Father Norton, on the Golf Course
Father Norton woke up one Sunday morning. It was an exceptionally beautiful and sunny early spring day, and he decided he just had to play golf.
He called up his associate priest and told him that he was feeling sick and asked him to hold Mass for him that day. As soon as he hung up from talking to him, Father Norton headed for a golf course about 40 miles away. He wanted to make sure that he didn’t run into anyone he knew. After all, everyone else would be in church.
At the course, Father Norton asked to play alone, and as he strolled to the first tee, St. Peter leaned over to the Lord while they were looking down from Heaven and exclaimed, “You’re not going to let him get away with this, are you?”
The Lord sighed and responded, “No, I guess not.”
Father Norton teed his ball up and took a mighty swing. The ball came off the face of his driver like a cannon shot, straight and true. His ball landed just short of the green, bounced on it, and then rolled straight into the hole, a 420-yard hole-in-one!
St. Peter was astonished. He looked at the Lord and asked, “How could you let that happen?”
The Lord just smiled and replied, “Who’s he going to tell?”
** Blessed are those who build bridges, for they shalt get over it.
** Blessed are those who recycle motor oil, for they shall be refined.
** Blessed is the TV weatherman, for he shalt talk up a storm.
** Blessed are the undertakers, for they shalt be the last to let you down.
** Blessed are the auctioneers, for they shall look forbidding.
** Blessed are the breadmakers, for they shalt rise to the occasion.
** Blessed are the nuns, for they shall have no bad habits.
** Blessed are those who stop horseback riding, for they shalt be full of woe.
** Blessed are the thrifty deer hunters, for they shalt get more bang for their buck.
** Blessed are the ministers who make mistakes, for it shall only be a clerical error.
** Blessed are the unionized church workers, for they shalt bargain in good faith.
** Blessed are those who are in medical school, for they shall become ill-literate.
** Blessed are the unemployed jesters, for they shalt be nobody’s fool.
** Blessed are the drama students, for they shalt be a class act.
** Blessed are the orchard growers, for their work shall not be fruitless.
** Blessed are they who avoid their in-laws, for they shalt not be relatively annoyed.
** Blessed are the candy-makers, for they shalt make a mint.
** Blessed are they who process lettuce, for they shalt see the tip of the iceberg.
** Blessed are they who own horses, for they shalt have stability.
** Blessed are they that wrap leftovers, for they shalt be foiled again.
** Blessed are those who drink orange juice, for they shalt be able to concentrate.
** Blessed is he who plows in a straight furrow, for he shall be in a rut.
Teacher: Tommy, can you tell us where the Declaration of Independence was signed?
Tommy: Yes, ma’am. At the bottom.
Teacher: Johnny, what are the last words of “The Star-Spangled Banner”?
Johnny: “Play ball”?
What kind of tea did the American colonists thirst for?
What did the colonists wear to the Boston Tea Party?
Which famous person do you get when you make a wreath out of $100 bills?
What is the difference between a duck and George Washington?
One has a bill on his face; the other has his face on a bill!
Joy in the morning
I had a fairly dysfunctional childhood. Dad was a merchant marine and his rare visits home were very stressful for all of us. We hardly knew him, yet he expected us to know his standards of behavior for us and to behave accordingly.
Mom and Dad divorced when I was seven, my sister nine, and my baby brother was six months old. Dad rarely sent money home, so Mother tried various ways to provide for us. In our small “railroad town” there just wasn’t much work, and there wasn’t any public assistance available then. Mother did the best she could, but there came a day when she realized that it wasn’t enough, and she sent my sister and me to live with separate relatives “for a while,” just until she “got on her feet.” We were never together as a family after that.
I lived at one time or another with every relative we had, and with non-relatives too. I found out early on that learning and obeying the “rules of the house” in which I lived made things a lot easier for me. I had a hard time trusting anyone and didn’t make friends very easily. By the time I reached my early teens I felt unloved, abandoned, lonely and unsure of my future.
God had a plan for me though. I lived in a Christian home for a while when I was 12 years old. Church attendance was part of life there, and one day God used the sermon to show me that He loved me unconditionally. Jesus started a relationship with me that day that replaced and exceeded all others missing in my life.
Periodically, Dad floated in and out of my life; once when I was 14 years old, he came through the town where I lived and called me on the telephone. Then, when I was a wife and mother of two toddlers, he just showed up at my door, out of work and needing a place to stay. He stayed about three months, and then one day he just didn’t come home from his job. I had five children the next time he “dropped in.” He stayed several months, long enough for a bonding to take place with my children.
The last time Dad came to visit, I had graduated from a nursing program and was working as a Registered Nurse. He was terminally ill and needed someone to take care of him. He said to me, “I’ve lived my life just exactly as I wanted to, and it cost me everything that was dear to me. I wouldn’t wish my life on my worst enemy! I’m not afraid to die, but this isn’t living!”
My answer to him was “Dad, I can hardly bear to think of going to Heaven and not finding you there!” He told me he had “made peace with the Lord a long time ago.”
But I had no peace after Dad died. I knew of nothing that provided evidence of his relationship with Jesus. Whenever I thought of him, I saw him as he was when he died; helpless, sick, and struggling to breathe. I could not shake the sadness I felt.
Exactly one year after my Dad’s death, I was sitting in my Sunday School class thinking about him. We had just received our new Learner’s Guides for the next quarter. I was casually leafing through the book while praying, “Oh Lord! I am so sad about Dad! I wish I knew if he was with you!”
Suddenly something on one of the pages caught my eye, but it had passed so quickly that I couldn’t quite tell exactly what it was. I started turning the pages slowly, looking for whatever I had seen. Suddenly I was staring at a half-page picture of my Dad!
Eight Mile, AL