Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Twelve Men on the Field

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. James 3:1 NIV

Glen had just settled down in his chair by the coffee urn when the front door bell jangled. He had put his grilled cheese sandwich on the table but didn’t have time to unwrap it yet when he heard a man ask Joy, “Do you know Glen Brock?”

“Right over there.” said Joy, gesturing to the weary figure of Glen. Glen gave up all hope of eating his sandwich while it was still hot as he rose to his feet to greet the strange visitor. “Howdy” said Glen as he extended his hand. The visitor pretended not to notice. “Listen” he said “my mother was in here two days ago and she told me you got into a big argument with her and made insulting remarks about her.”

“Don’t remember making any insulting remarks to a lady” said Glen. “I’m afraid I don’t know who you mean.”

“Her name might not mean anything to you, but she is sort of short, has brown eyes and wears glasses with jeweled rims...”

“That’s the Crab!” exclaimed Sue and then put her hand over her mouth.

Joy looked pained, but Gary was trying not to laugh at Sue’s outburst.

“Well I can see this is all a big joke to you people, but when someone calls my mother a ‘silly woman' and says 'she never comes to know the truth', I think an apology is in order” he smoldered.

“Never said it, never!” said Glen with great solemnity. “I believe your mother was referring to 2 Tim. 3:7, and that reference was to her teacher, not to your mother.”

“Another thing” the visitor said, “My mother said she asked you a simple question about the twelve tribes of Israel and you couldn’t give her a straight answer.”

“Now that is true!” said Glen. “I didn’t giver any answer, straight or otherwise, because I can’t find one in the Bible. God lists them different ways at different times, but he doesn’t explain why. But there are always twelve from Genesis to Revelation, always twelve.”

“And speaking of twelve!”, he paused as he said “twelve”, glaring at Glen, “my mother also said that when you couldn’t explain why the tribes are different in different places in the Bible, you came up with some cock-a-mamy story about a football coach fielding twelve players! You idiot!, you don’t even know that twelve men on the field is a 10 yard penalty!”

(At this point I would like to interject that I have it on eye-witness authority that one time a guy called Glen an idiot and it took the Jaws of Life to remove the guy from a garbage can).

Glen stepped close to the fuming son of the Crab as if to study him. More closely. “You know, I’ve read the term 'cock-a-mamy,' but you’re the first person I have ever heard actually say it.”

Glen lifted his hands, as if in surrender, “But you are right about one thing, I do owe you an apology”. For the first time, the visitor wore a smile. He sensed that he had gotten an admission of guilt from this rumpled tramp of a man. Glen continued, “I messed up something terrible on that football example. I owe you and that imaginary coach both a big apology!”

“That’s it!” exclaimed the Crab’s son. “Your only apology is about the stupid football thing?”

“You see” said Glen, “In recent years I’ve drifted away from sports, much as I once was an enthusiast. Now days I’m working on the Bible. It takes almost all my time. To be perfectly honest with you I probably don’t know much about the games since I followed the career of the great Slingin’ Sammy Baugh.” This was too much for the Son of Crab. “Now I know you’re an idiot” he yelled. "Why Sammy Baugh couldn’t make second string on the Cincinnati Bengals!”

“Sir” said Glen, “please be careful what you say about the Bengals. Anyway, comparisons are meaningless. Did you know, those old quarterbacks used to kick the field goals? They were iron men, they did it all.”

The visitor was plainly out of patience with Glen. He could see he was not going to get any satisfaction from him. He strode to the door and turned to look at Joy. “You can be sure of one thing, neither my mother or I will ever come into your store again!”

Joy slid off her stool and stood up straight. She raised her right hand, palm outward, fingers together. “Promise?” she said.

After the door slammed, Glen sagged with fatigue. “I’ve really messed things up” he said with dejection. "I never should have used that sports analogy. People should stick to what they know. I wanted so bad to make an illustration about the twelve tribes of Israel, is all, and look how it all got side tracked.”

Everyone felt sorry for Glen, he was so intense and when he failed to make his point he was miserable.

He walked back to the chair by the coffee urn and put his head down on his arm.

Gary tried to cheer him up. “Maybe you were thinking of la crosse” he said, "there can be twelve men on the field in lacrosse.”

Glen raised his head, “I sure as heck wasn’t thinking about lacrosse, but thanks all the same” he said, and laid his back head down.

“Anyway’ said Gary, "twelve men on the field is only a five yard penalty, not ten.”

Soon Glen’s breathing changed as he drifted off to sleep. Sue walked to where he sat with his head on his arm. “He didn’t even have time to eat his sandwich,” she said. She went to the coat rack and took down her little blue coat and draped it around Glen’s shoulders.

“Our poor old warrior” she said “he must really be tired.”

No comments:

Post a Comment