Cumberland Times-News

Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything

April 7, 2012

It’s simple: All you do is show up and eat

Here’s an email I received from a friend:

“Someone just made a comment and said to run this by you. I have to do it now since it’s fresh in my mind.” (This person is at least 20 years younger than I am and apparently has no inkling as to the mental adventures that lie ahead of her.)

“Rest In Peace — Why can’t this be done while the person is living? Can one not enjoy resting in peace while living? They are at eternal peace in passing,” the email concluded.

I replied that where human influences exist, no one can rest. It is when only the Divine influence is present that one can truly rest in peace — whether dead or alive.

Then I added this:

Goldy’s Rule 83: A body in motion will remain in motion, and a body at rest will remain at rest, unless acted upon by an outside force. (Sir Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion.) Goldy’s Corollary A: A man at rest will remain at rest until a woman makes him get up to do something. Corollary B: If a man is in a woman's kitchen, he will be in her way regardless of where he stands or sits. Corollary C: A woman who is a wife, a girlfriend, a mother, a daughter or a daughter-in-law — maybe even a grandmother — is not likely to have much chance to rest in the first place.

Corollaries A and B hold true everywhere, even in church kitchens. If a man picks a place where he thinks he’ll be out of the way, it is inevitable that a woman will make him move so she can get something from a shelf, cupboard or drawer directly behind him.

The hospitality committee ladies at Trinity Lutheran Church in Keyser often feed our flock, usually after church one Sunday a month and at other times.

They supply meat, bread and beverages, and members of the congregation bring covered dishes.

The food is always good and, as my dad (who always looked forward to these events) often told me, “Any meal you don’t have to cook and clean up after yourself is a good one.”

Lutherans know how to cook, but so do people in other churches. One of the Methodist churches in Keyser frequently has pancake and sausage dinners, and another has pork and sauerkraut dinners. Catholics are amazing with food, particularly when their parishes contain a high concentration of Italians.

A few weeks ago, I went to a bereavement dinner at a Baptist church. Everyone there would tell you those folks lay down vittles that would (as Justin Wilson used to say) make a puppy pull a freight train to get to them.

During Lent, we had covered-dish dinners followed by a prayer service on Wednesdays. A couple of dozen folks showed up each week and, after everyone ate, we took turns talking about the good things that happened to us that day.

One of my friends told us, “I went to the doctor in Winchester today. He told me I was cancer-free, and he would see me a year from now.” Two others said they had just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

It’s hard to beat things like that.

Now, we’ve started a monthly “Soup’s On,” when we serve soup and sandwiches to whomever wants to attend.

Doesn’t cost you anything, and you don’t have to stay for a service. Just show up and eat. Everyone is welcome, and nothing is expected from you ... save that if you come in hungry, you’re not to leave that way. (See Matthew 25:35.)

Ten non-members of the congregation participated in our first Soup’s On during February, and there were more than 20 in March.

Ruthie, the genius who cuts my hair every few months and restores me to human form, said her church and some others decided to take turns hosting a series of Lenten “Meager Meals” — simple fare.

Her church was first, and what her people served was just that: meager and simple. However, the meal at the next church was a bit more complicated. Each week after that the chow was increasingly more involved, until the most recent meal bore almost no resemblance to the first.

Had to outdo each other, didn’t they? I asked.

“Yes, they did,” she said.

Knew all along that would happen, didn’t you?

“Uh-huh.”

Glad you were first and got it out of the way, aren’t you?

“We are. No pressure on us at all.”

My cancer-free friend and I were making our second rounds at the Lenten buffet table, wondering aloud what to try next and where we were going to put it.

He’s about my age, and I explained to him about Goldy’s Rule 84: One of the injustices associated with growing older is that even though your stomach gets bigger, it can’t hold as much food as it once did.

“Amen, brother,” he said.

——————

I took a recent bus trip with my friends in the Mountainside Detachment of the Marine Corps League to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Va.

At one point, several of us stood staring silently at the Enola Gay, which was hanging in mid-air about 10 feet away. Enola Gay is the Boeing B-29 Superfortress that dropped the first atomic bomb.

One fellow finally whispered, “I’ve got chills.”

I said I felt the same way, and the others made similar comments.

Here was something that, nearly seven decades ago, changed the world forever. Like it or not, Enola Gay and Bock’s Car (which dropped the second A-bomb) ended that war, saving millions of American and Japanese lives that would have been lost during an invasion. Every Army or Marine veteran I’ve asked who survived that war has told me they saved his.

Today, I plan to join an estimated 2 billion other Christians in celebrating a far different event that, more than two millenia ago, also served to change the world forever — but in a way that brought mankind hope, rather than fear and uncertainty.

To those who share my faith: Happy Easter.

To everyone, regardless of your beliefs: May peace be with you.

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