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Archive for Out to Pastor


Financial Tip Of The Week: Pay Attention

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggercredit cardsEnjoying a casual evening at home, reclining in my favorite easy chair reading, while the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage was chatting on the telephone. I seldom pay attention to phone conversations. After all, I only get one side of the conversation, which may be misleading at the very best. I’ve been caught in that trap before with some pretty dire consequences. I am not going to get caught again, if I can help it.

Then an odd phrase caught my attention: “plastic surgery.” My ears perked up and I heard my wife say, “I certainly agree with that article and I’m going to do some plastic surgery myself.”

Well, you can imagine what thoughts were racing through my head. When she hung up the telephone, I queried her about it.

In my book, plastic surgery is a big step.

“You do support me in this plastic surgery plan, don’t you?”

There are times to disagree with your spouse, but as a husband for over 45 years, I have never discovered that time. Forcing a smile, I nodded in the affirmative and told her she had my full support in whatever she decided.

I had to admit that the “time” had finally come to our humble abode. Who am I to fight it? I go by this motto, “He who smiles and agrees with his spouse lives to smile another day.”

I plan to smile until the day I die.

I never really thought about plastic surgery, but perhaps my wife was right. Perhaps she could use a little face-lift. For me to get a face-lift, the surgeon would need a huge construction crane. Then comes the awkward part, what do they do with my face after it was lifted?

Women, more than men, are a little sensitive about their appearance. For a man, “appearance” means he showed up. A woman has an altogether different approach to the term “appearance.”

Some women look in the mirror and see where some improvements could be made. For example, they see bags under their eyes that could not get through the airport carry-on luggage size requirement.

Then there is the problem with their nose, which could stand a little tweaking. For all practical purposes, one of those double chins has to go. Moreover, what woman couldn’t use a tummy tuck and other snippings of the flesh?

Believe me; I never would have brought it up, but if that makes my wife happy, then whatever it costs, we can put it on a credit card. The only problem with putting something like this on a credit card is that by the time you pay it off you need another procedure.

But, she is worth it in my checkbook. I have no compunction whatsoever of writing out that check.

Each day I checked the appointment calendar hanging on our refrigerator to find out when she would be going in for the surgery. Day after day, I looked, but could never find any appointment.

I supposed she was a little sensitive about the whole thing and did not want it staring at her day after day on the appointment calendar. Whatever the reason, she had my silent support, for all it was worth. I am sure she would do the same for me. That is what marriage is all about. Supporting one another in the developments of life, whatever that development might be.

I decided to tuck this little bit in the back of my mind and, however it developed would be all right with me.

One day this week, I went to the Slurp N’ Burp Café for a quiet lunch. The issue was far from my mind as I enjoyed a delicious lunch. As I finished my last cup of coffee, the waitress brought my bill and I pulled my wallet out to pay for it.

In searching my wallet for a credit card I discovered, much to my chagrin, that there were no credit cards to be found. Somehow, I had lost my credit cards. Perhaps, in the morning when I was getting dressed they dropped out of my wallet as I was placing it in my trousers.

The problem with that theory was that all the other cards in my wallet were intact.

Fortunately, I had my cell phone and called my wife.

“Honey, I’ve lost all my credit cards. I’m here at the restaurant and I can’t find any credit cards in my wallet. Do you have any idea what I did with my credit cards?”

“I cut them all up.”

“You did what?”

“You said you supported my plastic surgery plan, didn’t you?”

“But, I thought…”

“You, thought what?”

Oh boy.

Dear reader: please disregard the first part of this column. If you happen to read my obituary in next week’s newspaper, you will know that my lovely, vivacious, eternally youthful wife did not disregard the first part and I’m currently Resting In Pieces. Read More→

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Where’s Sherlock Holmes When You Need Him?

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerSmile Post-itI, like so many people, love a good mystery. I have read all of the Sherlock Holmes stories, the Father Brown stories and other good mystery novels. I just like trying to solve a good mystery.

A good mystery does not reveal the mystery until the very end. All the way through the story, importance evidence points to that person and the other person and so forth. However, you must read the end of the story to find out the answer to the mystery.

