The Parson was sitting in a booth at the back wall of the Waffle House. It was late-thirty. He was enjoying a cup of decaf and reading the local paper.
Fred Frederson, or as the locals called him, Double Fred, walked in. He saw the parson absconded in the back booth and approached. “Hey, Parson, mind if I join you.”
The parson looked up, studied Fred for a moment, reflected in his mind that in truth he did mind but knew that he had to be gracious to a fellow cleric, said, “Have a seat, Fred. How are you?”
“Great, Parson, I’m just great. Why are you sitting in the Waffle House at this hour?”
The parson quickly pondered the possibility of turning the question back upon Fred, but, instead, said, “Well, Fred it’s an interesting story.”
“Tell me about it,” said Fred.
“Okay,” said the parson. “So there’s this person, let’s call him Henry, who attends my church. Now Henry doesn’t have a home. Henry lives in his truck. And, to supplement his meager Social Security check, Henry collects the gun casings and such from the local gun firing range and drives twenty-five miles to Happy Valley to collect money for them to be recycled.
“Well, tonight, Henry called me. Henry informed me that he was in Happy Valley but that he had run out of gas. He wanted to know if I could bring him some gas. I said I would. I headed to the local gas station, filled up a five gallon gas container and headed to the highway in Happy Valley where Henry was stranded. He’d given me a good landmark, so I knew exactly where he was.
“I was about three miles from the place where Henry was when I got a call. Henry told me a kindly couple had stopped and had gotten him some gas, so he wouldn’t need me to bring him any gas.
“I breathed a sigh of relief and headed home. I was about ten miles from my home when the phone rang. Henry informed me that he had gas but that his battery was dead. He asked me if I could bring some cables and jump him off.
“I headed to my house. I put the gas container out; I was tired of smelling the fumes. I scrambled around the garage for a while and finally located the cables. I put them in the car and headed back toward Henry.
“I got about five miles from where I estimated Henry was when the phone rang. Henry told me that his son-in-law was on the way with some jumper cables so he wouldn’t need me.
“I turned around and headed back to my house, twenty-two miles away. I was, maybe, a half mile from my house when the phone rang. It was Henry. He told me that his son-in-law was broken down and couldn’t get to him. So he needed me to bring the jumper cables after all.
“I headed back. When I’d traveled about twenty-three miles and was, I figured, about two miles from where Henry had said he was broken down, the phone rang. Henry informed me that his son-in-law had fixed his truck and jumped him off and he was almost home.
“I turned around and headed here. I figured that I owed my self this T-bone and Egg feast.”
“Oh, my glory, Parson, said Double Fred. “You wasted a whole evening.”
“Not quite,” said the Parson. “I’ve got this steak and I did locate my jumper cables.”