Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mt. Carmel Community Church

I was working at the back of the platform in the sanctuary.  Seems the term "stage" would be more applicable since the transformation of the entire space four years ago.  Piano, organ, pulpit, lectern, altar rails all removed.  Pews removed and replaced with cushioned chairs and so on.  But on with the story.

I had my bottle of window cleaner and a soft towel quietly contemplating the elements of worship as I cleaned the enclosure surrounding the drum set.  Pity the percussion instruments are not completely surrounded with sound-proof glass, but again I digress.  The area at the back of the room brightened as someone opened the front door.  I looked in that direction.  A woman clad in a yellow knee-length dress with full skirt and a red bolero-style sweater stepped in and glanced around.  It was evident that she did not see me as she went directly to the "missions" box that sat on a table to the left of the  door.

The woman picked up the box, glanced around the sanctuary again, then she set the box down.  The lid was fastened with a hasp, but there was no lock so she simply opened the lid and reached inside.  I could see that she had several bills in her hand as she open the purse that was slung from her left shoulder.  But she dropped the money back into the box, removed the purse from her shoulder and set it on the table.  I took a step toward the front of the platform and she quickly looked up and toward  me but she seemed not to see me.  This small, thin, brightly clad being then took the offering box in both hands and dumped its contents into her purse.

By this time I was near the steps at the front of the stage and as she was zipping her tote I said, in my best stentorian manner, "Bless you, my child!"

Startled?  I thought she would surely break for the door but she was so startled that she was frozen in place.  As she looked at me her eyes and her mouth were as though they were three gaping caverns.  Her face was so thin that the rest of it seemed to disappear,

When I was ten feet from her I stopped.  Black hair, black eyes, olive complexion.  As she closed her mouth I could see the creases  in her forehead and the age lines around her mouth.  She wore  white sneakers, not the spike heels of someone out on the town.  This was not a young person.  I've no idea of the burdens of life that may have caused the creases and wrinkles and I normally do not try to guess ages by appearances, but I am guessing that the person I was confronting was late fifties, perhaps even early sixties.

"Tiena usted Ingles?"  I asked.

"S-si, uh, yes."  As she was unzipping her bag she continued.  "Look, sir, I am putting it back."

"No!  Listen to me."  She looked at me.  "Listen.  Take the money home and count it carefully.  Write down the amount on a piece of paper."

"That is hard.  I keep four nietos.   Grandchildren.  You understand?"

"Look at me.  What is your name?"

Glancing quickly at the wall opposite then meeting my eyes she said, "Carmel.  Carmelita."  On the wall was a banner which proclaimed "WELCOME TO MT. CARMEL COMMUNITY CHURCH."

"Listen. Carmelita.  Write down the amount.  Next time you are in the neighborhood drop that paper into the box, okay?  I will make up the amount in the missions box. Go."

Purse strap over her shoulder, she turned to go.  "Gracias,  SeƱor."

"Vaya con Dios."

That's the end of that, I thought.

Two weeks later on impulse I looked into the offering box.  There was a folded scrap of paper.  On the inside was written in pencil "2642$."

I surely hope there is supposed to be a decimal point between the six and the four.


The next Sunday just before the drummer tapped the rhythm for the first number on the rim, the sanctuary door opened and a certain small, sixtyish lady, clad in red and yellow, walked in, followed by four children ages probably five to twelve.

©2016 David W. Lacy

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ten Word (sort of) Wednesday

2016 WS game 1 on tv.

Who left the room?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


In whatever arena, politics, commerce, sports, and so on, the following truism seems to apply.

"Hype outrunneth performance."  --2 Lamentonians 1:1

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Good Old Days

How often we wax euphoric over the "simple, gentle country of our childhood."

Let's discuss that simple, gentle time a bit.  On numerous occasions I have posted nostalgic pieces about my own childhood.  They are often filled with the joys of kidhood, the games, the friends, the loving care of the parents, experiences that may be had only by the young.  And the key is that we were children not yet saddled with the burdens and responsibilities of making a livelihood for ourselves or a family; not yet aware of the onus of political self-determination; and fully too young to be directly involved in the martial conflicts that eternally rage somewhere in this world.

The simple, gentle country of my own time was a place where I had the freedom to roam our town so long as I was home by suppertime.  It was a time in which I did not have to concern myself with the intense struggle and long hours of hard work and worry that accompanied the parents' efforts to keep the family fed and clothed on an erratic and unstable income much too small to gain more than the rudimentary survival necessities.  And yet my memories are of an abundant table laden with good things that Dad acquired and Mother prepared for our consumption.  It was only as an adult that I came to understand the intensity of that struggle.

In that simple, gentle time when a child suffered illness, as I often did, the burden of doctor bills was borne by extra work, more stinting of their own needs by the parents.  The doctor's advice to the parents to have pictures of the child made because he may not be long for this world was of no comfort to the parents and did nothing to alleviate the suffering of the child.  The still-extant pictures that resulted, though, are a treasure even after nearly eight more decades added to the child's life.

In that simple, gentle time it was a given that your financial problems were your responsibility.

