower of Jesus or not, has been exposed to John 3:16. That's the Bible verse that says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." The words "John 3:16" have appeared on more banners, billboards, and bumper stickers than I can count. Students in Vacation Bible School and various Christian schools memorize that verse with great regularity. The verse appears almost as often as "My Child is an Honor Student at the Genius Gates of Greatness Center." I have not yet seen a parody of John 3:16. Possibly people are too reverent to come up with one, or else they haven't gotten that creative yet. I have, however, seen a parody of "My Child Is an Honor Student at the Genius Gates of Greatness Center." That bumper sticker reads, "Your child may be an honor student at Genius Gates of Greatness, but your driving stinks."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Character Meeting a Priestly Character

I had lunch today with John and Joyce Lester. John is in his nineties and Joyce is in her late eighties, and they are as energetic as I am. I want to know where their hidden fountain of youth is located. The Lesters went out of town recently to an Episcopal church where John knows the priest well. It was their wedding anniversary, and somehow the priest found out. He was big on recognition of such special days, so he called them forward and told the congregation that it was the Lesters' anniversary. Then he asked them, "Is there something special you would like for your anniversary?" Joyce, being the outspoken woman she is, declared, "I've always wanted to kiss a priest." The congregation cracked up. The priest wasn't in the least fazed. He pointed to his cheek. "Plant one here Joyce!" he shouted. And she did. That congregation will never forget those two.


There is a classic movie called Casablanca but this is a different version. At a meeting of pastors and other citizens of the town yesterday, they were talking about "Casablanca", a certain local neighborhood. I had not heard of it so I asked where it was and what was special about it. I found out that on one side of Smalltown there is a section where the streets running north and south are named after presidents (Washington, Lincoln) and the streets running east and west are named after states (Iowa, Kansas). This area has been nicknamed Casablanca which of course means "White House." It is well known for various kinds of business deals, many involving the sale of tablets or a certain kind of "grass" or "weed" that animals do not usually eat. I learn something new every day here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Creative Practical Prank

April is getting near along with April Fools Day. John Barge told me that he has thought of a new trick to play on his wife Sue. He says it's mild compared to last year, when his victim was his middle-aged cousin Will. Will had just bought a pickup truck. He had not picked it up yet. John had a friend call Will and say, "Hi, I'm with the Sea City Police Department. Do you have a truck with a license plate AGX 454?" Will said yes. The man said gently, "We just dredged it up out of the town lake." Will went into panic mode. He says he will pay John back, but so far he has not done so. I am sure it will happen. He told John, "When you least expect it, expect it."

John knows Sue and all her habits, of course, because they have been married almost forty years. He knows that Sue is not a morning person. She gets up on autopilot and goes out to grab the newspaper. She then reads it cover to cover, still on autopilot and half asleep. So John is going to get up earlier than Sue, steal their Sea City newspaper, and put an old one in its place out of the prodigious piles of old papers in the garage. He bets she will get up, pick up the paper, and read it all the way through without looking at the date on top. The only thing that might give the game away is if she sees any ads for "Warm Winter Sweaters" in a Christmas sale, or reads about politicians that have not been in office for years.