He’s also an accomplished public speaker. I have heard him give formal speeches and impromptu speeches both are good. He has a way of connecting with the audience.
But during our Thanksgiving trip to Tekamah, I learned when it comes to one on one communication he . . . well . . . he has room for improvement - at least with me. More than one conversation started with the words, “Didn’t I tell you that we were. . .”
Fortunately, only one incident was a little embarrassing. Unfortunately, it involved two hundred people and God.
We arrived at Tekamah and met Cliff on the lane to the farm. He was heading to Omaha where his church was helping the Omaha Baptist Church celebrate their 150th anniversary. Cliff was also speaking at the Omaha Baptist Church. I went along for the ride, nine hours in the car getting to the farm wasn’t enough I guess.
At the church, I found a pew and sat at the outside edge. Cliff and the others from Tekamah were a few pews ahead. Shortly after the service started in walked three physically challenged people who asked if I could move in. Not a problem, I moved to the center.
We sang some songs, we had a prayer, and a few announcements were made. Then it was time for Cliff’s talk.
As usual, he did a good job of holding the audiences attention. Then members of the Tekamah choir did a very nice job of singing.
Most of the choir members went back to their pew. Not Cliff, he headed for the door. He spotted me in the church, pointed his finger (index finger) at me, and waved towards the door. He walked out, holding the door open waiting for me.
I weighed my options - they were limited. I could squeeze by two elderly people and walk right through the center of the church or I could ask the three physically challenged people to excuse me. I choose the latter.
I soon realized that given their physical limitations – this might not have been my best decision. Scripture was being read, I was standing up, the three people were doing their best to let me by - things were in motion. One of the three asked in a rather loud voice, “Where are you going?” I whispered back, "I don't know."
I finally cleared the pew and walked through the door where Cliff was waiting. Cliff looked at me said, “Didn’t I tell you that we were leaving right after we sang?” “No” came out of my mouth. However, the words going through my head were more along the lines of, “Yeah Cliff, you told me – that’s why I was sitting right in the center of two hundred people!”
NOTE TO SELF: When attending public events with Cliff – wait for him outside.