Mysteries do not just exist in novels for short stories. In my case, mysteries are all through my life. I cannot manage one day without some kind of a mystery.

It is not because I am getting older either. As I remember my younger days, it too was filled with mysteries.

I remember that one Christmas Eve when I was going to solve the mystery of Santa Claus. I heard about this mysterious person, but I had never seen him and this Christmas, I promised myself, I am going to see who this Santa Claus really is.

That night my parents sent me and my brother and sister to bed early because it was Christmas Eve. We had our little party around the Christmas tree and admired where all the Christmas gifts should be come morning.

Then at the strike of 10 o’clock, we were sent to our bedrooms to await the coming of Santa Claus and the Christmas gifts. I decided to stay up and just see how Mr. Santa Claus worked his mystery on Christmas Eve.

Hiding in the shadows, I could see my mother and father around the Christmas tree drinking some Christmas punch, talking and laughing. They seemed to be having a good time. I was a little irritated because they were having a good time at my expense.

Then I heard my mother say, “Don’t you think it’s about time?”

My mother and father looked at each other and giggled one of those hilarious giggles. My father said, “It sure is. Let’s go and get them.”

At the time, I really did not understand what he was talking about. What were they supposed to go and get? Why won’t they get out of the way so Santa Claus can come and do his “thing?” Read More→

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How to Live with a Veggie-Holic

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggervegetable isleIn our house, not many conflicts expose themselves. For the most part, it is a very quiet and serene home occupied by two lovebirds.

I am not saying we are perfect. For we are not. The imperfect side of this marvelous relationship is Yours Truly. I was born imperfect and I have honored my birthright ever since.

I do not care what some may say about crazy people, I have enjoyed my craziness all my life. When you are perfect, you have to be careful that you do not make any mistake or act crazy.

When, however, you are imperfect and tilt towards the crazy side of life, your life is a joy. If you make a mistake, well, that is part of life. But on the positive side, when you do something right, you become the amazement of people around you.

So, our relationship in the Parsonage has been a very wonderful relationship. At least, from my side of the room. What the other resident says may be quite different.

We do make a great team, though. I can break anything and she can fix anything. How much better do you need to be?

When I make a mistake, she can correct me even in front of people. Now that is what I like. I would hate people to think I am stupid, crazy is one thing but stupid is something altogether different. And it is the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage that consistently rescues me from being stupid.

Being a non-perfectionist, I can enjoy every day of my life, no matter what happens or what doesn’t happen.

I cannot imagine what life is like for that person who is a perfectionist, like my wife.

She sees something that needs fixing, and she is busy trying to fix it.

If something is out of place, she is the first one to put it in its place. She has put me in my place for many years.

Few things we disagree on but there is one thing on top of that list. They can be boiled down into one word, Vegetables.

My wife loves vegetables almost as much as I love apple fritters. I do not think since the day she was born a day has passed without her consuming some kind of vegetable. She knows vegetables like I know apple fritters. There is not a vegetable known to mankind that she has not consumed.

Even for breakfast, she likes to sneak in some kind of vegetable. With my oatmeal, for example, she likes to sneak in a carrot. What in the world do carrots have to do with breakfast?

Her response to this is simply, “Vegetables are good for you and it’s good to start the day off with a vegetable.”

For her sake, I will grudgingly put up with some vegetables. Some vegetables, however, I will not put up with, I have made my stand strong through the years and I have not moved. Leading the list would be Broccoli.

Yes, I know all of the benefits of eating broccoli. My wife has told me this over and over throughout the years and I can repeat it verbatim. Read More→

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Slow Is Just the Way I Go

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerOne of the main complaints in the Parsonage has to do with my procrastination. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage often refers to me as, Sir Procrastinator, as if it was a bad thing.

Anything that needs doing in our house, my wife is the first one to jump up and try to do it. She fixes things before they are even broken. How she does that, I will never know. It is a wife thing.

I, on the other hand, am slower than a politician trying to explain him or herself. For some reason, I was born in no hurry and that has been my motto all of my life. I am really not in a hurry for anything.

