“Hey, parson,” called Ed, the second-career pastor who’d just started at Wholesome Valley Church of the Wildwood Beside the Dried-up Creek.
“Well, morning to you, Ed,” called the pastor. “How are things down in the valley?” Before Ed could answer the parson invited him into the diner for a cup of coffee. Entering the small eatery, the parson called to the server, “Janet, would you bring us some coffee, please?”
“Sure thing, parson, have a seat.”
The parson already had. “So, you were about to tell me how things are the church are going,” the parson said to Ed.
“To tell you the truth, parson,” said Ed, “I didn’t realize being a pastor was going to be like this.”
Janet brought the coffee. The parson sipped his. “What’s it like, Ed?”
Ed paused a moment while he put cream into his coffee. He, too, took a sip before speaking. Finally, he said, “It really boring, parson.”
“Boring? You think this is boring?”
“There’s just not much to do. You know when I was on the road as a manufacturer’s rep every day was interesting. But here, I just don’t have anything to do. I write one sermon a week. I have to prepare the bulletin. Occasionally, there’s a meeting of some kind, but usually there’s just nothing to do.”
The parson listened patiently as Ed spoke of no one calling him. He lamented the church was small and not growing. He wondered how long he was going to have to stay at this appointment.
By the time Ed’s bewail was over the parson had finished his coffee. Janet, noticing it, walked over. “You want another cup, parson?”
“I’d love one, Janet, but I’ve got some things to do.” The parson handed Janet some cash and rose to leave. Ed followed his lead.
Outside, on the sidewalk, the parson turned to Ed and said, “Ed, let me tell you a story.”
"Some college students were in their first class. The class was one on emotional extremes. The professor wanted to get the parameters of the course established. Looking down at his roll, he called out, 'Mr. Jones, what is the opposite of joy?'
"'I guess the opposite of joy is sadness,' said Jones.
"'That’s right. Now, what’s the opposite of depression, Ms. Barnes?'
"Ms. Barnes was quick to answer, 'Elation.'
"'That’s correct, also,' said the professor. 'Now, Mr. Jenkins, what’s the opposite of woe?'
"Jenkins, sitting in blue jeans in the back of the class, pondered a moment and then replied, 'The opposite or whoa is giddy up!”"
The parson patted Ed on the back and said, “You really need to get rid of your whoas, Ed.”