Since the War to End All Wars which occurred in the generation immediately prior to my own had failed spectacularly to end mankind's proclivity to belligerence, during my own time as a child there raged a second world-consuming conflict now known as WW II.  I did have acquaintances and relatives a mere seven or eight years older than I who were off fighting in that conflict.  Yet I could still play marbles, stomp in the mud puddles and generally create personal memories of a childhood, one in which the subject but barely understood the concern and worry and sacrifices his elders were making to provide him with the potential for a life of his own.

Next time you hear someone longing for the "good old days," smack him upside the head.

May the world treat you and your offspring in a kindly and gentle manner.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Birds Still Diving

I wrote this verse four years ago and present it again here, for though the avian personnel may be of a new generation, the game is still the same.
Desiccated and sere a blob of bird poop right here
in the center of the windshield.
The bucket, rag and soap; now it’s clean, for good we hope.
Wring the rag, swirl the pail, toss the water in the grass.
Awk! What iridescent flash o’er my head did I see pass?
Grackle Bomber in a dive on the scene does now arrive.
*           *             *
Dead-center hit.
The windshield again besmeared with it.
The End

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Evening Skies

 Good night, Sol.

 Far places await

 Good evening, Luna.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"I Received My Sight!"

Then the neighbors, and the ones seeing him formerly— because[c] he was a beggar— were saying “Is not this the one sitting and begging?” Others were saying that “This is he”. Others were saying, “No, but he is like him”. That one was saying that “I am he”. 10 So they were saying to him, “How then were your eyes opened?” 11 That one answered, “The man being called Jesus made mud and smeared it on my eyes, and said to me ‘Go to Siloam and wash’. So having gone away and washed, I received-sight”. 12 And they said to him, “Where is that One?” He says, “I do not know”.  John 9:8-12 (DLNT)

Now this one who was doubtless a familiar figure to many because he regularly sat in a public place begging presents himself seeing and the people are astonished.  Astonished, but divided.  Some said, "Verily this is he who was blind, and now he sees." 

 Others, less prone to believe, or we might say the more skeptical, saw the man but they saw a doppelganger, "Nay, it is some stranger who merely looks like our familiar beggar."

The man now avers, "I am he; the very man, the blind one, you have passed by for years."

"So then how is it that you see?"

"The man called Jesus," he replied, "daubed my eyes with mud, told me to wash in Siloam, which I did, my eyes were opened and now I see!"

Note the testimony.  "I did as Jesus told me to do, then I saw."  Have you done as Jesus told you to do? 

This, of course, is not the end of the story.  The Pharisees get involved and call the former blind man to account.  He gives his testimony.   Then someone observes that it is the Sabbath.  Surely for One to perform such a miracle is a violation of the Sabbath Laws.

16 Then some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath”. But others were saying, “How is a sinful man able to do such signs?”  (DLNT)

Division amongst the religious leaders.  Now begins the turmoil.  "Who do you say this man is?" they asked the recipient of the miracle.  "He is a prophet," he replied.

This will not do.  The Pharisees call the man's parents to testify.  Yes, he is our son.  Yes, he was born blind.  But for fear of being cast from the congregation they dared not confess that Jesus is the Christ. They said, We have no idea who the man is.  Ask our son; he is of age.  He can speak for himself.

So they called this man, this now-harassed man, yet again and posed their questions yet again.

27 He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? You also do not want to become His disciples, do you?”  

28 And they reviled him and said, “You are a disciple of that One, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses. But we do not know where this One is from”. 

30 The man responded and said to them, “Why, in this is the marvel— that you do not know where He is from, and He opened my eyes! 31 We know that God does not hear sinners. But if anyone is a God-fearing one, and is doing His will— He hears this one. 32 It was not ever heard that someone opened the eyes of one having been born blind. 33 If this One were not from God, He would be able to do nothing”. But if anyone is a God-fearing one, and is doing His will— He hears this one.”  (DLNT)

Our subject, knowing that he was blind and now he sees, is clearly convinced that his benefactor is the Christ and makes bold to challenge the religious teachers and proclaims, "We know that God does not hear sinners. But if anyone is a God-fearing one, and is doing His will— He hears this one.  It was not ever heard that someone opened the eyes of one having been born blind.  If this One were not from God, He would be able to do nothing”.

This is interesting because the man, though having been blind and a beggar, is skilled in disputation, for he uses the time-honored technique of binding himself and his  opponents together by use of the "we know" phrase which they themselves had used.  Not only do you know this to be true, but now you know that I know it as well, hence my words are true.  Teachers and mathematicians and genealogists use this to this day.  In effect, If you don't know it, believe me, because I know what I am saying.

Further the Pharisees are challenged to become Jesus's followers as well.  The response to which is the casting of the messenger from their midst.  Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.          TBC


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Forget the Whistle Stop Cafe...

drop in at the kitchen of BBBH.

She said, "Would you like some fried green tomatoes?"

Hard to believe she had to ask.  Oh, I know.  Get the taste buds excited!

 Labor intensive, but oh, my!

 This is the saucepan that featured prominently in last Saturday's blog post.
This is the best I could do.  I was just ready to give it a toss when I heard the words,
"I used that pan for thirty-five years."

What could I do?