Scrapbook: Memory

My scrapbook had been pretty dormant the past two or three years, new content being mainly service sheets for funerals of members of the congregation where I’ve attended as church warden/verger/dogsbody.

One item that I will always appreciate is the regimental condolence card that the SLOB’s (Scarlet Lancers Old Boys) sent me after my Dad, Sunray, died on 16 January this year.  A British Army cavalry regiment is truly a band of brothers.

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The words on the inside of the card come from the regimental song, Old Stable Jacket. Sing mit!

Have a brotherly day, won’t you!

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Not a Coincidence – a God-incidence

We often talk about coincidences when it’s a case of being in the right place at the right time.

Let’s wind back to Saturday just gone.

I was feeling tired and almost decided to head directly back home for a power nap, not go shopping, but order pizza for evening meal. Instead, I forced myself to go to the local supermarket en route, mainly because I had a craving for their banana split ice cream.

I went and did my shopping.

I was then proceeding in an easterly direction out of my local Aldi, when I noticed two elderly men near the entrance, one of whom was spitting onto the ground. It turned out he was spitting blood, having had quite a nasty fall.

It turned out that our man spoke hardly a word of German. His mother tongue was, however, Russian, so I was asked to help out while we waited for the ambulance to arrive. I then acted as interpreter between him and the medics, including taking down his medical history. I had forgotten the Russian word for “diabetes”, so I asked him, “Do you have the illness where you have sugar in your blood?”

I explained to him that the paramedics would now take him to the hospital, where they would do a more substantial assessment and get a dentist to stitch up his lip which he had bitten quite badly as he fell.

Job done.  I was exactly where God wanted me to be.

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Have an incidental day, won’t you!

Topic (sic) of Cancer

Cancer.  The Big C.  A tumour… and it’s malignant.  And probably many other euphemisms.

Mrs Grasshopper was diagnosed  with stage 4 terminal pancreatic cancer on 25 October last year.

Der Tod ist sicher.

Prognosis – how long before you die – twelve (12) months from diagnosis.  As at today, Mrs Grasshopper is still alive (but not alive and well).  Every day is a bonus.  Guesstimate now as to how long she has got is now 6-8 weeks, maybe a a few days later so she gets to see Christmas Day.  But who can tell?

Anyway this article is not about Mrs Grasshopper per se.  Death, sad to say, is certain.  That’s a brutal fact.  But what about Grasshopper, my classmate from the mid-70’s, hard-nosed riot squad policeman?

Ever since diagnosis, Grasshopper and I have kept the communication lines open.  He calls me “Padre Ginge.”  I send him and Mrs Grasshopper a pastoral card.

In the last two months, Mrs Grasshopper has been suffering new symptoms on a weekly basis.  Grasshopper has been dealing in a businesslike manner, being a trained medic, logging her symptoms and monitoring her slow downhill journey.

Mrs Grasshopper is in denial.  She truly believes she will be alive in two years to see her son’s graduation.  It’s unlikely that she’ll still be around in two months.  That’s a brutal fact.

To be honest, cold, callous and clinical, Mrs Grasshopper is not my main concern.  My main concern is to make sure that Grasshopper does not end up having a nervous breakdown while looking after his wife.  Today he admitted to me that he had had a meltdown this morning and had spent almost all day in bed.  That is out of character for Grasshopper, who is normally a very positive, matter-of-fact person.  We had a good long chat via Whatsapp while I was taking the tram into the city centre this afternoon.  He sound weary.  His voice was starting to crack a bit.  First time I’ve heard him like that.  Big boys do cry, or at least allow their voices to wobble a bit.

I mainly listened.  Grasshopper needed to let off steam.  I told him I was here 24/7 if he ever need a good rant.  I don’t want him having a nervous breakdown or “doing something stupid.”

Yesterday Grasshopper found this pastoral card from me landing on his doormat.

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Who cares for the carers?

Have a caring day, won’t you!

Your Friday Joke

The Reverend Doctor Ian Paisley was a real firebrand preacher and politician in the 1970’s.  However he later calmed down and was part of the peace process in Northern Ireland.

He even became a doting grandfather.  One Christmas he even bought his pet dog a wee rubber ball.  Every time it bounced off the ground, it went:

Boyne!  Boyne!  Boyne!

