When I say, “Good Luck” I mean – “May it be so that God ordains that your fortune in this endeavor is good”.
Your bucket list should include only those things that you can’t do, or can’t do something like it but better, in heaven. You know, like missions trips.
In 1988, November 28 landed on a Monday; the Monday after Thanksgiving. I was a junior at Bethel College, I sang in the College Choir, and the Monday after Thanksgiving was always the first day of a week of rehearsals in preparation for the Festival of Christmas, Bethel’s yearly Christmas music concert featuring all of the musical organizations.
During those years–the years before the Great Hall came into being on campus, the Festival of Christmas was held at a large nearby church. All of the performers had to find their own way there.
I had a car. A big car. A 1978 Delta 88 Oldsmobile. I once measured it, and found that it was longer than my parents’ Suburban. But what it lacked in mileage it gained in its passenger-holding ability.
So on Monday, November 28th, 1988 I found myself driving four other choristers to the rehearsal. Tenor Section Leader Bryan was in the passenger seat, and there were three in the spacious back seat. This happened to be a year in which there had been significant snowfall the previous weekend, and the roads were somewhat slippery.
About a quarter mile from the church, driving through a suburban neighborhood, we came over a hill and, looking down, we saw kids on the side of the road, up on the snow bank. With sleds.
My friend and fellow-tenor Ace, suggested (jokingly – I assure you*) that I not concern myself with not hitting one or more of them.
I headed down the hill, going fairly slowly, and immediately noticed that it was almost sheer ice. And then we saw one of children head down the hill, towards the road, in an un-steerable and un-stoppable round red sled. You know, the crazy kind.
And then we saw him slide right into the road. And then we saw him stop in the middle of the road. Right where I was headed. On sheer ice. I put on the brakes, which did absolutely nothing as my big car slowly continued towards him.
This was a bad moment.
As slow as I was going, there was nothing I could do. I actually steered slightly (very slightly) towards him so it wouldn’t be a tire that went over him.
And then I ran him over. We saw him disappear below the bumper.
I slid another fifty feet (this was Bryan’s estimate later), and eventually the curb on the right side of the road stopped the vehicle.
This was a worse moment.
Two of the passengers in the back were ladies, a soprano and an alto. The soprano later told me that as I got out, they started praying. One of my passengers also later told me that they’d heard the child cry out at some point. I didn’t hear this.
I ran to the back of the car and looked. That’s where he’d be, right? Nope, I didn’t see him.
So I ran to the front. I bent over and looked. And there he was, just under the center of the front bumper. On his side, looking at me. Looking a little squished. Scared.
I asked (with, I imagine, a little tension in my voice), “Are you okay?”
He (with corresponding tension) answered, “Could you just back up a little?”
Now, I wouldn’t recommend what I did next, but I just took his hand, pulled him out and stood him up. We kind of checked him out. He was completely fine. The height of the underside of the car and the slipperiness of the icy road was exactly what it needed to be to keep him (mostly) in front of the car in a non-crushing manner until the vehicle stopped. I thank God. I really, really thank God.
In any case, it was at this point that Tenor Section Leader Bryan gave him a fifteen second lecture about why it wouldn’t be wise to continue sliding into the street at this location. The boy took his advice with great seriousness.
And we left the boy and his friends, we all got back into the car and drove the thirty second drive to the church.
I watched as other people told the story, and I personally told the story more than once in the coming days. Over the years, as I’ve told it, I’ve usually begun the story with, “And don’t worry, this story has a happy ending”. Which I now think was a bit of an exaggeration.
Five other notes:
- In my journal entry for that day, I reported that at supper, my friend Mark was under the table laughing as I told the story.
- In my journal entry for the next day, I reported that more than once, people asked me, “Did you run over any kids today?”
- My primary regret in this event is that I didn’t walk the boy home to make sure his parents learned what had happened.
- The Soprano who prayed in the back of the car has now been my wife for nineteen years. We weren’t even dating back then.
- This year, God-willing, I’ll go to the Festival of Christmas for the 29th year in a row.
- I didn’t report this in my journal, but my memory has it that at a later rehearal, Tenor Section Leader Bryan, giving announcements to the entire 100 person Festival Choir, said, “And in the years to come, if you have kids, don’t let them sled into the road, or sure as shootin’, Scott Jamison will run them over!”
* It’s my guess that Ace was in effect saying, “Scott, watch out for those kids there.”
Hello, Biblical language experts who are currently creating the next translation of the Bible – here’s my suggestion/plea.
Don’t use ‘Trespass’ or ‘Trespasses’ as a noun. No current day English-speaking person on earth uses Trespass that way. Only as a verb. You know, ‘To Trespass’.
I know, it’s too late for the ESV, but maybe we can prevent this from ever happening again.
Now you might be thinking, “Is this just because you’re trying to write a Fighter Verse song with the word ‘trespass’ in it? Multiple times?”
Why yes – and it’s a really difficult word to – I mean, THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!
Neither of these statements are logical:
I’m decent because I’m better than the worst person in the world.
I’m not decent because I’m not as good as the best person in the world.
I know almost nothing about this book:
… but I’m guessing this: There is a non zero number of people who look at symbol in the middle of the title and say to themselves, “Does ‘>’ mean ‘less than’ or ‘greater than’? Okay, let’s see. Is it an alligator mouth going for the bigger one … or is it a rocket ship pointed towards the bigger one? I can never remember!”
Also, some are wondering if there’s a rap poem in the foreword.
