Tag Archives: Humor

A Little Humor Helps

 

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If you read my testimony above, you will see an insurance agent named Bill mentioned. His full name is Bill Sheridan. He is a true man of God, but also a great writer. The following is an excerpt from his memoir, which I recommend to everyone. It’s a great read and only $2.99 on Amazon.

MIRACLE IN PEW 24

I begged my mom to let me stay home.

“I’m sick, Mom. I really, truly am!”

She didn’t believe me for a minute. And with good reason. After all, she pointed out, I had already been sick every school day during this 1955 Brooklyn Dodger-New York Yankee World Series, and had miraculously healed on travel days and weekends.

“You, young man, are going to Mass and then to school. Enough of this fooling around.”

When she said “young man,” I know my goose was cooked. Mom always saved that for when she meant there was nothing left to discuss.

Why couldn’t she cut me some slack? I was eleven years-old and the Dodgers had already broken my heart so many times before. The ’51 Giants game in the Polo Grounds. That stupid Bobby Thomsen. Those creepy Yankees year after year. And having to face George Timlin, my good friend but Yankee fan, every fall and argue that Mickey Mantle was just lucky and my Bums “was robbed” by bad calls.

This was their year and the Dodgers couldn’t blow it again. Didn’t she understand that I couldn’t miss Game Seven? I just knew that Johnny Podres could do it. I just knew it. We would finally win.

And I could swagger into Mt. Carmel Catholic Grade School in Lawler, Iowa, with my head held high.

But no. She wouldn’t believe me. It was this Irish-Catholic thing about not missing Mass. Even for the Dodgers. I can’t even remember why there was Mass on a school day. It might have been a First Friday.

The nuns taught us that if we made Mass on nine consecutive First Fridays we would have a priest by our side when we died. As a kid, I always had this picture in my mind of my mom being really proud as I lay dying at a car wreck, wearing clean underwear, with a Father O’Brien or Monsignor Murphy administering me the last rites.

Or it may have been a Holy Day.

I just knew that Campy might knock a ninth-inning winner out of the park and I didn’t want to miss it.

Mom was right, of course. I wasn’t sick. Not the upchucking kind of sick anyway. Just the kind of sick that comes from knowing that The Duke, PeeWee, ‘Oisk,’ Junior, and the boys were finally gonna win a Series. And I was going to be stuck in Sister Mary Bernard’s sixth-grade classroom all day conjugating verbs and learning about the martyrs.

If only Dad hadn’t died a few years before. He would have understood. He would have let me have the flu one more time. Then I could see Junior Gilliam and Sandy Amoros finally win the Big One. But not Mom. She was a GIRL. She didn’t get it. And neither did my three brothers or two sisters. Not one of them stuck up for me.

They said, “He’s faking it Ma, and he should go to Mass and school just like the rest of us.” They thought it was funny that Mom knew I wasn’t really sick. Sometimes I hated my siblings. This was one of those times.

My fate was sealed. But I didn’t have to like it. And I could still whine and pout. I could skip breakfast, still pretending that I couldn’t hold anything down. If my life was going to be miserable, I could at least try to make their lives miserable, too. So, I did. I went to Mass still pretending that I really was sick.

And it happened. A real-life miracle. I swear on a stack of bibles. A gift from God. Like Paul on the road to Damascus. Like Moses and the burning bush. Like David when he dropped The Big G.

We were all kneeling in Pew 24 of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church. Pew 24 was halfway down the right side of the church from the back near the middle aisle. We paid something called pew rent to sit there.

I remember staring at the candles on the altar and everything getting blurry. And getting dizzy. And a strange sound. Father Delay’s back seemed to be swaying back and forth. I could hear a clunking noise and sensed commotion. Confusion.

Then, for a brief moment, total silence. Suddenly, I felt myself being carried out of church by Tom Cooney and Bob Emery. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had fainted! I had never fainted before and I’ve never fainted since. But on that day, when fainting is probably the only thing in the world that would have kept me home, I fainted!

Mom was in a tizzy. She was upset with herself for not believing me. I could vaguely hear her in my semi-conscious state. “He told me he was sick. He told me, but I didn’t believe him.”

It has now been 65 years and Mt. Carmel Catholic School has long since burned to the ground. Mt. Carmel Catholic Church has been torn down and replaced. And I still have no definitive assurance of why it all happened. Granted, I had not eaten breakfast and it was very warm in church. Perhaps that’s all there was to it.