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Have a bouncy day, won’t you!

Pun, Pun, Pun!

I like listening to BBC Radio Tees’ breakfast show.  They run a headline competition every weekday.  I won once.  Now, in a similar vein, here’s an article I saw last week.

Girl pours grandfather’s ashes into cookies which she had baked.

Here are all the puns that the Brits wrote with true dark humour about this case.

  • Instead of biscuits, she could have got some potatoes and made ash browns.
  • Her classmates said the cookies were not soft enough: they were, in fact, bone-dry.
  • I’m not sure the cookies had a full-bodied flavour.
  • She said she only wanted to urn some money by selling these cookies.
  • She took full responsibility for her action. It was hearse, and hearse alone.
  • She’s been told not to do it again. But I suspect she cadaver ‘nother try.
  • Grandma had asked her, “What do you make of Grandad then?” She knew exactly what…
  • That just takes the biscuit.Seems these cookies are going to be marketed by Huntley Embalmer.
  • When the people eating these cookies found out, they were “coffin” all over the place.
  • I hear she made chocolate bour-bone biscuits.
  • She needs to have a wreath-think about her life choices.
  • She could also have made a pyre (pie) or two.
  • Her classmates should have washed the cookies down with a bier or two.
  • But really she should not have taken the cookies “inter” school.
  • She’s in trouble with the law. Someone has called the corpse.
  • Next time she can make chocolate crem cakes.
  • It’s lovely when children bake with their grandparents.
  • What happened next…. Remains to be seen

One lady commented:

I find nothing funny in it. In fact – disgusting.
Girl needs some psychiatric help – and of course some legal action too.

To which a wag replied:

Definitely not funny at all.  I mean, she didn’t even mix any ginger or nutmeg into the cookie mix.  Shameful!

Putting the “fun” into “funeral.”

Have a punny day, won’t you!

 

 

Today’s Puzzle

Just a decade ago, I was a schoolteacher working in some of the rougher comprehensives on Teesside, North-East of England.

In those days I had two catchphrases:

I don’t like spoon-feeding people.

and:

I prefer to treat adults as adults.

So, should I now break these two golden rules?  Actually, I’m referring to the later, rather than the former.  I’ve known Green Leader and VW since I moved to this city in January 2012.

Both are very nice people, devout Christians. VW told me today that she and Green Leader have got engaged.

VW, in particular, is salt of the earth: Sunday school teacher, house group leader, very good on the pastoral side.  In my opinion, she would be an excellent, all-rounder vicar.

Green Leader is also a generally likeable guy.  We often joke about Zimbabwe, Rhodesia, Ian Smith, Uncle Bob, Clem Tholet and Jon Edmonds.  That may mean nothing to you, but… hey, what’s Google for?  Now, here’s the rub, the central problem or difficulty in a situation.  Green Leader is a nice guy.  But he’s also neurotic with a capital N (italicised and bold).  He can never give a straight answer to a straight question.

Q. Green Leader, do you prefer tea or coffee?

A. Let me explain the reality of the situation like this.  I like coffee.  I like tea, too.  But the actualite of the situation is, I like both.  I really thirst for coffee and indeed any hot beverage. 

[Add another five minutes of explanation, including an exhortation that Northern Europe should increase its birthrate.]

So: in a summary.

  1. I like both people.
  2. They are both nice people.
  3. I don’t think they are going to be a well-suited married couple.
  4. While VW, is very stable, Green Leader has mental health issues, namely tension and anxiety, and won’t take medication to combat the symptoms.
  5. Should I express my opinion to VW, who is in her 40’s, very approachable and rational?

After all, as I said before, I like to treat adults as adults.  But should I, on the other hand, be like Sergeant Wilson off Dad’s Army and ask:

Do you really think that’s wise?

I have no intention of policing my friends’ personal lives, but on the other hand, would I be failing in my duty as friend if I did not say, like The Housemartins?

I find my next-door neighbour likeable.  But…. it doesn’t mean I’d want to marry her.  If I don’t talk to VW, would it be a case of sin of omission, by not wanting to interfere?

Have a puzzling day, won’t you!