Friday, December 23, 2011

Almost the Nativity

(For those who arrived late, this is a reprint from 2009.)

I view the Bible as being 100% truthful and doesn't always report 100% of what actually happened. At times, it uses figures of speech and poetic language and just plain leaves some things out. For example, what really happened between Luke 1:26-56 and Matthew 2:18?

Following the angel Gabriel's announcement to Mary that she would give birth to the Messiah, and Mary's hasty, three-month visit with her kinswoman, Elizabeth, she returned to Nazareth and her betrothed, Joseph.

"Joseph?" Mary inquired, as she entered the carpenter's shop.

"Is that the voice of my turtle dove?" laughed Joseph as he picked Mary up and swung her around in joy.

"Careful, you glorified lumberjack." Joseph was a little confused about needing to be careful, so Mary continued: "I've got some wonderful news, oh hubby-to-be! I am expecting a child."

"That's a wonderful, positive attitude, my basket of flower petals. I, too, expect that our God will be gracious and grant to us the blessing of being parents." (Joseph was not the sharpest chisel in the toolbox.)

"You don't understand, my muscular ox. I am, even now, at this very minute, expecting a child."

Joseph tilted his head to one side, squinted, and slowly said, "Yea,, too."

Mary slipped her hands up Joseph's arms and cupped his face. "Let me speak plainly, oh He Who Is Strong of Arm and Thick of Skull. I'm preggers."

The light dawned excruciatingly slowly in the carpenter's mind: "Heyyyyy...what were you doing for the last three months, anyway? I thought you were visiting your cousin Elizabeth. Is there something in the water up there?"

"Joseph," Mary calmly interjected, "I am not pregnant by the effort of any man. God has placed this child within me."


Monday, December 12, 2011

MY FIRST TIME: Episode Four: You can't get there from here

Synopsis: The author and his Beloved, as part of their first-ever, short-term, cross-cultural missions experience, arrived in Panama City, Panama, a day later than the rest of their group.

The first thing to hit me when the sliding glass doors opened -- the doors that separated the stiff, official, will-they-let-me-in-the-country-or-not customs area of the airport from the throng of brown faces looking for someone other than me -- the first thing to hit me was the smell. Not that it was an unpleasant odor, just...different. Certainly pungent. Decidedly piercing. Altogether unavoidable.

The second aspect of Panama to impress itself on me was the heat. This was February. I had left 26 degree Indiana and now walked into 95 degree Panama. Again...not unpleasant, except for the whole tennis-shoes-melting-into-the-concrete phenomenon.

The gringo missionary we would be working with knew the representative of the sponsoring organization that had organized the trip and who was with us (because he stayed behind in Miami, remember?), so we had no difficulty being found. Frankly, even though we had never seen the missionary before, it wasn't hard to pick out the only six foot, four inch, redheaded Irishman that side of the Rio Grande.

We wended our way through the crowds to a large taxi/small cargo truck, which took us to the bus terminal in town, where we booked passage for our six hour bus ride to a town named David (pronounced, Dah-VEED).

Methinks the actual distance from Panama City to David is about 120 miles, but we spent the first three-and-a-half hours of our trip zig-zagging through the narrow, congested, always-in-a-state-of-disrepair streets of Panama City...stopping for every souvenir cart (no doubt owned by a cousin of the bus-driver's wife's shoe salesman's nephew) and stray dog (the other white meat).

To give you an idea of just how exciting it was riding in this fairly-full, vintage bus with an assortment of animals, produce, cranky kids, and large, belching hombres, let me pass on three words: No...Air...Conditioning.

Monday, December 5, 2011

"Hey, Mommy's Daddy!"

I became a grampa Sunday morning.

Well, to tell you the True Truth, I've been considering myself the father of a child who has a child since I first saw the ultrasound picture and could tell how absolutely cool my grandson was:

But just yesterday morning (as James Taylor invades my brain), they let me KNOW you were [here]. Seems that the plans they made [got left behind].

It's true, the little goober came a few weeks early, but all is well and right and good and fine...except for a personal question of my own:

What do I want SkittleKid to call me when he starts talking in a few weeks?

(Yes, it will happen that soon. His mom, AngelFace, is An Educator and will settle for nothing less than a precocious prodigy...reading The Brothers Karamazov at the age of three.)

I've heard plenty of possibilities:

Grandfather - Way too stuffy for a wannabe hippie like me; makes me think of Shirley Temple pouting and crying in a snowstorm

Grandpa - Impossible to pronounce, which is probably what led to the invention of...

Granpa - which no one actually says; it always comes out...

Grampa - which is fine for what it is: the masculine form of Gramma; but I guess I want something less derivative

Gramps - This would be great if I chewed tobaccee, walked with a hitch in my gitalong, and was named Walter Brennan

Peepaw - Kind of cute in a it's-a-shame-Dewey-has-to-wear-Depends-at-such-a-young-age kind of way

I know it will depend on what SkittleKid's tongue can actually navigate, but I wouldn't mind Papa Dewey...except now that I say that out loud, it sort of sounds like you're instructing someone to quickly swallow some kind of illegal pill.

Oh well, whatever he ends up calling me, I'll love it because I love him. And that's the whole, complete, actual, factual, true truth.