The Dog Days of August are here, and I’m wilted. Here are a few tidbits I’ve gathered over the years. I leave the application to you:

A London priest in a hurry parked his car with a note on the windshield saying: “Have been ‘round the square 10 times. Have an appointment. Forgive us our trespasses.” When he returned, he found a ticket and this note: “Have been around the square 10 years. If I don’t ticket you, I’ll lose my job. Lead us not into temptation.”

A mother of eight in Darlington, Md., had been visiting next door. Upon returning home she entered the living room and saw her five youngest children huddled in the center of the floor and very much involved with something wiggly. To her total dismay she discovered the children were gathered around a family of skunks. In her horror she screamed, “Run, children, run!” Each child grabbed a skunk and ran.

Back in 1849, a Methodist congregation was split by controversy when they voted to adopt a new hymnal that included the music annotations along with the texts. A splinter group formed a new church and one dissenter complained: “Anybody with common sense knows that it will not help the voice when you sing with those things you call keys and bars, with black and white tadpoles, some with their tails up, and some with their tails down, decorated with black flags and trying to crawl through the fence. It’s the work of the devil.”

A very wealthy man was known to be critical of the church, always grousing about its problems, failures and inadequacies. In time the man became ill, and on his deathbed asked to see the pastor. Pale and worried he asked, “Do you think if I gave all my money to the church that God would take me in? If I donated everything, would that be enough to make it?” The pastor leaned forward and said, “I’m not sure, but it’s worth a try.”

The arrival of the new pastor coincided with the church’s appeal for aid for victims of a hurricane. Unfortunately, on the first Sunday in the parish, the center page of the church bulletin was accidentally omitted. So members of the congregation read from the bottom of Page 2 to the top of the last page: “Welcome to our new pastor and family … the worst disaster to hit this area in this century. The full extent of the tragedy is unknown.”

Hall of Fame college basketball coach John Wooden was a dignified, scholarly man who spoke with precise language of the English teacher he once was. During the Vietnam War era, his young players asked for permission to stage an anti-war protest. One of them remembered, “He asked us if this reflected our convictions, and we told him it did. He told us he had his convictions, too, and if we missed practice it would be the end of our careers at UCLA.”

Stay cool; stay healthy; find some humor and certainty in your life.

Contact Creede Hinshaw at hinnie@cox.net.

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