I spent the day yesterday at the local high school as part of a team of counselors, helping students and staff deal with a local tragedy that happened over the weekend. (See yesterday’s entry for more details.) I was impressed with both the students and the staff- they really pulled together and helped each other get through the day. They were an inspiration.
It was Saturday, about 4:45PM. I was driving through my home town in Southern Illinois, taking my family and my wife’s parents to dinner (mother-in-law’s birthday) when I got the call. It was someone from where my wife works. The staff phone tree had been activated- a staff member had died in a freak accident. Not much was known at that time…just that the staff member had died. A 2nd phone call later that evening brought more details…and a request that I be involved in the staff meeting that would take place this morning. And while the details helped better clarify what happened…it didn’t make it any easier.
Question #1- How do you put a giraffe in the fridge? You open the fridge, put the giraffe in…and close the door! This questions tests whether you tend to do simple things in overly complicated ways.
My youngest son just started Middle School. One of the “rites of passage” there is getting a lock for your locker. So, we went to the office the 1st full day of school and purchased one. The nice woman at the counter even tested it to make sure it worked…and it did! So I handed him the lock and said, “Do you want me to show you how to open it before you go to class?” He assured me that he knew how. I reminded him that he had, to date, NEVER actually opened a combination lock, but he was certain he could. So I told he me could NOT lose the paper that had the combination on it (although I had already memorized it! Remember…this is NOT my 1st rodeo!) and sent him on his way.
I have a collection of Nativity scenes in my office. (I know…yesterday was St. Louis Cardinal memorabilia, today Nativity scenes. You’re thinking, “Just how big IS your office?” Let me assure, not very!) I currently have 7 different Nativities. One is very representational, with the characters put out of wood. One is pretty small and “Precious Moments”-ish. (Insert your joke here!) One is rather large and “traditional” and was given to me by a parishioner when he downsized to a smaller home. And the list goes one. Big, small, old new, you name it, it’s covered in those 7 scenes. Of course they all have the baby Jesus. (Wouldn’t really be much of a Nativity without Him now, would it?) They all have Mary and Joseph. They all have some number of shepherds and sheep- the number varies from one to the next. And they all have Wise Men…again the number varies from scene to scene. And there you have it- the classic understanding of the Nativity. But it’s incorrect!
I am a St. Louis Cardinal baseball fan. I have hesitated to say much about that to this point, because I live in Central Illinois and the Cards/Cubs rivalry is HUGE here! But the truth is, growing up in the St. Louis area, I am a lifelong Cardinals fan. And having been fortunate enough to grow up in an area whose local team is fairly successful, I have been rewarded over the years with competitive teams…and few World Series titles. (I try HARD to forget the 70’s, however!) The accompanying picture is of one wall in my office at church. That is just a PART of the Cardinal memorabilia I have on display. In fact, there is a sign on my door that says, “St. Louis Cardinals Clubhouse- Pass Required”! I will readily admit that my love of baseball in general and the Cardinals specifically borders on the obsessive!
On the outskirts of town is a genuine anomaly. A true puzzle. Right there. On the edge of town. It’s…ready?…a produce stand. I KNOW…right?! Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Big whoop, preacher man! A produce stand? You’re going all ape-y over…a produce stand? You’ve finally gone off the deep end!” You MAY be right! BUT…this particular produce stand is… different. It’s run on the Honor System!