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 Vol. 3, No. 1                                        Page 8                                                January, 2001

Preacher Funnieshumorous picture

Adventures of
Charles J. Abei

Laugh-In:

 In 1962, after I had been preaching only a few months at Sistersville WV, the brethren asked me to preach a Gospel meeting there. It was a good meeting, resulting in several baptisms and restorations -- but not on the particular night on which the following incident occurred. As the people gathered, one man named Brookover sat down near the front and promptly went to sleep. [He was on medication which inclined him to be very drowsy]. As the singing began, he awoke and sang with us, but when the preaching began he promptly went back to sleep. As I preached, he gradually scooted down in the pew, and eventually he began to snore. A few snickers went over the audience. His snoring got louder and louder, until loud laughter began first in one area, then another. It got so funny I couldn't preach any more, so I stopped and said, "Will one of you awaken our brother?" Someone later suggested that they should have said, "You waken him; you put him to sleep!" But they were merciful and spared me that. Instead, Bill Cokeley slid across the pew and elbowed Brookover in the ribs, whereupon everyone roared with laughter. Brookover jumped awake, thought I must have told a joke, and himself started laughing. At that, the laughing only became louder. After a while it died down and I started to preach again, but it was no use. I couldn't say more than a half dozen words until the laughter started again, so I called for the invitation song, but we couldn't even sing it for laughing. No baptisms; no restorations; just laughing!

All Spaced Out: In 1975 our family took a trip to the west coast, visiting Carlsbad Caverns, the Grand Canyon, Disneyland, Sequoia, Bryce Canyon, Salt Lake City, Yellowstone and similar places. On our return trip, another family traveled with us -- two station wagons full of children, ten of us in all. We had all our stops planned so that we would be in Davenport, Iowa to worship on Sunday, but it soon became evident that we couldn't keep to our schedule. So, we decided as we were in Utah to get some grape juice and unleavened bread in case we couldn't find a church and had to have our own worship service. Christians are scarce in parts of the west. We had no trouble finding grape juice, but try getting Matzos in Utah! At Jackson's Hole, Wyoming, we found a motel, ate and my wife, Imogene, suggested that we find a bakery and get a pie shell to use for unleavened bread. The only bakery we could find was a little shop run by a hippie and his wife, who baked everything on an old wood stove. They said they had no pie shells, so Imogene asked if they had any pies; she thought we could eat the pie and use enough of the crust for the Lord's Supper. The hippie, bald except for a fringe of hair so long it hung to his waist, said they had no pies. His wife said they had one, but they intended to eat it themselves. The hippie had an idea: "We have some tart shells; maybe you could use them to bake yourself some tarts," he said. Imogene asked, "How did you make them?" Wide-eyed, he explained, and she replied, "That will be all right." He went into another room and came back with a tray full of little tart shells, which he held out toward us. "Yes, we'll take one," Imogene said. "One!" he exclaimed, looking at all of us -- six inside and four standing outside his little shop looking in, "Which one?" He was beginning to look alarmed. "It doesn't matter," I said, and he immediately explained, "Now these will break; you can't keep them for souvenirs." "It doesn't matter if they break," I said, considering whether it would confuse him even more if we tried to explain just what we wanted the tart shell for. He frowned and said, "You all need to go outside and mellow out for about six minutes; you're all spaced out!" We told him we were OK and asked him how much it would be for the tart shell. He asked his wife, and she said, "I don't know; I never sold a tart shell before!" He conjured up a figure and we paid him, bought a dozen cookies to try to make him feel better, and went outside. Mark, one of the teenage children of the other couple with us had been standing outside; he came in and asked the price of some cookies. The hippie pointed his thumb at us and asked Mark, "Are you with them?" Mark said, "Yes," and the hippie said, "Man, that's too bad, man." We saw the humor of the situation even more after we got back to the motel and talked about it. And, yes, we did have to use the tart shell as we held our own worship service, for there was no church in Cody, Wyoming, the town to which we made it on Sunday. There had been a congregation there, but it had disbanded and disappeared by the time we were there.

[Editor's Note: Preachers are invited to submit amusing incidents that have occurred over the years during their ministries for possible inclusion in the pages of Gospel Gazette Online. Someday, these stories may also be converted to book format.]

Copyright 2001 Louis Rushmore. All Rights Reserved.
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