I take my time, relax whenever possible and just do not get excited about anything. I have found out that when I get excited about something and want to go fast forward, I always get into trouble. Trouble has become my middle name in this regard.

As a child, my parents wanted me to speed up and get things done quickly. I never could figure out why. Very few things need to be done in a speedy order.

I just do not have the energy, these days, to hurry up and get something done.

Last year, for example, the doctor gave me a little package to take home that I was supposed to put in a personal “sample” and send to the company. Certainly, I meant to do it as soon as I got home. But I took the slow way home, stopped and got a delicious banana split. I can only get these banana splits when I am driving by myself, for the other companion in our home has strict laws about such “nonsense,” as she calls it.

I actually enjoyed my “nonsense” very much.

When I got home, however, I had forgotten about the box in which I was supposed to put in my “sample” and send to the company. I put it somewhere and I just forgot about it.

“When,” my wife said, “are you going to take care of that and send it in?”

I almost said, “When pigs fly.” But because I was slow in getting that phrase out, it never got out. Of course, I am so glad I was slow in that regard.

Sometimes being slow has its rewards. Some people say being fast has its rewards. I would not know about that personally.

Several months went by. “Did you send that package in?”

“What package?” I said.

Then she reminded me of that package and that I had to send in my “sample” for the doctor had ordered it.

Doctors! What do they really know? After all, they are only “practicing” medicine. When they get it to perfection, then maybe I’ll believe them.

Several mornings when I would get up, I would hear the question, “Are you going to take care of what you’re supposed to do?”

I really meant to do it, but procrastination is the name of the game I play. I do not mean to play it that way, it just happens.

And it is not that I do not have a good memory. I do have a good memory in fact, I have locked several sections of my memory to save for when I get old. I will use that memory when I need it.

“You know,” argued my wife, “you’re not doing yourself any favors by putting this off. Why don’t you do it today?” Read More→

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Laughter in Any Other Language Is Just Not Funny

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerSmile Post-itWhen I was in high school, I played on the volleyball team. During one practice session, I forgot to bring my sneakers. Not thinking much of it, I just played anyway.

During the practice, I stepped forward to protect the player on the front line and when he jumped, he came down on my right foot. The consequence was he smashed my big toe.

That little incident put me out of the volleyball team for the rest of the season. I had to go to the doctor and have him fix my toe. I had to go several times for him to fix it. Consequently, my toenail on my right foot grew in crooked. It has been a painful thing ever since.

For years, I took care of it, but not too long ago I was doing more damage than help and I did not know what to do about it.

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage suggested that I go have a pedicure.

Looking at her, I said rather sarcastically, “A pedicure is for girls.”

“Well,” she said rather slowly, “if you go to the doctor it will be about $300. A pedicure is around $25. Now,” she continued, “you do the math.”

I must say it took me a long time to do the math on that one. I knew I had to have some kind of professional help with that toe. I was doing so much damage that it hurt just to walk. And, I’m not old enough to hobble around.

After a long evaluation I thought that I did not have anything to lose except, $275.

Not far from us was some kind of a Nail Salon. I went to it at least five times before I finally went in. It was a very humiliating experience for me. After all, I’m not a “girl.”

When I went in, finally, I noticed they were not speaking English. It turned out to be some Vietnamese family running this nail salon. When I walked in nobody was smiling, but as soon as the door shut behind me, everybody looked at me and started smiling. What’s that all about?

Somebody started speaking in Vietnamese and then everybody looked at me and started to laugh. I too laughed.

I had a moment of hesitation and I was about to turn around and go outside as fast as I could. It must have been the owner or manager of the nail salon who come up to me, greeted me very graciously and took me back to a chair where I was to have my pedicure. Read More→

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If It Wasn’t for Bad Luck

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerI am not the kind of person that dabbles in luck. [Knock on wood.] When something looks like a good gamble to me, I run from it as fast as I can. If it looks too good to be true, believe me, it probably is not true.

Luck has never been a friend of mine. The only luck I have ever had in life is when I conned a young lady into saying, “I do.” That was 47 years ago and I have never had a luckier moment since. Each year I appreciate that lucky moment more.