But I have a better idea. Admittedly, it’s just a theory, but one that I like very much.

Could it be that God was a Brooklyn Dodger fan?

Being omniscient, He knew in advance that after the 1957 season they would be moving to Los Angeles and it would never be the same. And He knew that a little red-haired boy from Iowa could not bear to miss that game on television. So He let me gently collapse somewhere between the seat and the kneeler of Pew 24 in Mt. Carmel Catholic Church. In so doing, He gave me a glimpse of Heaven, a Dodger victory.

Later that afternoon I was in our living room watching our black and white Philco TV, cheering on my beloved Bums. I saw Sandy Amoros glide toward the left-field stands and make the most spectacular catch I’ve ever seen in my whole life, and then double Yankee Gil McDougal off first base to kill a rally! Johnny Podres went on to pitch a 2-0 shutout. Justice had been served on those Yankee Pinstripes; and I cried tears of joy.

My mom died a few years ago at age 87 and I’ve been thinking of her as yet another Major League season begins.

I’ll bet by now God has had time to clue her in about what really happened that morning. That she was right all along. I really wasn’t sick on that October day in 1955.

But He looked down and decided it was more important for me to finally see the Dodgers beat the Yankees than attend Sister Mary Bernard’s classes on what would turn out to be an unforgettable fall afternoon.

And maybe—just maybe—He’s arranged for Mom to meet Roy Campenella and Gil Hodges and Carl Furillo and Sandy Amoros and Walter Alston—and they’ve had a big laugh about it.

Just the thought of it makes me smile.

(Excerpt from Depot Street Memories…The Lawler Stories by Bill Sheridan)

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The Day My Mom Told Off the Police Chief

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My new weekly column entitled, “The Day My Mom Told Off the Police Chief,”can be read by clicking here.

If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can perhaps read it better by using the Chrome browser rather than Safari. Also, you can go to the app store and download a free app called: WND.

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Does God Have A Sense of Humor?

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My new weekly column entitled, “Does God Have a Sense of Humor,” can be read by clicking here.

If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can sometimes read it better by using the Chrome browser rather than Safari. Also, you can go to the app store and download a free app called: WND.

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A One-Word Description of Mom: Feisty!

Mom was in a hurry to get home. Potatoes had to be peeled and the roast removed from the oven. No one in sight so she stepped on the gas as she passed through the Northern Illinois town of 1100 people.

Whrr! Whrr! A siren pierced through the stillness of the autumn evening.

Oh no! she thought. I’m in trouble. Freddy’s caught me! Now what?

She pulled the blue Pontiac over to the curb. A black police car pulled up behind her with its red light flashing. A man, resembling Broderick Crawford, stepped out of the car, adjusting his gun and holster as he walked toward her. She rolled down her window.

“So, Mrs. Nevenhoven, we meet again?” said officer Freddie Cannon. A smirk cutting across his lips.

“Yes, Freddie, we do,” replied Mom in a deadpan tone.

“Well, you were doing forty-five miles per hour  in a thirty mile per hour speed zone. I’ll have to ticket you,” he said.

Mom shrugged. “Okay! But I’m not paying it.”

“What?” he said. “It’ll only be thirty dollars!”

“I don’t care,” she replied with a set jaw. “I’m not paying it.”

He laughed. “Then, it’ll be thirty days in jail. How’d you like that?”

“Well, you’d better lock me up now! Because I’m not paying the fine.”

He stared into her eyes for a moment or so. Then, he shook his head. “No way am I going to put up with you for thirty days. Go!” He spun around and went back to the police car. Mom resumed her journey home.

(An excerpt from my memoir, The Hunt for Larry Who, Amazon eBook, 2014)

This is a true story.

Now, Mom would probably not choose the word feisty as a one-word description of herself. She’d rather have a more feminine adjective, but guess what?

Her husband, her two children, her five grandchildren, her many great-grandchildren and, at least, one police officer would agree with the one-word description.

Mom is feisty. Period.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. You’re the best!

(Rerun from 2009)

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At Age Twenty-One, Santa Blew It Big Time for Me

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Usually my parents gave me clothes for Christmas presents during my years at the University of Illinois, but my mom surprised me in my senior year.

