Let Me Do It!

May 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Emily Parke Chase –

“Let me do it! Let me! You always get to say what you want on the paper, but it’s my turn!”

Can this really be happening? This ordinary, subservient pen is rebelling? My ballpoint, a recent acquisition from a bank teller’s counter, is demanding a say in my writing?

“Let me control the flow of ink for once. Your fingers grip me so tightly, pushing me this way and that. Did it ever, even once, occur to you that I might not want to go from left to right? Or that I might not like being squeezed by my own personal python? Have you ever considered that I might have a thought or two of my own to offer your readers?”

I look over my shoulder and hope no one walks into my study, because I’m about to have a conversation with my…pen?

“So why not let me have a turn? After all, see those little initials there on my clip?”

You mean, B.I.C.?

“That’s right.  Haven’t you ever wondered what they stand for?”

Um, give me a chance. Business, Industry, Corporation? Bossiness, Idiocy and Craziness? I’ll bite, what do they mean?

“Bite? Ouch, that’s another gripe I have. When you need to think, you chomp down and chew on a defenseless piece of plastic. How would you like to take a bath in saliva while sharp molars dig into your ribs?”

Get to the point. What do the letters B.I.C. stand for?

“Very cute. ‘Get to the point.’ They call it a nib, for your information. As for those letters, try this on for size: Bursting In Creativity.”

Ridiculous! You made that up.

“And that statement, my friend, proves my thesis. I’m bursting with creativity, ready to share my thoughts with a waiting world. You, on the other hand, you have been doodling, aimlessly pouring out my life’s blood all over this page. You are stewing over what to write for this column, while here at hand – in your hand, for that matter – is the answer to your need.”

So let’s imagine I allowed you, my ballpoint, to take control. Just one time. What profound thoughts would you want to communicate with my readers?

“Depression is a big issue these days. Writing in blue ink day after day has taught me a lifetime of lessons on dealing with the blues.”

Try again.

“What about the transitory nature of life? Philosophers go on and on pondering that topic. Think about the advantages of indelible ink. And I have no eraser.”

Anything else to offer?

“Consider the power of the written word. Take all that power, concentrate it in a single ink cartridge, and imagine its impact on world peace.”

Give up, I sigh. My fingers grasp my pen anew and push it across my writing pad. Wait! Is that a faint snort of exasperation I hear? A large glob of ink smears across the page.

”You are a letter from Christ . . . written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God”  (2 Corinthians 3:3, NIV).

(The author of this article is busy searching for a new pen, but feel free to visit her at emilychase.com.)

Wrapping up the Holiday

May 6, 2019 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Emily Parke Chase –

Shopping for Christmas gifts can be an exhausting task that involves dashing through the malls in a one-horse open sleigh, selecting gifts for that hard-to-please elf, and fighting the traffic on rooftops. Thus when it comes to wrapping gifts to put under the tree, some of us, and perhaps even Santa, run out of gas.

Wrapping packages probably dates back to prehistoric times when cavemen used wooly mammoth skins as gift wrap. As soon as less odorific alternatives were invented, people turned to papyrus, parchment, and finally paper. For many years, sheets of newspaper, especially the Sunday comics, worked fine. Of course, it took a few more years to invent cellophane tape. As a result, my friend’s gifts tend to resemble Egyptian mummies, using tape in place of gauze.

Next came bows. An enormous shiny bow on top of a package is like melted cheese on top of a church potluck casserole: It can hide a multitude of sins. In not-so-long ago times, believe it or not, people actually tied ribbons on their packages without help from professionals. Now we  pay others to fold, bend, and mutilate ribbons into complex shapes that rival my worst bad-hair day.

Boxes come in assorted sizes and shapes. They hide awkward bumps and lumps. Plain brown boxes worked fine until one day someone discovered they could shape them into unique sizes for specific items and thus let the whole world know that Dad was receiving a tie for Christmas. The next logical step was gift bags. These offered the perfect solution for last minute gifts. You could open the front door and receive a fruit cake from a neighbor, plop it in a bag as you walk through the house, and then open the back door and pass the cake along to the next deliveryman. Like boxes, these bags once came in various shades of brown, beige and ecru (a French word, meaning “brown”). Now they come decorated with holiday hues.

Still there is room for creativity. When my father asked for new cans of tennis balls for Christmas one year, my brothers and I wrapped each ball individually in Christmas wrap and tied them on a small Christmas tree. Dad tried very hard to thank us even as he grieved over the fact that the vacuum seals of the cans were destroyed in this process. (He experienced enormous relief when he discovered that the individually wrapped balls were actually used ones; with the new ones still safely stored in their air-tight cans under the tree.)

Is this painful ritual of wrapping Christmas gifts truly necessary? Is there any theological basis in scripture for this annual rite? Just one: Long before holiday wrapping paper, bows, boxes and gift bags became popular, God Himself took time to wrap up all His love in a bundle of  swaddling clothes. Then He placed His gift in a manger for us to find on Christmas morning.

Thank God for His Son, a gift too wonderful for words! (2 Cor. 9:15 NLT)

The author of this article is busy wrapping her gifts, but feel free to visit her at emilychase.com.

Dying with Laughter

April 19, 2019 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Emily Parke Chase –

Beauty shops would curl up and face permanent ruin if they depended on customers like me for profits. I cut my own hair. I wear no make-up. My fingernails are short and stubby. My most recent experience (fifteen years ago?) with having my hair done professionally resulted in a wild tornado of hair that rivaled anything a half-hour ride in my clothes drier could produce. I arrived home from the beauty parlor fifteen minutes before my children got off the school bus. Afraid that they might mistake me for a raving maniac, I jumped in the shower and had safely returned to my suburban cookie-baking-mom alter ego by the time they walked in the door.