Apart from that, I am not on the lucky side of the road.

It is not that I would not appreciate a lucky moment every now and again. It is just that I am not the lucky kind of a person that gets that kind of thing.

My father taught me that life is not built on luck, but rather on hard work. Then he would send me to the backyard to do the mowing. Looking back on that situation, I think he was pretty lucky that I did not know what he was talking about and went and mowed the grass for him.

I tried this on my son once and he came back and said, “Dad, the mower is broken I can’t get it started.” Lucky for him.

I do not know why people are so interested in luck. Whenever I go to a convenience store, there is a long line behind the lottery ticket counter buying their ticket for the week.

One time I stood back and watched people buy their lottery ticket and everyone’s impression was they believed it was their lucky day and this was their lucky number.

I stopped one person and asked, “Do you buy lottery tickets often?”

The man looked at me and said very enthusiastically, “Yes, I buy them every week.” Then he chuckled as he showed me his recent lottery ticket.

“How often,” I queried, “have you won?”

He looked at me and his smile evaporated and he mumbled, “Never.”

As I thought about that, I began to realize how lucky the lottery was that there were so many people that did not have any luck whatsoever except bad luck.

I begin to calculate how much it would cost a year to buy lottery tickets every week. It was rather an amazing amount and I began to think how much bad luck really cost people.

It is lucky for me that I do not play the lottery because all I would experience is bad luck.

A young friend of mine was telling me that he had no luck in the dating compartment of his life. “All I have,” he complained, “is bad luck when it comes to dating.”

Then he explained that he was going to try his luck at one of those online dating programs. I am totally unfamiliar with that kind of thing, but he said that it might be his lucky day if he just went in that direction. “Who knows,” he smiled, “I just might get lucky.” Read More→

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Hallelujah, It IS a Scam

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggeremailI know I am not the sharpest pencil in the drawer, or the brightest bulb on the porch, and a few bricks shy of a load. However, my philosophy is simple, if you know what you are not, then you can soon figure out what you really are.

If somebody can’t con me, they can’t con anybody. I admit that I am naïve about many things. A Girl Scout needs only smile, wink her brown eyes at me and I will buy all the cookies she has.

My problem is, I have a hard time believing anyone would lie to me. Why would someone lie in the first place? What does lying get you?

An incident happened this past week that sucked me into that whirlpool of naivety.

I received an email from somebody who wanted to give me a lot of money. It seems this woman was recently widowed and her husband was very wealthy and she wanted to give money to some charity. Would I be interested in receiving money?

Well, when it comes to money you do have my interest.

Immediately I printed this email out and brought it to show the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Now, if anybody can con her, they can con everybody. She can spot a lie three generations back.

She read the email and then looked at me with one of those “stares” and said, “You do know that this is a scam?”

“But,” I said rather hesitatingly, “what if it isn’t a scam? What if it’s real? What have I got to lose?”

“You mean,” she said rather sarcastically, “besides your mind?”

It was at that moment I had an overwhelming urge to prove finally that she did not know everything. When I follow through with this and get all that money in our bank, I will have a laughing party heard around the world at her expense.

I decided to see if maybe this was legitimate. So, I emailed them back and said I was interested in their money for our charity and explained a little bit about our charity.

Very soon, I got an email back congratulating me on a wise decision.

I sat back and grinned to myself; at least somebody appreciates my wisdom.

Then I received an email saying I needed to send them some information, so I immediately sent it.

All the while, I’m thinking of how I’m going to rub this in someone’s face for a very long time. After all, the amount of money they were talking about was $4.7 million. I started thinking about what I could do with all that money.

It is amazing what happens when a person starts thinking about all the money he is going to get. Then the thoughts go to “things.” Things that I cannot afford right now. I tried to think of all of the things that I would buy as soon as I got this money. I got some paper and a pen and started to make a list.

I ran into a little problem here. I could not think of anything I wanted that I did not already have. I don’t have a long list of things I want. I like books, pens and pocketknives. Of course, I could buy my own Apple fritter bakery. That would be a good option.