“Son, what do you want for Christmas?” she asked.

Her question caught me off guard so I thought a bit. “Well, I’d like a stereo,” I finally said.

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay, we’ll think about it,” she said, dropping the conversation.

I didn’t think any more about what my parents might buy me for Christmas because they were farmers.  Their incomes depended on corn and soy bean prices and sadly both grains were down in price that year. So, I had no idea what they had in mind.

A few days before Christmas, I arrived home. In the living room, the tree looked great as usual with numerous presents under it. As I sat on the sofa watching TV, mom walked into the room and stood next to me.

“Well, son,” she said, “what do you think you’re getting for Christmas?”

I rotated my forefinger above my other hand, indicating my gift would spin around in circles.

She smiled. “You always amaze me by being able to guess your present ahead of time from us,” she said, heading back into the kitchen.

My enthusiasm for Christmas soared at that moment. I’m actually going to get a stereo, I thought.

We opened presents two days later. As usual, Dad handed gifts to me in the order he wanted me to open them. Socks. Underwear. Ho hum! Striped shirt. Sweater. Double ho hum!

Then, he handed me a small package, maybe two inches by three inches.

The size shocked me, but I’m a lot like that little boy whose father believed he was the most optimistic child in the world. To prove his theory, the father covered the son’s bedroom with horse manure for his birthday and put a red ribbon on the door.

The boy came home from school, tore the ribbon off, opened the door, and screamed with joy. He ran around the room, jumping up and down in the manure.

“Why are you so happy?” asked the father.

“Because I know there’s a pony in here somewhere. I just have to find it,” said the boy.

So, I slowly removed the gift wrap, looking for my stereo and wondering where I would find it. But there in the box was a wristwatch. Although I was disappointed, I put it on.

“You figured out our surprise gift ahead of time, son,” dad said, shaking his head.

Praise God! My parents could not read my mind at that moment.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. See you after January 1st.

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How Can I Laugh With Despair All Around Us?

“Jesus does not have a sense of humor,” proclaimed a young Christian after hearing me joke about something said.

“Really?” I replied, shocked at his words.

“Yes,” he said, “people are going to Hell all around us, starving in Africa, and sitting in prisons in North Korea. How could Jesus possibly have a smile on His face with all those troubles on His heart? Aren’t we supposed to be like Him?”

Sadly, I suffered brain freeze at that precise moment and could think of nothing to counter his arguments. Later on my drive home, I had an interesting experience.

As I drove my truck, I talked to the Lord. The first part of the conversation related to the young man’s statements. The Lord advised me to bless and pray for him, nothing else.

Then, I added, “Lord, You need to hurry up and get me married to *Trudy.”

Instantly, the truck’s cab filled with laughter. I could actually hear Jesus laughing and all of heaven laughing along with Him. The laughing was an all-out, grab your belly, roll on the floor laughter.

I began laughing. Tears rolled down my face and I was forced to pull the truck off the side of the road and sit there until the laughter passed.

Afterward, I wondered why the Lord and heaven laughed so much. Were my words funny? Or was He just happy for me?

One year later, I discovered the answers to my questions. I married Carol and not *Trudy. It seemed the joke was on me.

Now, I understand this is experiential, but does scripture back it up?

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. (Proverbs 15:13 NLT)

For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. (Proverbs 15:15 NLT)

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. (Proverbs 17:22 NLT)

How many of us like to be around people who are serious and long faced all the time? Most likely, none of us.

If that’s the case, then how can we possibly believe Jesus walked around with a long, serious, woe-is-me look on His face all day long? After all, the people were drawn to Him, especially the children. And let me tell you, children shun long-faced, serious-minded people like the plague.

This does not mean Jesus did not weep with those who were weeping, He did. Yet, His personality was not stuck in one gear all the time. He enjoyed life and God’s creation.

Who created laughter and a sense of humor – God or Satan? Here’s a one word answer: Isaac.

In the Hebrew, the name Isaac means laughing one or laughter. Just think, God placed such an emphasis on having a good sense of humor and laughing that He named one of the patriarchs laughter.

Okay, as you can see, I enjoy a good laugh and believe having a sense of humor is important, especially in today’s word.

This does not mean I don’t weep for the prisoners in North Korea. Or the 11 million abandoned children in India. Or abortions in America. Or for other tragic circumstances. I do weep and am burdened for them.

