James Thurber rightfully said “Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility.”
Blizzards on the high plains are no laughing matter – until they’re done with. Maybe.
This week’s winter storm snowed people in,
sent ranchers scrambling to find calves possibly born in the storm,
and caused ministers to reluctantly cancel Sunday services.
A Wisconsin weather man called it an inland winter hurricane.
Low church attendance today reminded me of one of my favorite stories.
I believe I heard it told by both my dad and Grandpa Ransom, both of whom pastored rural churches. Now that the storm is on it’s way out, I believe it’s safe to tell.
It had been quite the blizzard. Country roads were still pretty much drifted shut, but since the preacher and his family lived in the parsonage just across the yard from the church, they got up Sunday morning, had breakfast and got dressed, then trudged through the blowing snow over to the church where they waited so see if any of their country neighbors or nearby farmers would be able to make it.
One did. Frank, a bachelor farmer from a mile or so to the East.
They of course talked about the weather, it was THE news this weekend, stared out at the drifts and blowing snow, thankful that the worst of it was over.
Eleven o’clock arrived. Then five after. Ten after. Nobody.
It was looking like it’d be just the preacher’s family of four, plus Frank.
Pastor scratched his chin at quarter past. “Whad’ya think, Frank, shall we have church, or call it off today?”
“Well, Preacher, I’ll tell ya. If I went out to feed the cattle one morning, and only one showed up, I believe I’d feed her.”
“You’re right,” said the minister. “Let’s begin.”
So they sang three hymns, read Scripture, and took up the offering. They skipped the special number, since that family was snowed in, but he preached, gave the invitation and closed in prayer.
Shaking hands at the back of the church after service as he always did, there wasn’t much of a line this week. “Thanks for coming out, Frank, hope you enjoyed it.”
“Yep,” said Frank, “I’d feed her, alright. But I don’t think I’d unload the whole wagon right there in front of her!”