For a couple days, I shot emails back and forth with this company that happened to be in Nigeria, Africa. I have some wonderful friends there so I was not even thinking on the negative side of this transaction.

Of course, being a pastor, I would donate some of that money to my church. Then I got thinking about what we could do in the church with that kind of money. How many people could we bless and encourage with the programs we could do with that kind of money?

I continued emailing back to this widow and she connected me with the bank that was going to handle the transaction. I was beginning to feel a little more comfortable with this. I know my wife thought this was a scam, but I’m not so sure it is a scam. I think it is some dear widow who wants to give her money to somebody that she doesn’t know. What a sweet and wonderful woman she must be. Read More→

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I Never Thought I Could

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerAs a person gets older things change. By things, I am referring to my body.

When I was young, I never gave a thought to what it would be like when I got old. I was too busy enjoying my being young. What young person wants to waste their time thinking about what they are going to be when they are old?

However, as a person gets older there is more time to think about things. To think about your health and strength and is it time to go to bed yet?

I can remember as a young person my parents had to wrestle me into my bed to go to sleep at night. I never wanted to go to bed; I wanted to stay up all night and watch TV.

I tried to think of many reasons not to go to bed when I was younger.

Now that I’m older, I’m trying to think of many reasons TO go to bed early.

The problem is it is not feasible to go to bed when the sun hasn’t set yet.

“Is it time to go to bed?” I queried the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.

Looking at me she simply said, “Has the sun set yet?”

I understood what she was saying and it is hard to say that the sun has set when it is still light outside. For this reason, I like a very cloudy afternoon when it hides the sun. It is so dark that I’m trying to convince my wife that it must be time to go to bed because it’s dark outside.

I must not be a very good salesman because my wife never buys what I’m trying to sell.

So, sitting in my easy chair thinking about stuff like this, I often get a little bit discouraged. What I’m thinking about is the fact that I cannot do what I used to do when I was young.

“What are you,” my wife said one afternoon, “so gloomy about today?”

“You know,” I said very sadly, “I just can’t do what I used to do when I was young.”

I remember all the fun times I had when I was young. It seems I had more energy than I could waste in one day. Now, I don’t seem to have that kind of energy.

My wife got us coffee and came, sat down in the living room with me, and was just quiet for a few moments.

Then she said, “Sure, there’s a lot of things you can’t do that you did when you were young.” She snickered after she said that and then said, “Why don’t you think about the things you can do now that you couldn’t do then?”

As far as I was concerned, there was nothing on that list. I know many people have what they call the “Bucket List” but I certainly don’t have such a list. My list only contains things that I used to do that I can’t do now. I cannot do them now because of the time element and my energy or lack thereof.

“Don’t worry about what you can’t do,” she explained. “Focus on some of the things that you can do and that you enjoy doing.” Read More→

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I Think I Now Know How Noah Felt

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerrainbowLooking out the living room window the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage sighed very deeply and said, “When will this stinking rain stop?”

I chuckled to myself very carefully not to let it come up to the surface of my face to let on to anybody in the room.

She turned around and said to me, “I am just about done with all this rain.”

With a fake grimace on my face I said, “I don’t know, but I’m done with it too.”

I had to walk away at that point because I could not control the chuckles that were rising to the level of my face.

When I got some control of my emotions I thought to myself, this must be how Noah felt. Whenever it rains as it has been doing lately, I usually think of Noah. Only this time I was thinking of Noah’s wife.

Listening to my wife talk about the rain, I could not help but think maybe this is exactly what Noah’s wife was saying to him.

“Noah,” his wife said, “when will this stinking rain stop?” Then I can imagine her saying, “I can handle one day of rain or maybe two, but this is getting to be ridiculous.”

After all, Noah’s wife was just like anybody else’s wife especially the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.

Knowing my wife like I do, I know she likes to be in control. From the moment she gets up in the morning until she goes to bed at night, she likes to be in control. When something is going on that she cannot control, then we have a different situation.

