Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Big "C"

                                                            The Big "C"

Everyone needs one. Everyone. Every neighborhood, community, garden club, woosie pastor, stuffy old church and any group for golf, pool, beer, or breakfast.

I lost mine recently and I miss him. But I'm not ready quite yet to get another. I'm speaking of curmudgeons, those crusty, irascible, cantankerous, older folks full of stubborn opinions. Yes, you need one. I'll explain why.

Curmudgeons, the good ones, anyway, come by their curmudeonriness naturally. Maybe the doctor slaps them too hard at birth or their puppy bit them. Then life takes over and turns them that way. It could be the broken hearts, the ravages of war, the inhumanity of man to man, the problem of pain and suffering, who know for sure but they become curmudgeons.

Curmudgeons, the good ones anyway, suck the pretense out of any room they enter or group they talk to. That's why curmudgeons are good for preachers. You can't blow smoke up their rears and expect praise. They don't deal in stained glass truth. Curmudgeons, the good ones are honest like that. If you have ever known or loved a curmudgeon, you know that beneath that crusty, hard-to-crack exterior lies something else: an even thicker, harder-to-crack layer. This makes it hard to whine in front of a curmudgeon and every team, group, and self-pity filled princess or prince from the boardroom, pulpit, and tv screen needs one of these.

Curmudgeons, the good ones anyway, and by good I mean those honest, gruff, crusty guys who haven't given in to bitterness and meanness. They can grouse, poke fun, set things straight but you will notice a slight twinkle in their eye, especially if it is glass, and a wry smile just after he zings you for your pitiful ways but before his beer touches his lips. To be invited back to the breakfast table, the pool table, the dinner table, or wherever he holds court is an honor. Don't miss it if invited back, its not for politeness, its for your education.

If you want a true friend who is loyal to a fault and honest to aggravation then make friends with a curmudgeon if he will let you. If you want to laugh at how backward and ridiculous life is sometimes and how you can so easily get caught up in the foam of it, then listen to your neighborhood curmudgeon.

Gary Jones was my curmudgeon. I'm not sure I want another one just yet. I'm thinking about becoming one myself but I'm not sure I qualify on several levels (see I just whined for no good reason--disqualification). Maybe in time I will learn to care enough about the right things and not just blow off the silly things but blow them away and I will make the realm of curmudgeonry. In the mean time, if you want to hear a real prayer and see real faith, then watch your curmudgeon. Gary prayed with me the last time I saw him before he died (see, no euphemisms like passed, fell asleep, went on, Cur's hate that- he died). Then he stopped me after I prayed my preachery prayer and he prayed--short, straight, genuine, and clear. I wouldn't say curmudgeons have a way with words but they do have a way with the truth and that is language of the Kingdom of God. God heard it, I felt it, and he knew it. I saw the twinkle and wry smile just before he told me get out, he was tired.

Rest well friend,