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WIT & WISDOM - August 5, 1998
In my opinion, a friend is a balancing pole that enables us to walk the tight rope of life without falling. - Author Unknown, Signs of the Times, March 1924 
~~~~~~~ SPECIAL THOUGHTS:
ALL SAINT'S CHAPEL - "PASTOR, THIS IS THE BILL YOU NEVER KNEW"
Every Sunday he was there, right up front, beneath the pulpit. He sat crooked, his hair out of place and his face a bit contorted. His name was Bill. Bill loved Jesus, there was no doubt about that! But his comments to the preacher during the sermon got on a few folks' nerves, including the man in the pulpit!
Bill lived alone in a small house, with extra rooms that he rented out. On occasion, his daughter would come to visit him, but that was about all the visitors he got. He was lonely inside, but would never let on.
Folks stayed away from him, almost avoiding him, even at All Saints Chapel. Bill's raspy voice left people thinking he was an old grouch. His soiled clothing many found offensive, not good enough for wearing at God's house. At church fellowships he'd be there, but would often sit alone, as his manners with a folk and spoon left something to be desired.
Once in awhile the preacher would make a call on Bill, or bring over a plate of spaghetti when there was too much at the parsonage. Maybe this was done to curb the many phone calls the old Bill made to the pastor's house, always commenting on what he learned on one of the late night TV preacher shows. There was love for this imperfect lamb of His redeeming, but it was kept at a distance.
Then one day the phone rang at the church office. It was Mary, one of the organists at All Saints Chapel. "Pastor", she said, "Have you got a few minutes this morning? There's something I want to share with you." "Of course", the pastor said, "Come on over, I'll get the coffee on."
The organist and the pastor sat around the table in the parson's study, liquid enthusiasm steaming from their mugs. In the midst of small talk about the weather, Mary laid out old photos of a young man, tall and handsome, who had a guitar in hand. Picture after picture, there he was, with a broad smile, dressed in a vest with a gold watch chain dangling from the pocket. The photos were dog-eared, old and some were torn. No matter, the image of the man on the print was youthful and strong.
The preacher gazed at the photos with curiosity, Mary was holding back from delivering the precious story from her lips. "Pastor, I want you to listen to this recording", as she adjusted the volume on the device. From the speaker came the sound of solid and rich male voice, singing "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound . . . ". It was stirring!
Mary said, "Pastor, this is the Bill you never knew." "Bill?, Bill who?" the pastor asked. "The Bill in the front pew", Mary replied.
Suddenly the pastor was overcome with emotion. Could this be the same Bill who sat crooked every Sunday? Could this be the Bill that he and so many members had passed off as just an old grouch?
The pastor melted in humility as Mary told him more.
"Bill had a been a famous singer years ago, famous around here," she said. "He'd sing at weddings and funerals, at grave sides and at old folk's homes. His faith matched his voice, it was strong! Some thought he'd make it big until . . . ", she paused, " . . . his fall."
Mary went on to explain that Bill had taken a bad fall years ago on the basement stairs to his house. He had never been the same. They never knew if he was going to pull through, as he had such a bad head injury. He was permanently disabled.
What love Mary had for Bill, that she wanted his pastor to know who he was on the inside!
That day, All Saints Chapel grew another inch closer to loving like Christ loves, unconditionally. [Based on a true story. Only the names have been changed.] 
~~~~~~~ THIS & THAT:
Red Riding Hood is skipping merrily down the road when she sees the Big Bad Wolf crouched down behind a log . . .
'My what big eyes you have, Mr Wolf', says a blissfully ignorant Red Riding Hood, however confounding the expected, upon uttering these words the Big Bad Wolf jumps up and bolts off into the undergrowth.
Red Riding Hood continues to skip down the forest path for a time, and woe and behold, further down the road she catches a glimpse of the wolf again. This time he is crouched behind a tree stump . . .
'My what big ears you have Mr Wolf', says a verging on the delinquent Red Riding Hood, but again the wolf jumps up and runs away without a word.
A couple of miles down the track Red Riding Hood spots the wolf again, this time crouched down behind a road sign. 'My what big teeth you have Mr Wolf', exclaims a cheery young Red Riding Hood.
With that the Big Bad Wolf jumps up and says . . . "Will you bug off!, I'm trying to go to the bathroom" 
~~~~~~~ KEEP SMILING:
A man approached the pearly gates and was stopped by St. Peter. "Excuse me," said the gatekeeper. "But you can't just stroll in Heaven without a reservation. Name?" The hopeful chap gave his name. While St. Peter scanned the pages, the fellow chimed in, "Probably not much need to look, I'm sure I made it."
St. Peter looked up skeptically. "Oh, really?" Setting aside his quill and fixing a knowing gaze on the man, he prepared to burst his 'works' bubble. "Just what have you ever done to merit Heaven?"
"Well," began the fellow, "Once I helped this little old lady that was being mugged. The mugger was about six feet tall, weighed about 300 pounds, had a long scraggly beard, a shaved head covered with tattoos, a pair of brass knuckles and a switchblade. I went up to him and said, "Hey, you...leave this poor old lady alone!"
Looking over the rather slight man, St. Peter sounded dubious. "And when did this happen?" "About 30 seconds ago!" 
The right side of a boat was called the starboard side due to the fact that the astronavigators used to stand out on the plank (which was on the right side) to get an unobstructed view of the stars. The left side was called the port side because that was the side you put in on at the port. This was so that they didn't knock off the starboard! 
 (Dale Galusha http://www.pacificpress.com/signs)
 (MONDAY FODDER by Dave in Hong Kong email@example.com)
 (Ernest Dobkins)
 (Patty Patterson)
 (Fast Eddie's Funnies http://recommend-it.com/l.z.e?s=154533)