Could that be said of Noah’s wife? This rain was coming down day after day after day for 40 days and 40 nights. Nothing had ever happened like that before. I believe Noah’s wife was a little frustrated with the fact that she was not in control with the rain.

My wife gets up every morning with a large list of things she wants to accomplish during the day. I need to be careful because sometimes she has one of her “Honey-Do-Lists” for you know who. She is very productive in her day and she hardly sits down to rest. She is proactive all day long.

When she decides to do something, she does it no matter what.

Now, for the last several weeks it has been raining just about every day. She enjoys yard work and even mowing. Now with the rain, it has disrupted her schedule.

The fact that she cannot control the rain carries with it a little hidden giggle inside of me. She takes pride in planning her day and fulfilling her plan to the letter. She is in control of everything.

Everything, that is, except the rain. I know the rain is playing with her.

Several times, especially this past week, the morning started out bright and sunny with barely a cloud in the air. When my wife saw that, she was very excited. Read More→

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I Fell for It… Again

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerAn old saying more or less defines my life, “What we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.”

When I was younger, I assumed that the older I got, the smarter I would become. I have not achieved that at this point in my life. It gets so tiresome to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

I do hope though, that this will change somewhere along my life. I am hoping it changes before I die.

I was reminded of this flaw in my personality several weeks ago when the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I spent a little bit of vacation time at St. Augustine. Someone had given us tickets for several nights in a bed and breakfast.

We spent the whole week just enjoying ourselves. I should correct that though. I spent the whole week reading and meditating with my eyes closed.

The other side of our relationship went to all the thrift stores in the area. She would leave right after breakfast, stop back for lunch, then spend the rest of the day until suppertime going from one thrift shop to another. How she can do this for days on end is beyond my wildest dream.

Several times, she asked if I wanted to go with her, but I declined this most gracious invitation. I remember the last time I took her up on that offer and we bounce from one thrift store to the next thrift store. They all started to look alike after a while.

It only takes me five minutes to thoroughly examine the thrift store, while my wife takes two hours to go through bit-by-bit every aspect of that thrift store. Every thrift store in the area knows her by name at this point.

I, the lazier part of the marital equation, chose to stay in our room and just relax. I am just as addicted to relaxation as my wife is addicted to thrift store shopping. I am not certain who suffers the worst addiction.

To be honest, she has gotten many wonderful deals at some of these thrift stores. Whenever we need anything, she knows exactly which thrift store to go to and she can barter them down to the very bottom. How they make any money on her shopping I do not know.

Every once in a while I suffer this awful nightmare. I wake up sweating and breathing really hard.

The nightmare is that we have opened up our own thrift store. No dream can get any worse than that!

I never tell her of these nightmares because I do not want to plant any ideas in her head. I lean strictly away from that idea.

In spite of all of this, I still have failed to learn anything from history.

My wife had spent most of the day visiting these thrift stores, and also buying things from these thrift stores, and had come home and we had a little bit of supper in our room. I assumed we were in for the evening.

I wish I would know when to keep my mouth shut. As we were finishing our casual supper, I said something that I now regret very much. I said, “Boy, it sure would be nice to have one of those lap desks so I could use my computer while I’m sitting here in the bed.”

I did not mean for this to be a point of discussion just a casual observation, that is all.

Then I took it a step further. “Have you ever seen any lap desks in the thrift stores that you visit?”

If there is anything I could ever take back in my life, this would have been one of them. I did not know how serious the subject was.

“I don’t know,” she said most enthusiastically, “but I’ll go and find out right…”

Before she could say the word “now,” she had gone out the door and shut it most soundly. The rest of the evening she was visiting thrift stores all over the place. I was afraid, very much afraid, that she would actually find one and bring it back.

I suppose they are to be found in thrift stores somewhere. But I just meant it as a passing bit of conversation.

Four hours later, she returned and was very much excited. She had found something she had been looking for, for a very long time. It was a very eloquent teapot with 6 cups and saucers to it.

“Look what I found,” she said most excitedly. “I’ve been looking for this and we can use it at our next lady’s tea.” According to her, this tea set matches the one she had back home. She was so excited about it. Read More→

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