Transcribed by Janette West Grimes
March 29, 1951
* CALíS COLUMN *
†† This week we are leaving off for the time being the publication of the old records of the Quarterly Court of Smith County. Instead, we are going to look into things of a somewhat "lighter vein." We suppose that a "little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest of men."
†† Now the reader† is asked in advance not to think that anything said in this column is intended to "throw off" on any person living or dead. We would not do harm to any person knowingly and wilfully.
†† First, we wish to give an account of a preacher being put on the spot by a recent happening in an adjoining county. A middle - aged woman had passed away and her grown daughter approached her father and asked, "Daddy, what preacher do you want to hold mother's funeral ?" The recently - bereaved and we suppose, heart - broken, husband replied, "I do not care whether we have any funeral."
†† "You know, daddy, we could not do that way. How about getting Brother _____ ? He lives here close by and he is a good man," replied† the daughter.
†† "Well, go on and get him to come down here. I will have to see him before the service, for I want to find out in advance what he is going to say over Jane. I am not going to have him telling any lies over her after she has died," answered the bereaved husband and father.
†† Shortly afterward, the daughter brought the preacher to her home. The head of the family took the preacher out of his house, across the road and into his blacksmith shop where the following conversation took place;
†† "Preacher, what are you going to say about my wife in the funeral service? I want to know now as I do not aim for you to tell any lies on her and her lying there in the casket," said the poor, sorrowing and lonely man.
†† "Well, I had not thought about what I would say, my good brother," replied the minister.
†† "It is time you were thinking about it, for I want to know before you say it, just what you are going to say publicly over my wife," was the response of the man whose wife had been dead only a brief time.
†† "Well," replied the preacher, "I will say that she is in the hands of a just God."
†† "No, no, you are not going to say that. I brought you out here purposely to keep you from saying that very thing," answered the broken - hearted ( ? ) husband.
†† The preacher then countered with the question, "Did your wife make any religious claims ?"
†† "No, none at all. Now, preacher, I want to know just where you think my wife has gone," was the plea of the husband. The preacher was on the spot to a considerable extent; but, be it said to his credit, he "produced."
†† "Well, knowing your wife as I did and knowing that she did not make any religious claims whatever, I would say your wife has gone to the Devil," came from the lips of the minister.
†† "There, I thought that was what you would say. That was what I hoped you'd say. And, preacher, that is what I want you to say in the funeral service," spoke the victim of breavement of his partner in life. Coming close to the minister, he said, "Preacher, they won't get along three days. I know Jane!" spoke the man who apprarently was not grieving as one should when he is about to bury the woman he loves.
†† Many have been the incidents in the life of Cal from a standpoint of embarrassment and being "put on the spot" in funeral services. He has held many hundreds of funeral services, about 2,400 in all, in the past 35 years. But we do not recall any experience exactly like that given above. We recently heard of one that we believe we have already given in this "Column," the one about the preacher saying a lot of fine things about the dead husband, almost placing him, in figurative sense on the front seat in the better world, and then having the terrible let down occasioned by the widow's farewell: "Well, he has caused me a lot of trouble, but the old devil will not bother me any more," as she bade farewell to her spouse.
†† On the subject of things that happen to preachers, we recently heard a tale about a preacher who went one Sunday morning into his pulpit, to find a strange dog in possession of "the sacred desk." The preacher hauled one foot far back and gave the dog such a vicious kick that the poor animal went down the aisle yelping and whining in pain. The minister's conscience got worse and worse. By the time the sermon was over, he was almost in tears, as he reviewed his rash and uncalled - for act. Going to one of the brethren, he said, "Brother, whose dog was that I kicked so hard in the beginning of the service ?" The brother replied, "That dog belongs to Brother Smith. He is somewhere about the church," came the reply. The minister then said, "I owe that man an apology for kicking his dog. I am ashamed of losing my temper in any such manner." He sought out the owner of the dog and said, "Brother Smith, I want to apologize for the way I treated your dog this morning. I am ashamed of losing my temper and I apologize to you for mistreating your dog," said the consciencesmitten man of God.
†† But Brother Smith replied in a rather indifferent manner, "You don't owe me an apology. You did not mistreat my dog." The astonished preacher said, "Why, Brother Smith, how can you say that I did not mistreat your dog, when I kicked him so hard that he went out of hearing yelping with pain?"
†† "Why, I would not have had my dog to hear your sermon this morning for $20.00," was the reply the preacher received from Smith. We wonder what kind of a sermon it was that would have damaged a dog to that extent. In fact we never heard of a much worse "let down" for any preacher.
†† And then there was the preacher who held a funeral one time before the death of the man for whom he was supposed to be conducting services. The man was found alive five days later, after Cal had said a lot of good things about the man who lay in the casket. This was a terribly embarrassing situation for the minister.
†† And then there was the preacher who went down to the merchant near his home and said, "I hear that coffee is going to become scarce and very high. I have decided to lay me in a supply while it is available." The merchant asked, "How much coffee do you want ?" The dealer in merchandise was rudely set back as he was told by the provident preacher, "About a dime's worth."
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ( To be continued )