aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Good Night, Irene

Well, I've run as far and as fast as I can today. My body is weary and longing for bed, my mind is a puddle of goo, but I'm not done. There is a funeral to write -- one of those nuanced, say-it-like-you-mean-it-but-don't-know-if-you-do-church-member's-out-of-town-sister private graveside memorial services.

The trick is to rest enough so your mind will be alert for the work, but not to wait until your body simply collapses at the keyboard. Alternatively, I could get up at half-past-gawdawful and stoke the nuclear coffee reactor until something blows -- then, shower and get ready for the day.

Since I'm struggling with writing a homily, I'll finish up tonight's post with this old chestnut, one of the jokes that my wife told me 30 years ago she would divorce me for if I ever told it from the pulpit.


There was this preacher down by the Ohio River, who kept losing more and more of his congregation in the summer to waterskiing. Finally, he decided he would have to preach a sermon on "The Evils of Waterskiing" to get his flock to show up where they belonged on Sunday mornings. He leaked his sermon title to the Thursday evening Bible study, confident that the little old ladies in that group would have the news all over town before he finished his Friday morning paper.

Friday night, he stayed up way late working on his sermon on "The Evils of Waterskiiing." After all, it's not easy to find an appropriate text for such a subject. It also required a great deal of ingenuity in the exegesis thereof. It was the wee hours of Saturday morning when he finished his masterpiece. Getting up just before lunch, he gave his sermon to his wife to read and critique before heading off to the shower.

Shortly thereafter, things began to go wrong. His wife fell down their porch steps and broke her leg in a rather nasty fashion. An ambulance ride and many consultations with doctors and admitting her to the hospital followed. The upshot of all this was that the preacher found himself at home late on Saturday night with his wife in the hospital and no idea where she had put his manuscript. He had no other copy. It had been such a difficult sermon to write that he felt he could not start over. So he punted: he pulled out his old standby sermon on Sex and decided to preach that. "The Evils of Waterskiing" would just have to wait.

Sunday was busy, as Sundays always are, and the preacher forgot his sermon within hours of preaching it -- as preachers are wont to do. On Monday morning, he went to fetch his wife from the hospital and bring her home. In all the confusion and consultations, he did not have a chance to ask her about his sermon, or to share what he had done.

As he was carrying her stuff into the parsonage, and as his wife was hobbling up to the front steps on crutches, one of the little old ladies of the church came walking up to welcome her home. As they stood there chatting with the preacher carrying stuff in the background, the little old lady said,

"Oh, your husband just preached the most marvelous sermon yesterday. We were all so impressed with his grasp of the subject."

The preacher's wife's eyebrows shot up. "That's funny," she said. "He's only tried it twice. The first time he fell off -- and the second time he lost his hat!"

  • What we all used to know

    Reflections of a Dutch Uncle “Still, wars and lechery! Nothing else holds fashion.” So said Thersites, commenting upon what all the major…

  • Here be cranks

    Ancient origins is one of my interests. I have both a secular and a religious education, so I’m used to dealing with some technical subjects in…


    I spent a terrible night, that second night at Mesa Verde. Up and down repeatedly, couldn’t get any good sleep. I felt terrible in the morning. I…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 1 comment