You can thus imagine my surprise when my friend Charise approached me about leading a Bible study for a group of her beautician friends all of whom worked in local salons. Charise sells shampoos, dyes, and other supplies to beauty salons all over our area. She also shares her faith openly and had personally led several of these women to faith in Christ. “Would you be willing to disciple them?”

The first time I walked into the room with these women, I felt I stood out like a cowlick on bald head. Their tresses were styled and gelled. Each cuticle was neatly tucked away and every eyebrow plucked. Each lip was carefully outlined and glossed. The only element out of place was me.

The first lesson was on grace: They accepted me.

At the end of that initial class, I gave the women an assignment to complete at home.

“Homework?” Charise gasped. The women looked at each other in consternation.

My expectation that they would do the assignment shocked them as much as their manicures awed me, but over the next months we began to relax and enjoy our times together. We studied scripture. We laughed as they shared stories from their salons. And we prayed for each other.

One day we were meeting in the home of Debbie. The shrill ring of a phone interrupted our study, and Debbie excused herself to answer the call in the kitchen. A few minutes later she burst into the room. “Praise the Lord!” she shouted to everyone. “I’ve got five corpses!”

The other women exploded with excitement and crowded near to congratulate her.

I sat back in astonishment. What was going on? Were my friends part of some secret Aztec cult that sacrificed beating hearts on an altar? What kind of group rejoices over five corpses?

Charise looked over at me and observed my confusion. Smothering her laughter and recovering her breath, she explained that fixing the hair, nails and make-up of a person who had died brought in extra income. A corpse could be prepped at the stylist’s convenience, after normal business hours, even at midnight. And the best part? These clients never complained about how long the beautician took or if she pulled a hair or two too tight. Five corpses was a windfall for my friend.

Me? I still cut my own hair. I still don’t use lipstick or foundation. So when I die, don’t allow someone to paint me like Madonna. My new friends would die with laughter.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty disappears, but a woman who honors the Lord should be praised” (Proverbs 31:30 GNB).

(See Emily for yourself! Visit the author at www.emilychase.com.)

Milking the Bull

April 17, 2019 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Emily Parke Chase –

“Does that chicken lay eggs?”

Pushing back the brim of my bonnet, I look up at the tourist and then glance at the hen coaxing her young brood across the barnyard before I answer, “You think she just lays chicks?”

“Can you tell me where Herb’s garden is?” another visitor asks.

Pointing to a garden full of parsley, basil and oregano, I sigh and reply, “You’ll find Herb over there.”

A husband and wife point at a team of oxen. “Look! They have a male and a female!”

Do modern biology classes never mention that an ox is a castrated steer? That means no females.

As a seasonal guide at a reconstructed historical village, I have grown accustomed to tourists who ask unusual questions. Many of our guests, growing up in cities, have no idea that milk comes from anything other than a carton or that the cotton in their tee shirts once grew on puffy plants. Only at a place like Williamsburg, Plimoth Plantation, or Old Sturbridge Village will you find a crowd of adults focusing their cameras on a costumed worker unloading a pile of manure from an ox cart. Where are those light meters and flashbulbs when I’m turning over my compost pile in my back yard?

Other visitors to our village are experts in their fields. A few specialize in guns, some in early American pottery. Their questions are welcome and get accurate answers, but I discover that guides on tour from other historical villages take diabolical delight in testing my knowledge. They ask for obscure details about wallpaper designs or flower arranging, not because they care but because they want to see if they can catch me in ignorance. Here comes one of those visiting guides with a question. “Excuse me, miss. That desk over there across the room…can you tell me if it was made in eastern or western Massachusetts?”

I scratch my head and furrow my brow before answering. “It all depends on your perspective. If you are standing on the New York border, then it was made in eastern Massachusetts. But if you are standing on the tip of Cape Cod, it was made in western Massachusetts.”

“Ah, thank you.” The guide nods solemnly and moves on to harass the next staff person.

When tourists are not in sight, we staff members create our own entertainment. My friend “Betsy” is working upstairs in a museum area that few people visit. Bored, she writes a note, “Help! I’m being held prisoner in the lighting exhibit.” She rolls the note into a scroll and pushes it through a knothole in the pine floor. She has most sincere regrets when it falls to the head table in the formal dining room below, in front of one of the members of the board of trustees. From then on, Betsy decides to let tourists—only tourists—provide the fodder for her wit.

The next day a man wearing an MIT sweatshirt approaches. After watching our farmer use the ox to plow a field, he asks, “Does that ox give milk? Does it taste like cow’s milk?”

Hard to tell. You see, I only milk the bull.

“If any among you thinks that he is wise by this world’s standards, he should become a fool in order to be really wise. For what this world considers to be wisdom is nonsense in God’s sight” (1 Corinthians 3:18, 19, Good News Bible).

Want to schedule the author as a speaker? Interested in learning more about her books, including Why Say No When My Hormones Say Go? Visit her at emilychase.com.

Command Performance

March 26, 2019 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Emily Parke Chase –

Having dogs was a big part of my childhood. Tara, our sheepdog, for example, followed our family to church one Sunday, jumped in the sanctuary window and then trotted down the aisle searching for my father who was also the pastor of the church. Read more

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