I’m borrowing an idea from my friend Marilyn who writes an excellent blog that you can visit AFTER finishing mine (#1…its the polite thing to do…reading mine first since you’re already here AND #2…there will be a test later covering the material that I’m writing about, so yeah….I want you to score well on that). Anyway…Marilyn will occasionally write a “fast five” blog that’s a quick, interesting and entertaining read. I’ll do my own version of a “fast five” right…..NOW!!

#1…Six or seven years ago I was working late at the drug store that I help manage. The store was closed, it was just me counting the days cash all by my lonesome. Nothing out of the ordinary, I’ve done it hundreds of times over twenty-four years of service. The store location was new…it had just been built a year or two earlier, though it was located in an old neighborhood. The only other thing that kind of stood out was that there is a large old cemetery across the street from us. So anyway I’m sitting there counting the days cash, its around ten-thirty at night and very quiet when over my right shoulder I clearly heard a voice say “help me“. I stopped counting the money. I turned around in my chair and looked around to find….no one. So I did what I felt was in my best interest, I gathered the money, put it into the safe and got my ass out of there in a hurry. The next morning I showed up to work an hour early, after getting about five hours of sleep. The store manager and accountant looked at me and asked why I was to work early when I explained that I needed to finish counting the cash from the night before. When they asked why I left early the night before I told them the truth, I told them my “help me” story and they never asked me again about it. So when people tell me that they believe in ghosts, demons, spiritual entities, angels and such….I tend to believe that there’s something “there” that we don’t understand, fully recognize or are supposed to understand. I haven’t heard anything since…but occasionally when I’m alone…out of nowhere…I’ll get the chills and goosebumps when I’m in a warm environment. “Help me?” Is that you?

#2…I’m not mechanically inclined. There’s a reason why my eighth grade industrial arts teacher retired after I went through his class. There’s a reason I received a C- in my junior year woodworking class (almost lost a thumb to a table saw). That particular teacher, a mister Galen Smith, went into the ministry shortly after I graduated from his course (these are all true stories).

#3…Our furnace stopped working last night. Let me back up a little. It’s Friday December 27th. Its wintertime in Iowa. Its 25 degrees outside. Its 7:30 at night AND OUR FURNACE JUST QUIT WORKING (and our relatives are coming for Christmas the next morning). So I called up our furnace guy, Troy, and over the phone he walks me through a series of questions like “how many red lights are flashing? Pull off the hose leading to the _____ and tell me what you see.” After about fifteen minutes of him telling me that there should be something to look at and me fumbling around not finding what he’s instructing me to find he tells me to take a photo with my cell phone of the guts of our furnace and to send it to him. SCORE!! Our furnace is one of the few furnaces retrofitted with the gadgets NOT IN PLAIN SIGHT AND THEREFORE I’M NOT THE IDIOT THAT I’M FEELING LIKE I AM. Troy tells me that he’ll be over first thing the next morning to fix our furnace and I feel so good about myself that I pour a rum and Coke…bracing myself for a chilly night on the prairie without a furnace (the actual temperature inside the house only dropped five degrees overnight so I didn’t have to resort to burning our kitchen table for heat). Where’s a mechanically inclined ghost when you need one looking over your shoulder telling you “Hey…pal….what you’re looking for is right here.” “Help me?” No…you help me get warm first…Casper!!

#4…I rejoice that “retail-wise” Christmas is over. People are so short tempered these days…practically intolerant of waiting their turn or understanding that they can’t always get their way. We closed the store at 5PM Christmas Eve and as I stood at the entryway turning customers away at 5 and later (and there were plenty of them) my thought process was “how many of these folks shooting me the stink-eye are going to call our corporate office and complain about me turning them away?” It seems that we cannot win from either perspective, as its the only time during the year when as retailers we stand and say “No…we’re done. We’re going home to our families. Tonight and tomorrow is about us, being like you.” As I drove home I turned on some rock music, got home…opened an ice cold beer and took a shower to wash the retail/commercial Christmas stank off of me and started to relax. I celebrate Christmas the way I think my Lord would want me to celebrate His birth on this Earth…and that’s between Him and I.

#5…For all of the Facebook haters out there….I really like it. It helps me see what my extended family is up to, as well as old (longtime friends). Who knew former childhood buddy and classmate Brett Moeller really enjoyed attending Blue Man Group if not for Facebook? Who would have told me of my cousins sledding adventures with her two preteens and husband last night if not for her posting a photo on Facebook? Who would have told me that a guy that I know from church is at Level Five of something called Candy Crush? (I could do without those posts…honestly). And…honestly…I post some stuff on Facebook that I typically don’t post on WordPress since WordPress seems more serious (though you’d never know it by my blogging). I see wonderful photos of my family and friends enjoying their lives…and I “like” that.

#6…BONUS THING…visit http://www.emjayandthem.com sometime. Great person. Fun reading.

Have a great weekend and peace!
R

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