A Sundae with all the goodies on top

Today was a great Sundae.

Yesterday was not such a great Saturdae for Christine Jenks. As one of my Facebook friends, her number was drawn but because she wasn’t a Follower of this blog and neglected sharing it on Fb, she missed out collecting $500.

I saw her at church today and tried to make her feel a little better by presenting her with an imaginary cashier’s check, payable to Christine Jenks and signed by me. She seemed pretty happy about that. She’s a good sport.

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Walking down the hall immediately after presenting Christine with her imaginary cashier’s check, I saw Brent Rowley, a guy I can really empathize with…

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I empathize with him because……he’s about to get married.

 

Also, I can empathize with him in a minor sort of way because he did the same smashing and slicing damage to the exact same two digits I once did on the same left hand.  If he was bald and 70 years older, we’d look like twins.

So last week I was at a cousin’s funeral in Cheney. I was reminiscing about her life along with thinking about her parents who passed years ago. There was so much I knew and loved about their lives and yet so much more I wished I knew. I would love autobiographies of their lives but doubt they were written.

Just then I got a text from Steve Anderson, a friend who serves on our church’s stake high council. He asked me to speak with him at a young singles branch in Pasco today. The age group of these young’uns is about 18-30. He said the subject was on Family History which struck me as very interesting as that was the very subject I had been contemplating the moment he texted. I said “Sure”.

I got loaded for bear during the week. I prepared a massive talk and just to get my point across, I took a very large binder titled Ben Casper Family ’79-84 filled with pictures and information that my wife had compiled. She has several more of these monsters from ensuing years but I didn’t have a trailer behind my pickup so there is no way I could have hauled the entire shipment to the meeting. I scaled down my bookmobile idea and grabbed just a few more books.

I took my autobiography titled Recovering IdiotI took my Mom’s hardback history titled Dreams Really Do Come True. I took my Dad’s hardback A Farmer’s Life. Three more hardback copies by Michele about our family were rounded up and thrown into the basket by our front door that used to hold shoes. I threw the shoes out to make room for the books. This little action didn’t not endear me to Michele for the next hour or so.

A Casper Family History-Nauvoo Temple Story completed the abbreviated sample Family History library. The basket was now overfilled and ready for transport and eventual display.

It was a warm summer morning and I worked up a good sweat before I got the library loaded into our van. There would have been a lot less perspiration if I had done the job in my swimming suit with the sprinklers on.

Instead, I wore a white, long-sleeved shirt and tie with a suit jacket. Oh yeah, on this particular Sunday I decided to wear pants since I had some that matched the jacket.

I have to admit that I do a lot of sweating in church. Church keeps things real and focused on things in life that really matter. I’m far from perfect and I guess that’s what kicks the sweat glands into production as soon as I walk in the steepled building. However, it’s a good sweat since I’m working to stay on the path.

We arrived in Pasco. I gave my talk. It was much shorter than expected. Unbeknownst to Steve and I, the mission president, his wife and several other speakers and music numbers were also on the agenda. I transitioned my talk from 5 pages to 3 paragraphs.

The branch president is a friend of mine from way back named Karl Eppich. Karl is a great guy but a little mixed up.  Perhaps psychopathic schizophrenic is a term that might apply although that’s perhaps a little too mild. The Eppich name hails from Germany but Karl is 100% Jew, through and through.

Years ago my wife played a major and great practical joke on me (it’s in my book) and to make it happen, distributed a bunch of my cash at the outset of the prank to my friends including Karl. They were supposed to give it to me when the joke went down. When it came time to make the joke happen, Karl refused to give my cash back. It took much coaxing and prodding from the other 25 people in the room for Karl to unclench his fist from around my wad of cash.

So this morning, Karl was presiding at the meeting. As I spoke about my wife and family, I started tearing up a little. I looked around the pulpit for some Kleenex’s but saw none. Someone went out to get some.

As I continued speaking, I felt a movement on my side. I was startled but finally noticed that kind President Eppich had slipped his handkerchief past my side on to the pulpit in front of me in case the tears started flowing.

I couldn’t help myself. Because it had slightly interrupted my train of thought, I said “Oh, I thought Karl was trying to get my wallet but I guess he was just giving me a hankie.”

I guess everyone there must know Karl quite well because they all responded with understanding laughter.

