Fall is here and, man, am I ever glad!

I know we’ll still have some pretty warm days but the worst is over for now. Our phone has started ringing again and I’m really grateful for that. I hope you’re busy now too. It’s just awfully nice to be able to work outside and not feel like you’re going to die from it.

Last week I told you an allegedly true story about something funny that was said by a little boy at church. I have another allegedly true story about something funny a grown man said at church. I heard this story directly from the man who said it and I only state that it is allegedly true because of this individual’s knack for telling hilarious tales, some of which may or may not be 100% factual.


I am also allowing myself a little wiggle room here. It has been a long time since I was told this story and it may not have been told to me exactly as I remember it. I once heard a professor at Mississippi State discussing the fact that, for most of us, memory function tends to become diminished with the advance of years. This particular instructor said he had had no such experience in his own life and that, if fact, his recall was so good he could remember stuff that never even happened. I think I have that ability too.


At any rate, the gentleman in question, and he really is the embodiment of the term, was fortunate enough to have escaped from occupied Holland during WWII. He must’ve been in his early 20s at the time and somehow he made his way to America and befriended a young lady who would eventually become his wife.


Like all good girls in the rural and small-town south in the 40s, she took him to church with her on Sunday morning whereupon the young man was hailed as a hero for having made it to freedom. He was urged to address the congregation and tell them all about his harrowing, intrepid journey from the clutches of Hitler’s army.


He obliged, but the only problem was that he had a very limited command of the English language, the entirety of which he’d learned from American G.I.s. So he stood before a rapt audience and said, “I am very lucky to escape the *@%#@*# Germans.” At that point the preacher took him by the elbow and said, “OK son, you can sit down now”.


Although this incident took place some 20 years before I was born, I know what had to have happened in the aftermath. I feel certain that there were people, men mostly, who had to bend over and pretend to tie their shoes or something while they giggled throughout the remainder of the service. Times may have changed but people haven’t.


I have one other story about my Dutch friend, whom we’ll call “Peter” to protect the guilty. I was going to save this one for another time but since I’m already onto another page, and since I can’t take out any of the above and still get the story straight, I’ll press on.


It seems that “Peter” took a job as a sales rep for a national lawn and garden products company and he was based in Memphis. He came home from a week on the road one winter Friday afternoon and, after few stiff belts, decided his dormant lawn would look much better if he painted it green. Lawn paint just happened to be one of the products he was asked to sell, and he just happened to have a good supply of it in the trunk of his car.


And so, with yet another drink in hand, he set to work painting. The project took longer than expected, with several refills being necessary - both of lawn paint and of refreshing adult beverages. But eventually he finished his work and stood, beaming with pride and a feeling of accomplishment, marveling at the beauty of his now verdant lawn.


The problem came when he walked outside the next morning, clear-eyed and sober. He said that, true enough, his lawn was now green. So was his driveway, his sidewalk and three bricks up on his house. He said you could fly over Memphis and pick out his yard as an oasis of green in a sea of brown. It stayed that way all winter.


There is a long list of things you should not do while drinking, and you know most of them as well as I do. But, just in case you should ever feel the temptation to do it, please don’t ever drink and paint at the same time – at least not outside!


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