Monday, January 31, 2011


One day last week I was to meet a friend in a town thirty miles from our house. I was half way there when my cell phone rang and my friend informed me he wasn’t going to be able to make it. I know him fairly well so I was halfway expecting the phone call. But now what do I do? It’s a nice day, I’m outside the city and traffic was light so I decided to continue driving and buy myself breakfast.

Stopping at the McDonalds, where we were to meet, I order a breakfast burrito and cup of coffee. Then I moved aside so the guy behind me could order. I couldn’t help but hear him place his order. He said, “I’d like a cup of coffee and a rare hamburger. Not medium rare – rare.”

Suddenly memories of my days as a fast food cook flashed into my head . . .

As a young college student I had landed a job at a fast food restaurant three days after arriving in town. It was a job that provided some excellent perks.

It was a fast food restaurant like McDonald’s but instead of just serving hamburgers and fries, they had fish sandwiches, fried chicken, tacos, fish and chips, sausage sandwiches, and ice cream. One of the benefits was we could eat anything we wanted for free. This was great for a young, single college guy. But an even better benefit was everyone else who worked there was either a high school or college lady. A job that paid me, gave me free food and the chance to work with some attractive and available women. These are the kind of perks that makes you pause and think – does life get any better than this?

In these types of restaurants things are standardized so the quality is the same from one restaurant to another. For example hamburgers were pre-formed and frozen when we received them. They were made at a ratio of 22 to 1, meaning one pound of meat made 22 hamburgers. We would thaw out the patties prior to cooking and since they were thin they cooked fast. They were to be cooked for one and half to two minutes on each side. Tacos were to be deep fried for thirty seconds. Fish was to be fried for 2 minutes, two pieces of fish per order served with half an order of fries.

Now when you’re trying to cook for a bus full of tourist or several vans full of students passing through town a special order could really screw you up. While cooking for a bus full of tourist there was a request for a rare hamburger. I made it the best I could. It came back as being to done. I made another; it too came back as being to done. I took yet another hamburger patty, placed it on the grill, waited twenty seconds, flipped it, waited another twenty seconds and then prepared it. It came back as being over cooked. I’m trying to cook for a whole bus of hungry people while one person wants to be a connoisseur of a forty-nine cent hamburger. By my fourth attempt I was a frustrated. I took a hamburger patty, threw it on the grill, turned it over and then scooped it off. The total time on the grill was less than five seconds. Placing it on the bun I notice it looked rare, well, actually it looked raw but I thought to myself, “You want rare, you’ll get rare.” I doctored it up with mustard, ketchup, and a pickle which were the standard condiments, wrapped it up and sent it out. It must have been perfect because it didn’t come back this time.

At McDonalds I had received my order and was sitting in a booth. I watched the man who had ordered the rare hamburger. He sat down, took one bite, glared at the hamburger, hastily wrapped it up and marched back to the counter. I chuckled to myself as I thought, “Okay, I can leave now. I know where this is going.”

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sunday Funnies

A priest was being honored at his retirement dinner after 25 years in his parish.

A leading local politician who was a member of the congregation was chosen to give a little speech at the dinner.

But the politician was delayed, so the priest decided to say his own words while they waited, "I got my first impression of the parish from the first confession I heard here. I thought I had been assigned to a terrible place. The very first person who entered my confessional told me he had stolen a television set and, when questioned by the police, was able to lie his way out of it. He had stolen money from his parents, embezzled from his employer, had an affair with his boss's wife, and taken illegal drugs. I was appalled. But as the days went on I learned that my people were not all like that and I had, indeed, come to a fine parish full of good and loving people."

Just as the priest finished his talk, the politician arrived, full of apologies for being late. He immediately began his talk. "I'll never forget the first day our priest arrived," said the politician. "In fact, I believe I had the honor of being the first person to go to him for confession.”

Moral: Never, never, never, be late.

(Thanks to Paul)

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Sunday Funnies

Here are some questions about church statistics. See how many you can get right.

If a church's average morning attendance is 100, how many will attend a Sunday evening service?
(Answer: About ten)

If a church's average morning attendance is 2,500, how many will attend a Sunday evening service?
(Answer: A Sunday evening what?)

Pastor Price has been at First Church for three years. Attendance has been growing at a rate of 11.3 percent annually, volunteerism is up, the budget is balanced, and the bathrooms are painted. What percentage salary increase can Pastor Price expect?
(Answer: He will be fired for painting the bathrooms without calling a congregational meeting.)

When listening to a colleague preach, what percentage of pastors are convinced they could do a better job?
(Answer: 63%. The rest aren't listening at all.)

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Flight 752

Dreams are funny things. It’s amazing how unrelated events can get tied together and how, through our dreams, hidden truths can be revealed.

Char and I enjoyed a great trip over Christmas to see the kids. We really did have a good time and everything went according to plan until we were to leave. That’s when our return flight was canceled. We were to be home the morning on December 30 but the airlines informed us we would be in Illinois until the sixth of January as that was the earliest they could get us on a flight. That was totally unacceptable. The next morning at the airport, we decided to rent a car and drive back. Driving out of town I kept thinking, “I’m in a rental car while I have two perfectly good cars sitting in the garage at home.”

When we got to Nebraska, Cliff and Marilyn took pity on us and we spent a couple of days hanging out at the farm waiting for a storm to pass and the roads to clear before we headed into Colorado. On the road to Colorado, the lady who was watching our house sent us a text message saying one of our cars had a flat tire. Not exactly what you want to hear but it could have been worse.

Arriving home I walked into the garage and yep, the tire was flat – really flat. We’ve had flat tires before and the place we take them to be repaired is only a couple blocks away. Instead of changing the tire I have always pumped them up by hand with a bicycle pump. But this time I looked at that tire and thought to myself, “I’m getting too old to pump up car tires with a bicycle pump.”

So, the search for a small, affordable air compressor started. Amazingly, I was able to locate one for under $40. I was ecstatic. I pumped up the tire, drove two blocks and had the tire repaired.

So what does all this have to do with dreams? The dream happened last night.

In my dream Char and I are on an airplane. Abruptly over the intercom came the announcement, “Ladies and gentlemen this is the captain of flight 752. I don’t want to alarm you but we have a dilemma. If anyone has an air compressor we could sure use it. We have a flat tire and won’t be able to successfully land the aircraft until we get some air in that tire. If you have an air compressor please tell one of the stewardesses and thank you for flying flight 752.”

Suddenly people were running around the airplane yelling, screaming, and crying. They evidently didn’t realize the fasten seat belt sign was still illuminated.

I looked at one of the stewardess and said, “I have an air compressor.” But she was frantically trying to get people back in their seats. Looking behind me I spotted the other stewardess. I waved my hand and said, “I have an air compressor.” She just smiled and continued walking up the aisle collected used coffee cups and pop cans in a plastic bag.

All of the sudden I was awake sitting on the edge of the sofa. I don’t think I was sweating but my breathing was rapid and shallow. I bolted up the stairs to share my dream with Char. Yes, I was talking pretty fast and swinging my arms in the air but she really didn’t need to laugh as hard as she did.Two unrelated events got tied together. But what was the hidden truth? I occurred to me later that night. No one at the airlines wants to listen to the flying public especially during the Holidays.