The was paying his daily visit to the Fruit Stand, which wasn't a fruit stand. Customers bought vegetables at the Fruit Stand (but that's another blog). He'd just picked out a couple of large ripe tomatoes and was pondering which bundle of asparagus he'd use for tonight's spaghetti with asparagus sauce.
“Hello, Parson,” called out a not too familiar voice. The parson turned to see Jeff Godfren a pastor who as a seminary student had visited the parson's church, within walking distance of the campus from time to time.
“Hello to you, Jeff,” the parson replied, delighted to see him again. “How are things with you. I don't think I've seen you since your marriage.”
“That's your fault, Parson. I'm at Annual Conference every year. I hear you drop by for a couple of hours and are then on your way.”
The parson smiled. It was good to hear folks thought he actually dropped by.
“Well, retirement has it's plus side. What brings you to this area?”
“I'm up visiting Ronald Coleman. He talked me into taking a day off and playing a round of golf with him. I'm on my way home now.”
“Got time for a cup of coffee, coke?”
The parson walked Jeff to the little coffee and ice cream shop a half block away. Each ordered a cup of decaf and then settled themselves into chairs at a sidewalk table. The parson asked about Jeff's bride, learning she was working on a doctorate in public administration. Eventually the conversation to Jeff's church.
“I tell you, Parson. I'm really proud of what's going on there. I've got a youth group started. And I organized a men's club. I remembered the way your church used to provide meals for the hungry so I got one of those started.”
Jeff continued for a good ten minutes describing the many projects going on at the church.
When he got a chance, the parson interjected, “You must be exhausted.”
“You know, Parson. I didn't realize how tired I was until Ronald asked me to play golf. Taking a day just to mess around was great. I feel like a new man, ready to get back and get back to work.”
Jeff drained the balance of his coffee, sighed, and said, “Parson, I've worked my ass off at that church. And I tell you I've worked so hard I have no doubt that when I leave the whole thing will fall apart.”
The parson leaned across the table, placed his hand on the back of Jeff's and said in a quiet voice, “Jeff, we need to talk. That's not something to brag about.”