We headed home after the meeting. After traveling a few miles, I noticed my wallet was gone. That darn Karl.

As we approached Basin City, Michele said she had to go back to the church to teach a lesson for the third hour of church. I figured I had already done enough church stuff for the day and told her to drop me off at our house. She said that was fine but if I was going home, I would have to fix dinner.

I decided to head back to church. It turned out I was glad I did.

The last half of second hour was happening. I walked into the Sunday school class and guess who was teaching it?

Christine Jenks. The girl who had missed out on the cash the day before. She was talking about how hard it was when they lost their baby a few years ago. She just couldn’t get over the pain and loss. I remember how devastated she and her husband were.

Later on, she talked to Bishop Nielson about her ongoing struggle. He asked her if she had turned it over to Christ. It took her a bit to relate to what he was conveying as he had to repeat the question. The realization began to settle on her soul that this was the only way she was going to be able to deal with it.

I’ve had and ongoing situation in my life is not nearly as serious as the one Christine and Kameron have endured but still has been something that has really bothered me. I realized while listening to Christine that that’s what I had to do.

No other fix available in this world will heal and bring peace like the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He has descended below us all and paid the price for all sins, losses and pain.

But it is only available for those who humble themselves, believe in and learn of Him, and seek to live His Gospel.

I know this is true but once again I had to be reminded by His Spirit (and Christine) to make it happen in my mind, heart and life. Thanks, Christine.

Now I really feel bad that she didn’t win the money.

So we came home for lunch. Michele fixed it. My wallet was still missing. That darn Karl. We ate and then I had to rush out the door to Home Teach a couple of families since it is getting close to the end of the month.

As I jumped into the 120 degree summertime cook-off van and drove up to the hill country where our families live, my nose started bleeding. I don’t know if traveling to the higher altitude (it’s at least 300 feet higher than the bottom lands of Basin City where I reside) or if it was just the hot weather, but I was in a pickle. The heat was not allowing the blood to clot and it was all I could do to keep my white Sunday shirt from turning polka-dotted red.

I picked Mel up (we are home teaching companions probably because we each are missing fingers) and we made our way to Phyliss and Merlin’s home. The nose was still dumping blood. Phyliss got me an ice bag and after a few minutes of the cold compress, the bleed went away and everything was fine. I greatly appreciated the help. As always, we had a nice visit.

We then visited our other family, the Hawkins. I’ve been home teaching them for 4 or 5 years now. Home teachers are supposed to bring goodies and do nice things for their families. Today, Mel and I walked out of their home, each carrying a bag of peaches. Every month, we arrive without gifts and leave with vegetables, fruit, apple cider or whatever is in season at the time.

I love the Home Teaching program. I love the families we visit. Salt of the earth people.

Speaking of salt, I guess I did take a gift to the Hawkins at least one time. I had a Bug-A-Salt gun which after a few pumps, sprays a few grains of salt out the end of the plastic barrel and obliterates the fly. After a previous visit to their home (which is somewhat close to a dairy), on the next visit I gave them the gun. We don’t live close to a dairy. They do.

I haven’t noticed any flies in the Hawkins ointment since the A-Salt weapon placement.

The topping on this Sundae came from Tyler as we left the Hawkins home. He informed me that he had started to reread my book for the second time. That made my day since it is 523 pages. His generation usually can’t stay focused on anything longer than a tweet.

My vote is for Tyler to win the 500 bucks. I get more comments and compliments from him concerning the book and blog than anyone else. It’s just too bad I’m not the one picking the winning names. I should say that many people have been throwing out compliments and I thank you all for that.

Today was a very productive day. It was one I would not have experienced if I was a scoffer and a doubter. Nor would I have experienced it had I been working at the shop, recreating on a lake or enjoying God’s great outdoors. I get to do that 6 days a week. (I’m not talking about the scoffing and doubting.)

Instead, I got to experience God’s great indoors, take the sacrament and give Him the day a week He has always asked us for. Living in this realm allows me great comfort when loved ones pass on or when life gets hard. When I contemplate the love I have for my family or when I really mess up, His undeniable Spirit is there to insure against loss and help me carry on.

I know that building a relationship with the Savior is just like building a business. The more we put into it, the bigger it gets and the more we get out of it.

Tomorrow I’m going to throw the books out and put the shoes back in the basket. Michele will be happy. Then I’m going down to Karl’s and look for my wallet.

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