I’d just like to point out that yesterday (probably in the afternoon) this blogs all time views count passed 150,000.
If you’re listening to a sermon and you think, “Boy, it sure would be great for [other person] to hear this”, this may be a thought suggested to you by Satan in his attempt to keep you from thinking, “I wonder how I should apply this sermon to my life?”
Most days walking into work I cross a fairly busy parking lot road. I always look both ways before crossing it, just like I tell my kids to do. I take some comfort in the fact that I’m not a hypocrite, at least with respect to this.
So, do you think Scott Adams (the drawer) is evil because he created such an evil character? Or because he chose every evil thing that character ever does?
“I shouldn’t spend my time on this activity” doesn’t follow from “There will be no immediate value resulting from this activity.”
Resolved: Nothing said between a husband and wife should be considered gossip.
True? False? Mostly True? Explain.
A few weeks back, Pastor Sam at our church posted the seven reason why one writer (Laurel Buckingham) loves attending a big church.
While I agree with all of them (as you might guess, since we attend a big church), my first thought was that small churches should get this same kind of list. So I wrote to him with the first ten reasons I could think of.
Last week, he posted them.
You can go read them, but here are a few of the reasons:
4. Small churches have more opportunity for musicians who aren’t at professional or near-professional levels.
This is true for other kinds of giftings.
5. People in small churches have more access to the head pastor.
6. It usually takes less than two years for pastoral transition.
… Or other decisions of this kind.
7. There is less potential for a person to be stagnant in a small church. There is more automatic accountability.
Let me just say as a disclaimer that we love attending Bethlehem and have no plans to leave.
It’s been too long since I played Rook.
Just to let you all know, I’ve posted a list of biblical reasons for praising God over at the Fighter Verse Song Blog.
I imagine that if this website had more room in the ad, they’d include some more helpful information:
1. Please note that we say “most affordable” but we don’t say “most pain free”. You might catch this from the fact that while two inch metal rods inserted into the jaw might a simple and cost effective way to permanently attach teeth to your gums, there may be a loss of comfort as these come into contact with the odd nerve or two.
2. We’ve put the handy red arrows for clarity. We aren’t going to leave teeth just floating in the air above the lower part of your mouth!
3. You can see how thinking outside the box can save you money. Why go to the expense of attaching three teeth when we can just glue the middle tooth to the outer two and then attach those?
Interested in seeing more of my attempts at humor?
Has it come to this? You’ve lowered yourself to selling ads to consultants who teach people how to murder other people?
With golf clubs?
Really, I mean, Really?
To potential consumers of the product I say:
How competent a teacher can “Jim McLean” be if he hasn’t taught this would-be hit-woman the basics?
Like how about “By all means, don’t let your intended victim get within reach of your iron” for example?
Or “Try, when you’re beating someone to death, not to do it in what looks like a wide open field.”
Or “When swinging, keep your eyes on the target”. This lady looks like she’s staring at the ground.
In any case, were I his marketing adviser, this is not the photo I would have used.
I do give him props for having an innocuous sounding web page, though.
Interested in seeing more of my attempts at humor?
Here are four times when “What part of X did you not understand?” doesn’t work as an argument:
When your listener wasn’t around when you said X.
When you haven’t actually ever said X.
When X is, in fact, quite confusing.
When X is, in fact, not true.
Did I miss any?
Like most people, I’m not one to be that interested in famous people. I don’t go out of my way to see them.
I’ve never, for example, been to a book signing.
Now, the fact that I enjoy Weird Al’s music is a part of the public record. I’ll go even further. I think it takes genius to do what he does.
His ability to mimic pop musicians is impressive, his original melodies are always very singable (and often make you want to sing along), he continues to be funny and his voice . . . well, even if you don’t like the tone, you have to admit he has a fairly big range and acrobatic ability.
So we went. I admit I wanted to see him in person and briefly talk with him.
I took my family. As we drove, I wondered how many people would be there. And as we walked in, I was handed a slip of paper which indicated that I was 251st in line. And all of the books were sold out. Ah.
So we waited until he walked in and he was introduced. And then he began the arduous task of signing all of these books. Cheerfully.
We went home. I took a nap. And then my wife and I left the kids at home and went back, two hours and twenty minutes later. He’d signed about 150. So we had some nice cool drinks in the Starbucks there (we usually go on a Sunday date anyway) and did a little shopping.
I spent some time in the comic section, which happened to be partially within earshot of Al as he signed books. He was generous and pleasant and patient as person after person, after couple, after family came through the line, told him how much they loved him, and got their picture with him.
At around the 3 1/2 hour mark, they finally called the set of numbers that I was in. And then it was my turn. The bookstore had nicely given us stickers to have him sign (if we promised to order the book, which I will!) I asked him to put down the initials of our kids. Which he did.
I commented about how I appreciated that his music was family friendly* and he thanked me. I asked him to look bored when they took the picture of us. Which he did. And he laughed afterwards.
And then it was done. As we walked away, he still had many people waiting in line. And he was still smiling.
A few more comments:
- He told me this was one of six days in a row that he was doing this. Can you imagine doing that for five hours, for six days ? It would be a different (not entirely unpleasant, not exactly thrilling) kind of existence.
- I’d just like to point out the fact that the handed out piece of paper’s note that seating was NOT guaranteed proved to be true, largely due to the fact that there was no seating, except for Mr. Yankovic.
- The people in line were an eclectic mix of lots of different kind of people. Like him, they were quite patient and pleasant.
In any case, I’m glad I went.
*Depending, I guess, on your definition of ‘family friendly’.