But I don’t live my whole life in mourning and weeping all the time because I also enjoy life and a good laugh.

And I believe Jesus does, too.

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Joe Biden and Sarah Palin: A Rematch Made in Heaven

This is tongue and cheek fictional humor, okay? So, chill out.

Gwen Ifill, the PBS debate moderator, sat at her desk, watching Vice President Joe Biden and former Governor Sarah Palin shake hands and then take their places behind lucite podiums. Both nodded at Ifill when they were ready.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” said Ifill, looking at the TV monitor, “we’d like to thank you for joining us for the Joe Biden and Sarah Palin Rematch 2012. Both Vice President Biden and former Governor Palin have graciously consented to debate each other tonight on current issues with all proceeds going to help our PBS sister stations.”

Ifill paused for a moment, allowing light applause from the audience to interrupt her.

“The format for tonight’s debate is that I will ask a question on a topic of current interest. The Vice President and the Governor will then have five minutes to reply. Each will  be allowed a counter reply if it is necessary. Okay?”

She eyed both Joe and Sarah, who both nodded to her.

“We will begin with Governor Palin,” said Ifill, who looked down at Palin’s feet. “Governor Palin, where did you get those lovely heels? They are absolutely gorgeous.”

“Thanks, Gwen,” said Sarah Palin, “I bought them at Nordstrom’s half-price sale just yesterday.”

“Half price!” exclaimed Ifill, shaking her head. “When’s the sale over?”

“Tonight.”

“Well,” said Ifill, “as soon as this debate is over, I’m heading over there. A woman can never have too many shoes. Thanks.”

Palin nodded and said, “You’re welcome, Gwen.”

Ifill turned toward Vice President Joseph Biden.

“Now, Vice President Biden, let’s look at the economy, okay?” said Gwen.

Biden’s eyes gleamed as he nodded.

“Some heterodox economists insist the money supply is endogenous,” said Gwen. “Now do you agree? In your answer, give specific references to neoclassical economists and mainstream economists with current figures for M0, M1, M2, M3, MZM, and the velocity of money. Also, explain in as few words as possible the term: atomistic individual conception.”

“W-wh-wha-what?” said Biden, his tongue attempting to gain traction on the roof of his mouth.

“You heard me,” said Ifill. Her eyes laser-locked on Biden’s eyes.

Vice President Biden beat his chest with his right hand and then he muttered Red Fox’s classic line: “Elizabeth, honey. This is the big one. I’m coming!”

A cheerful heart is good medicine…(Proverbs 17:22)

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A One-Word Description of Mom: Feisty!

Mom was in a hurry to get home. Potatoes had to be peeled and the roast removed from the oven. No one in sight so she stepped on the gas as she passed through the Northern Illinois town of 1100 people.

Whrr! Whrr! A siren pierced through the stillness of the autumn evening.

Oh no! she thought. I’m in trouble. Freddy’s caught me! Now what?

She pulled the blue Pontiac over to the curb. A black police car pulled up behind her with its red light flashing. A man, resembling Broderick Crawford, stepped out of the car, adjusting his gun and holster as he walked toward her. She rolled down her window.

“So, Mrs. Nevenhoven, we meet again?” said officer Freddie Cannon. A smirk cutting across his lips.

“Yes, Freddie, we do,” replied Mom in a deadpan tone.

“Well, you were doing forty-five miles per hour  in a thirty mile per hour speed zone. I’ll have to ticket you,” he said.

Mom shrugged. “Okay! But I’m not paying it.”

“What?” he said. “It’ll only be thirty dollars!”

“I don’t care,” she replied with a set jaw. “I’m not paying it.”

He laughed. “Then, it’ll be thirty days in jail. How’d you like that?”

“Well, you’d better lock me up now! Because I’m not paying the fine.”

He stared into her eyes for a moment or so. Then, he shook his head. “No way am I going to put up with you for thirty days. Go!” He spun around and went back to the police car. Mom resumed her journey home.

This is a true story.

Now, Mom would probably not choose the word feisty as a one-word description of herself. She’d rather have a more feminine adjective, but guess what?

Her husband, her two children, her five grandchildren, her many great-grandchildren and, at least, one police officer would agree with the one-word description.

Mom is feisty. Period.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. You’re the best!

(Rerun from 2009)

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