And Life Goes On
THE IDLE AMERICAN
Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury
Once upon a time, folks caused others to smile by telling–and re-telling–stories to each other. Some have been funnier than others, and some people have told said stories better than others.
That established, it is fully admitted that storytelling rarely occurs anymore. It is generally banished from our workaday world, generally assigned to memory storehouses, rarely to be disturbed.
I’m disturbing one this day because it is such a grand “fit” for recent real time experiences. Granted, the account may be only slightly north of fable status, and probably never was viewed as factual. I’m guessing it was, at best, light years short of being factual, but its message applies to most of us at times.
Late newsman Paul Harvey thrilled a nation with his news broadcasts heard nationally for several decades. A popular feature was called “The Rest of the Story.”
Let us hasten to sharing the “story” well known to jokesters.
We fully acknowledge it to be nothing more than a “grin-getter,” yet a morsel of truth has been extracted across the years.
An unnamed fellow, advanced in years, suffered greatly from ill-fitting dentures. Repeated trips to the dentist didn’t help. Finally, his doctor advised him to get away from it all, perhaps go fishing, thus getting his mind off his constant pain.
The patient hastened to the lake and tossed his fishing line into the water, his boat idle on the windless day. Suddenly, a speed boat appeared, and the boat operator flung a fishing lure from his rod-and-reel, with said lure hooking the dental patient in the ear. It not only yanked him smartly, it drug him and his fishing boat at a faster speed than it had ever reached before. When the lake speedster realized what had happened, he turned his boat around, eager to see the patient face-to-face so he could extend a sincere apology.
As he was extracting the lure from the old-timer’s ear, the “victim” consoled him. “You have nothing to apologize for,” he assured the speedster. “Thanks to your hook nabbing my ear, I was able to finally get my mind off of my false teeth for the first time in a month.”
Now, fast forward to the present. I think you’ll quickly understand how readily the story rose to the top of my memory pool. As you might expect, I was the victim. Early in the week, my left eyelid became sore. My wife and daughters assured me that I had a stye. They offered numerous home remedy suggestions, but I was determined to ride it out.
I decided not to mention my predicament to the 40 senior adults from our church. Off we went in church buses to Lake Brownwood, where our group would hear songs from the lips of Ray Hildebrand, whose hit song “Hey, Paula” was number one on the popular music charts almost 60 years ago, and preaching by Dr. Richard Jackson, who served as Senior Pastor at North Phoenix Baptist Church for a quarter-century before retiring from the pastorate several years ago. They both are remarkable in what they do, and their average age is almost 83.
We walked around the lake and took boat rides. I prayed that all of the participants would be spared injury on our 36-hour jaunt that covered 300 miles.
Sadly, I forgot to pray for myself. Near trip’s end, I missed a step, planting my face on a concrete sidewalk. A front tooth was chipped and my lip scraped, but I was spared embarrassment of having been seen by others. I had no broken bones or bruises. I didn’t lose consciousness, and so far as I know, didn’t disturb my heart’s pacemaker.
The accident, as per the story, got my mind off my stye.
And Dr. Marshall Brown, my wonderful dentist and friend, will make my tooth all good again. I remain blessed.
Dr Newbury, a longtime university president, continues to write weekly and speak throughout Texas. Phone: 817-447-3872. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook: Don Newbury. Twitter: @donnewbury