From vanity, to sarcastic children, the follies of this pastor’s home are exposed to the world in this week’s installment of “Paradise.”
Mike Beard, our chairman of the deacons, came over for a few minutes and visited one day last week. He said, “I guess you’ve gotten a lot of reading done?”
I told him that you’d think so, sitting here in this chair all day, but that because my head gets so woozy, I am actually not able to read much. “This,” I said, picking a very small book (Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together, only 122 pages) “is the only book I have finished these four weeks!”
Here is a picture of Bonhoeffer’s little book. I wish I’d gotten a picture of Mike’s face when I showed it to him!
Vanity of Vanities
You might imagine that a minister’s home would be free of the vice of vanity, but several of our stories from this week reveal an obvious inclination to that particular weakness around here …
I made a rare trip out of the house a few days ago to the funeral visitation of Jack Smith, our Education Minister David Smith’s father. David’s parents are very sweet, and well-loved, so there was a line down the aisle of the church to greet Mrs. Bonnie, David’s mom. I am not able to stand for a long period of time, as my blood pressure drops, heart rate races, and I get a headache and feel carsick when I do, so I sat at the end of the pews, and just made my way gradually up the aisle as the line moved. Several of our church folks were there to see Mrs. Bonnie as well, and one of them (Stefanie Cooley) asked what I had done differently to my hair since I’d been home; had I grown it out? Cheryl said that I had grown it out before I had gone on my medical leave; the church had already seen it that way. Stefanie said, “I know he has done something …” but no one could put their finger on it. Finally I remembered: “I know what it is; I changed my part, from the left side to the right.” Everyone said, “Oh, THAT’s what it is!” Someone asked why I had done that. I said, “Well, to be honest, it seemed like my hair was receding a little bit on the spot where I parted it on the left, and I noticed it wasn’t where I parted it on the other side, so I reversed it.” Kiera Wallace, our youth minister’s wife, was in the group in front of us, and when I made that comment, she looked at me with an expression that I would best describe as a mixture of dismay and disbelief. “Vanity”, I said flatly. “It is called vanity, Kiera.”
A few days later, Libby, who came over to pick up her husband Josh from being a sponsor at youth camp, saw me at home and said: “Hey your hair looks a little more … (I could tell she was searching for the right term) … ‘groomed’ than the last time I saw you.”
Me: “Well, Mrs. Bonnie was coming over for a minute tonight, and I wanted to impress her.”
But the vanity around here is not limited to Mr. Thomas. Cheryl & Libby decided to go and pick blueberries at a farm in DeRidder Saturday morning. Little did I realize that of all of the preparations for the farm, the DRESS was the most important thing. Cheryl came out of the walk-in closet with some cute Capri jeans and a white shirt, looked in the mirror and lamented that she just didn’t quite “look” the part. I told her that what she needed was a “Huckleberry Finn” look, and suggested a gingham check shirt that was hanging in her closet. She immediately agreed and the outfit was well on its way. I told her to be sure to wear her straw hat (which she had already had picked out, by the way) and carry a basket, and the look would be complete. And indeed it was; see:
Let me begin this section by stating that Cheryl has done a great job of taking care of me the past few weeks. She doesn’t like for me to get out of my chair, knowing what it will do to my heart rate, etc., so she makes a point of bringing me whatever I need. She has been very caring. But she often jokes about how she was not graced with a naturally merciful disposition (once when I was sick I gave her the nickname “Florence” — after Florence Nightingale!). It is with that background that Cheryl laughed at this cartoon in the paper, and gave it to me Saturday. She said, “I’m afraid that this is what I do you!”
Translating Between the Lines
Watching a movie on Saturday night (“The Young Visiters”) we noticed an actor whom we had seen in anther movie (Jim Broadbent). Michael said he was from Harry Potter. “But what character did he play?”, I asked.
“Slughorn!”, Michael responded.
“Yeah, Dad, you stupid!”, Libby said.
When I looked her way with my eyebrows raised, she said: “I was just translating the expression on Michael’s face!”
About 10:30 Saturday evening, Cheryl brought her new orange summer dress out to the living room, with a different shoe on each foot, for Josh, Libby & I to opine about which shoe coordinated better with the dress: the sandal or the brown heel. I initially indicated the sandal (which was probably the death knell for that poor shoe) but finally we all agreed that the brown heel would go best. Then Cheryl brought out an orange and brown necklace and asked if we thought it would complement the dress. I said it looked GREAT – and this time everyone agreed. Cheryl started happily towards the bedroom with her Sunday outfit all ready to go. I said, “It’s nice that we can take Saturday evening and make such vital preparations for the Sabbath!”
What’s For Lunch?
After those vital “Sabbath Preparations”, Cheryl then asked what we wanted for lunch Sunday. I said: “How about a nice tender pork roast, with rice and brown gravy … and some buttery cabbage, and …” (trying to think of as many things that I knew we didn’t have, or that Cheryl couldn’t make, as I could!)
Cheryl: “I could make a pork roast.”
Excitedly I said, “You could?”
She said, “Yeah – if we had one!”
A fitting ending to another “Week in Paradise”!