From Our Church Mag – June


Rapture schmapture….

….as I expect rabbis the length and breadth of the planet were telling their flocks in Schule yesterday.

4pm was approaching and I was debating whether to cut the grass or not. After all, any time soon I was expecting an angel to scoop me up in a net and whisk me off to Paradise. This morning at St. John’s I was looking around at all the others that didn’t get chosen to be among the 4 million specially selected faithful (144,000 if you believe the Jehova’s Witnesses estimates) that would bypass Armageddon and wondering if we will be the handpicked remainder that must fight the legions from the dark side. That or take part in an infernal version of The Price Is Right. “Ben Jericho! Come on down, you are our next contestant on…etc.” I’ll tell you what, a pitchfork and horns don’t suit Leslie Crowther.

Whatever the reason for me not getting taken in the Rapture is, I’ll be taking a back seat in what happens next. At my age now, my knees aren’t what they were and I’ll have a hard time fighting off demons when the balloon goes up, sword of righteousness or no sword of righteousness.

***

Something that has been puzzling me for years now is that my cross and chain have a life of their own, or more accurately the chain. No matter how often I make sure the clasp is positioned at the back of my neck, the chain describes a clockwise circle around my neck until said clasp is under my Adam’s apple. This is seriously baffling, so having only scraped a grade E at A level physics in 1974, I asked our scientist in residence, Ron Gough, if he had any thoughts on what might be causing it. He had a similar unanswered conundrum. No, not why do all his pets fail to live out normal lifespans, but why does a rug he has crawl across his carpet for no apparent reason. Like my chain, he has to continually move his rug back to its proper place, only for it to go walkabout the moment his back’s turned.

Anyway, he had a think and suggested it could be the coreolis effect. You know, those pretty coloured lights in the Alaskan night sky that makes water spiral down the plughole clockwise. Brilliant. I knew I could rely on Ron. I have promised to let him know if the Aurora Australis makes my chain rotate anticlockwise (that’s counterclockwise for any American readers and the Americanism fixated members of Sally’s and Perry’s small group) if I ever get to visit the antipodes.

Colin, that’s one clever reader you have on your team. Just don’t ask him to look afer Sox next time you go on yer hols.

***

Small groups. They’re fun, aren’t they? I get so much material from the one I belong to (Sally’s and Perry’s) for my column. It keeps them on their toes not knowing when I may resurrect some snippet to come back and bite them in the gluteus maximus. Anyone familiar with comedy TV quiz Shooting Stars, hosted by funnymen Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer will know what I mean when I mention the Dove From Above round. A cardboard dove, beckoned from somewhere in the studio roof by the cooing contestants, is lowered on a rope. Attached to the dove are question categories in slots much like the hymn number board up at St. Mary’s. To name no names and protect the innocent, when we were bible bashing John the Baptist in the Jordan and got to the bit where Heaven ripped a hole in the fabric of spacetime, one of our number remarked that “that’s just like the dove from above.” We had a bit of a chuckle at that and I promised anonymity to the lady who said it if I ever used the anecdote in future. True to my word, I will not reveal who she is. If you would ever like a fuller explanation of what transpired that evening, I think Zoe has the details.

***

When Mrs. Jericho and I first went to St. Mary’s with our about to be baptised baby daughter on a 5th Sunday matins, mistakenly thinking we had turned up for the family service, we were among the youngest worshippers in the parish. Nearly 26 years later I’m starting to feel my age. It hit home when SallyAnn (probably better known to most of you as Perry’s wife) complained that she now realised that the church had a new generation of Young Wives. Given her age, if I dare reveal that most intimate of ladies’ secrets, has yet to start with a 5 as does mine, I felt very old at that moment. I bet she has never gone to put the kettle back in the fridge instead of the milk like I did after making a cuppa.

The other sign of imminent dotage is that my knees aren’t what they were.

I went round Ken’s house a couple of Fridays ago. I walked as it is less than 30 minutes away from me by foot, but that bit by the Triangle shops is so steep, it gives my knees gyp now. I decided to go through the woods instead and approach his place the back way. I also thought it wasn’t as steep that way.

Ha! The other sign of age is the lousy short term memory. I can remember when at the age of 2 I fell over and smashed a front tooth in half, but I can’t tell you what I had for dinner last Tuesday.

So, the woods. Real put the wind up Ranulph Fiennes here be monsters country that is and it has become a touch overgrown since I last went that way. After taking a wrong turning and having to backtrack from Lincewood school’s field that was so inconsiderately fenced off, I headed uphill encore un fois and took the proper left turn at the bluebells. When I got to the top of the tree left of the bluebells, I should have turned right for the alley I intended to use. I didn’t. I went straight on, skirting the school along its southern boundary and ended up at the really steep bit at the Triangle.

Grrr! Not long until I’m fit for me bath chair I’m thinking.

***

I do not beleeeeeeeeeve it! I’ve just looked in the mirror in a rare narcissistic moment and that chain clasp is under my Adam’s apple again. Blow that Borealis Johnson effect, I’m voting for newt botherer Livingstone next time.

***

I’m Ben Jericho. Father Time may have diminished what meagre physical capabilities I once possessed, but I still have my sense of humour and most of my brain is intact. Did I say my knees aren’t what they were?

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