I started my cold, grey, misty, Saturday morning with Ditch Day. All the neighbors who use our community well to irrigate their land meet to make sure the water flows correctly, there are no holes in the irrigation pipe to repair and every other year we lay new pipe. (insert Beavis and Butthead laugh here - we lay pipe heh heh heh)
Once Ditch Day was over, I headed to George's house as promised to borrow his rototiller. I got the third degree. Totally expected. He's looking at me close - eyeing me the way a duck might eye a june bug. He asks: "Now your name is ....? " along with "You are married to....?" and finally, "Your last name is....?"
He threw in the fact that he works at the sherriff's office 2 days a week and he could have a cop come to visit if the rototiller wasn't returned immediately when I was finished with it for good measure.
He showed me how to run it and I pushed the big mofo rototiller down to our house, rototilled my little heart out and ran it back to George's house.
He told me since I was so honest and kind, and I returned the rototiller as promised (I felt like the moral of a fairytale at this point) that he had a chainsaw, a riding lawn mower, a push mower, cataloging everything in his garage I could borrow since I am now deemed trustworthy. He went on and on about all the stuff I could borrow if I ever had a need to.
(que the suspenseful music)
THEN - he asks me if I believe in Jesus Christ. Says he is a born-again Christian. He asks if I watch football... I say no. He says have I ever heard of John 3-16? Well the Bronco quarter back forEVER was John Elway and people LOVE that guy so I'm thinking he's talking about some hail mary pass John Elway love thing and my brain is still on football....
He begins getting sorta agitated - "have you ever HEARD of John 3-16?!"
I say no.
Turns out he meant the GOSPEL of John as in John 3:16. He begins reciting the passage for me. But get this - he is on his hands and knees picking me little scraps of asparagus from his garden that he's gonna rototill up once I'm gone.
Here I am, squatted down with this 80 yr old guy who was on his hands and knees picking little asparagus plants which are puny and few and far between which is why I guess he's gonna rototill them over? And he's quotin' me some scripture up one side and down the other and interspersed with the scripture is, "it's not the church, it's not the people, it's the MESSAGE" which sends him into another scripture verse outlining the message.
Then he says Jesus will only woo me for so long before he gives up and while everyone who is a born-again is up in heaven, those non-believers will be stuck on Earth in some sort of hellish sci-fi movie you wouldn't ever wanna be in.
He asks if I believe in Jesus. I tell him I was raised Catholic. He says so was he, but he couldn't find salvation through the Catholic church. And I'm thinking silently to myself, "I thought it wasn't about the church or the people?? I thought it was about the message, George. The MESSAGE! "
I left with my hand full of asparagus, an open invitation to church and all my rototilling needs fulfilled.