Ahmed’s Toss

Dr. David R. Denny
From the Schoolhouse

Ahmed tossed first.

I stood and watched and remembered how it was when the school year began.  He was assigned to be my mentee and I was the mentor. Most teachers grumbled about this new task forced upon a staff already underwater with a workload that had us all gasping for air.  Ahmed didn’t understand any of this.  He just knew he was a new kid in this country and I was his mentor for the year.  BEAN-BAG-TOSS-GAME-1-hole

I tossed second.

He was a mess.  Coming from an impoverished family, he was learning American culture a day at a time.  He missed so many days because of endless turmoil at home.  And when he came, he wore crumpled shirts looking like a shoddy mannequin at a Goodwill store.  

He tossed again.

We laughed. He missed the whole thing!  Oh well, it was all just fun.  It was mentor day and we were in Commons 2 bonding along with the other 25 mentees.  

I tossed and hit the hole.  “Wow!”, he shouted.  

We had become good friends.  He always skipped my Civics class.  A hundred unique sob stories surfaced each day after about why he couldn’t make it.  “I had an earache today,” he told me.  I just smiled and didn’t make a big deal about it.  He knew how I felt.  I had told him a million times why he needed to come to class but…

He tossed and the bag slid right across the corn hole.

Then I tossed.

Then he tossed.

If only life was this majestic.

From the Pulpit

My sermon Sunday, A Tale of Two Sisters, led us to the country door of two unique women (Luke 10::38-42).  Martha was the busy one, the pragmatic soul who got things done.  She often worked while her sister, Mary, sat.  Martha was a bit of a perfectionist.  She wanted the lavender napkins on the table with the gold-rimmed china. Mary, on the other hand, was the dreamer.  When Jesus stopped by for a visit, Martha prepared the meal and set the table while Mary sat in the living room at the feet of Jesus just listening to Him talk about life’s abstractions such as forgiveness, love, the meaning of life, heaven.  Martha complained to the Master, but He chided Martha for worrying too much about trivialities.  Mary had found the “optimum partem” (the best part) or perhaps the secret to life.  She sat and just listened.  Jesus commended her for this.  I think we need both women, both personalities.  But the Lenten season is more a Mary time than a Martha time.

From the Pew

He said his name was David and that he was the Health Inspector in Onancock.  We chatted a minute and then he took a seat and I scurried to the front to lead the service.  I thought about it later and wondered what he thought of our health.  I had never had a visitor stop in to check on such things.  But he stated his life’s calling quite clearly when he could have easily omitted it.  He was the one who gauges health.  And he was here at our church.  And so naturally I wondered how the inspection would go.  Would he find us well and healthy or perhaps a bit anemic?  Would he feel the need to write a hasty prescription?  Did we need an urgent dose of expensive medicine?  Should we go in for a further diagnosis?  

David, the Health Inspector, seemed engaged with the sermon as I spoke.  He nodded a few times at certain points and his brow furrowed occasionally as he gave some ideas deep reflection.  I could see him making mental notes, fiddling with the Hippocratic oath, making connections.  health inspector

After the benediction, I hurried to the back to get his prognosis.  After all, it’s quite rare nowadays for Health Inspectors to make house calls like this.  But to my dismay, when I wove through the crowd toward the exits, David was gone.  I asked a few people about him, but no one seemed to know.   Perhaps he felt compelled to rush back to the office, consult his learned tomes, search for comparables among other patients and then polish off his report.

So…, I haven’t received it yet, but if anyone reading this has seen David, the Health Inspector, from Onancock, please let me or Mark Mize or Cindy Milliner know.  

(I hope the report was a good one).

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