I had an unfortunate collision on my motorcycle... with a bug. You might think something like, “Aww, how sad for the bug,” but in fact, I was the one that ended up visiting a local hospital. Although the bug incident was jarring, the large sign at the entrance of the clinic - “Check Your Weapons at the Door” - was more alarming. Who knew that in seeing a doctor, one needed to come packing heat?
The bug injury healed, but I’ve never forgotten that sign, and over time, I have decided that the message “check your weapons at the door” is great advice for life.
There are a lot of weapons floating around these days. On the international scene, there are nukes, drone strikes and WMDs (weapons of mass destruction). In the United States, there’s the scourge of automatic weapons. But there’s also an equally scary and perhaps even more dangerous weapon at large in the world: the human tongue.
HANNIBAL — The Hannibal Salvation Army will host its fifth annual Open Air Service at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22 in Hannibal's Central Park at Fourth and Broadway.
We live in a time-crunched world where life is lived on the run. Millions pull out of their driveways in the pre-dawn dark, grab a last-minute breakfast burrito, and merge onto freeways while listening to the morning news and traffic reports between cell phone calls. It is a frenzied start to a frenzied day.
Weary from long hours at work, the same drivers re-enter the stream of traffic making their way home past memorized billboards. Weekends are filled with errands, second jobs, T-ball, soccer, football. Church is squeezed into an already full schedule that has no margins.
“How y’all doin?”
On a trip to Tennessee and North Carolina, my wife and I heard that line again and again. It reminded me of being in Boston, only there it was “How-ah-ya?” or “How-ya-doin?”
I love languages and dialects and so, while we were in Boston, I told my wife I just had to try “How-ah-ya?” on somebody. It took me awhile to work up the nerve - I was afraid of ruffling some New England feathers - but finally tried it out on a clerk in a store. “How-ah-ya?” I asked. My son, who was living in Boston, said I got it wrong. It sounded like I was from the Bronx.
In North Carolina I never did get up the nerve to try “How y’all doin?” I wasn’t sure what the penalty is for impersonating a Southerner and I didn’t want to find out. I certainly didn’t want people thinking I was making fun of them.
When all the shouting’s done, humble goodness shines forever. Temporary power and posturing are empty calories that disappear. But quiet strength continues to nourish decades later. I remember Mercedes, an old woman whose last name I never knew. As a child I found her very scary at first.
My parents came from the Philippines. They left behind the familiar and everyone beloved on a wing and prayer for a better life. They lived with hardship getting started in the U.S.
I was born here, and at 6-years-old, I went to daily mass with my mother where I’d sit and watch Mercedes.
Q: Dear Pastor,
How do you feel about Trunk-or-Treat events?
A: I’m assuming you’re asking me because you’re not a huge fan of Halloween? Yes, we are just a few weeks away now from the October events which surround the Devil’s high-holiday. I’ve written numerous exposés on Halloween and how I feel about it - but that is a lengthy discussion for another time.