Somebody Yars Me
Church turned out different today. A younger man, a visiting chaplain, got up to preach a fairly simple sermon about good and bad tenants, taken from a parable found in the gospel of Mark.
But prior to this, and during the singing portion of our service, one of the songs being sung got graced with an untimely and loud clang or two. It didn't seem to affect the crowd much at all when some object decided to fall from the pulpit and bounce and skitter across the tile floor, although it caught my son David's attention.
The eleven-year-old immediately raised up from his prone position to crane his head over the chairs in front of us. There he saw a foot-long U-shaped metal device laying on the floor, which excited me to place an index finger up to my lips as a cautionary instruction. He glumly complied at my signal, but he didn't forget.
An unfamiliar man in the row ahead of us noticed it too. As the rest of the room sang their hearts out, I recognized by several of his quick glances that the out-of-place thing laying in the aisle had him worried.
“Praise to the Lord who with marvelous…”
(Fleeting look to the left)
“Wisdom hath made thee…”
(Another hasty glance)
“Decked thee with health, and with…”
(Furtive turn of the head)
“Loving hand guided and stayed thee.”
I think that last line broke the poor fellow’s will to do nothing, so he took a few hasty steps to retrieve the object. Placing the naughty thing back, we then all settled down to some serious and uninterrupted praising. Little David laid low for the duration, and to his father, further unmoved.
Then after all the robust singing ended, followed by an offering and a thankful prayer from an Elder, the younger gentleman in front of me stood up. He next strode to the podium where he turned and faced us with a cheery “Good morning.” We all responded to that well, being the civilized folk.
He then laid a few prepared notes on the metal stand, cleared his throat and began.
I knew that odd gadget lay hidden from view behind his pulpit. I also knew some lesson to do with this item was about to come along shortly, but I tried ignoring that curiosity by focusing more on his words.
The man started to preach first about landlords and bad tenants. After talking for some time about how men are prone to steal from each other, he paused and held the device up at last.
He then began describing to us what he termed “man’s ultimate cure for bicycle thievery”.
Well, that was a switch in the conversation. And of course everyone paid close attention. Even David sat up. Here was this thing, this strange gadget, this uncommon item named Kryptonite Bike Lock; useless as a musical instrument, we all now knew, but most-powerful as a security device.
Then he smiled as he withdrew a Bic ballpoint pen from his coat pocket. This cheap plastic devise can defeat the expensive one, he related, which illustrated how God uses the weak things of the world to defeat the strong.
And he went on to tell of an available video clip on the internet that handsomely demonstrates the fallibility of man in this regard, without supplying us with a link, naturally.
But who knew?
Now my main job, after the sermon is done, is to hustle David out to the van. This is to prevent him from doing sanctuary damage or upsetting any of the peaceful natives. I stood up sharply after the benison, but he managed to slip by me and head toward the lonely lock. I am fortunate he owns no pen, so we both left with no harm done.
While he and I waited in the van, the radio kept the two of us entertained. On it, Garrison Keillor told a tale of starting his dad’s car on a cold Minnesota morning by rolling it down a hill, and then taking a journey down the frozen Mississippi River before returning home.
As the piece ended, the rest of the family joined us, so we drove to a restaurant for lunch. On the way I tried to relate the story as best I could by making up a few of the Scandinavian words Keillor threw in.
I couldn’t remember the right word for “Stop!” that Garrison used, so that one came out creatively as “Yars!”
Well, that put everyone in a much better mood. David began singing “Yars that! Yars that! Yars that tickling me!” All the way to the diner.
Now as luck will have it, our nice waitress, a tall and slim blonde woman, came right over to our booth and asked,
“Vould you like to arder now, or vould you like to vait?”
Sensing an opportune moment to maybe learn the correct word for “stop”, I didn’t hesitate to inquire,
“Are you Scandinavian?”
Well, it seemed like a good question to me.
“What?” She stopped and stared at me.
Now I am a little hard of hearing, so thinking she might suffer as well, I repeated the question louder.
Her whole body froze as she thought a second.
I could tell my phraseology wasn’t working, so in desperation I zoomed over to another country.
“Are you from Sweden, perhaps?”
By now her eyes appeared to be darting back and forth.
“Sweeten? Vot is dis sweeten?”
I am sitting in the corner with no other place left to go, so the wife interrupts sweetly.
“What country are you from?”
“Oh. I am from Hungary.”
Funny how women can communicate so damn easily.
My brain began to scream then,
“Yars! Let’s order food, now.”
Later I left a suitable tip.
Then we came home.
And now I sit here trying to come up with a good story. Maybe I’ll get lucky later on, but I am going to yars for the time being.