Posted by: pastorafrank | August 27, 2014

A Comedy of Errors

I had my day planned.

I was in the middle of a remodeling project for the upstairs bathroom in the church-owned home here in Haxtun.  Putting new drawer fronts on the built-in storage cabinet.  10 drawers and 7 door fronts.  I’d precut and finished all the material for this back home in Harvard.  Now I was taking the drawers apart, cutting down the old 3/8 inset fronts, reattaching them, and installing the new 3/4 surface mounted faces.  Not exactly work for an apprentice, but also not really taxing for a journeyman.

I was enjoying myself until my phone rang.  I’m pouring cement out here, and the truck is coming in a half an hour.  Can you give me a hand?  This from one of the elders.  Apparently the concrete was not available earlier in the day when he’d had help.  Sure, I said with a notable lack of enthusiasm.  I’ll be there.

My plans evaporated.  Rather, as it turned out, they were drowned.

As I drove to the farm I noted the ominous dark clouds to the north.  My friend was talking to the cement plant when I arrived. OK, he said looking at the sky, Send it on out.  To me he said, I thought about canceling it; but, maybe that storm will go on east.  Anyway, they’d already started mixing it.

The threat of rain was more than imminent by the time the truck arrived.  The breeze freshened and morphed into a wind as we worked to pour the east approach to the cattle-guard.  The first raindrops hit before we were half way through there and by the time we began on the west side it was pouring pitchforks and hammer handles.  We barely got the stuff screeded (that’s “leveled” to you that are novices); there was no way we could finish it.  The only floating we might try was our own – down the ditch with the runoff from the storm.  As for troweling…fahgeddaboudit.

We were already ringing wet, wetter than if we’d stood in a shower stall for 15 minutes with the water running full blast, when we began to be pelted by pea-sized hail.  Talk about adding insult to injury!  But this cement debacle was only the beginning of a comedy of errors to follow.

I slipped off my sodden and muddy shoes before climbing behind the wheel of my truck.  It was useless to go forward up the slight grade on the thoroughly soaked country road. No traction. Throwing the transmission into reverse, I glanced in the rearview mirror.  Certainly didn’t want to back into my friend’s rig.

That wasn’t a problem because he’d disappeared.  The cement truck was long gone as well.  Funny, I didn’t think it took that long to lose my footwear.  Everyman for himself,  I thought as I backed the quarter of mile down the hill to the more thoroughly graveled crossroad.  What was that intermittent beeping noise?  I pulled my smartphone out of my sopping wet shorts pocket and peered at the screen.  It winked at me a couple of times and faded into blackness.

It remained black from that moment on.  But as I drove back into town I remembered something about throwing your wet phone in a sack of rice to revive lt.  My saturated socks made strange tracks as I entered the grocery store and completed my purchase.  Upon arriving at the parsonage I tore open the bag, and dumped both the long-grain rice and the phone in a large bowl.

I might as well have tossed the mobile into a wok full of fried rice, or into a pan of the Spanish variety.  Indian sticky rice couldn’t have been less effective.  No dice with the rice.  The phone was a goner.   Like my plans for the day.

I’d bought the phone from Walmart utilizing StraightTalk.  The day after the concrete debacle I planned to ride my motorcycle to the nearest of old Sam’s facilities, purchase a new phone, and ride back up the road to have lunch with a young fellow-pastor.  The whole trip would be about 130 miles.

Colorado has no helmet law.  I wear an egg protector anyway.  Always have.  Except this day,  This day I reasoned that could wait to put on my helmet until after I’d filled up the local station just 5 blocks away.  I jammed the headgear on the sissy bar and rounded the corner heading downtown.

I’d noted the day before, the day of the ill-fated cement and rain pour, that the city had newly oiled and armor coated the street one block east, parallel to our own.  I’d also noted that at the north intersection of that street something like yellow crime tape had been stretched across to keep traffic from impeding the work.  But, the work was completed.  One would expect that the nearly invisible tape barrier would be removed.

It wasn’t.  Not from the north end of the street, not from across the intersection of that street and the one which I was riding at right angles to the new pavement, and not from the other side of that intersection.

I didn’t see the tape, bright though it was.  It caught me just under the chin and stretched way out, creating an instant rash on my neck at the Adam’s apple level.  Rats!  I brought the bike to a stop and flipped the tape up over my head.

It caught on my glasses and they flew away.  Double rats!  I dismounted, stood there a moment, and then took a step to find my eye-ware.

I found them…with my foot; and the thin piece of nylon filament holding in the left lense popped.  Rats again!  Now I’d have to ride the first thirty miles of the trip navigating with one eye.  Good thing they also had an optical department at the Walmart.  If I could only make it there without incident.  Funny how having one’s vision cut in half changes a man’s outlook on…well, on everything.

I glanced around to see if anyone had been watching this incredibly embarrassing development, remounted the Yamaha, and rode ahead…straight through the opposite yellow barrier tape.  But this time, this time the tape reached its stretching capacity before I could manage to haul the beast under me to a halt.  Somewhere closer to oneend of its securement than to the other it parted company with itself.  The remaining length came whipsawing across that part of my upper anatomy that been negatively affected across the street just moments earlier.

OK, OK, I thought.  It’ll be all right.  But my thoughts ran back a little over a half a day to the beginning of this comedy of errors, to that water-soaked attempt to pour cement in absolutely the worst weather possible for such an endeavor, and they were not exactly happy ones.

However, even a comedy has to end.  I made it to the Walmart.  The kind lady in the eye-ware department fixed my glasses, and I was able to buy a new phone.  Both the ride to my friend’s home 6o miles up the road and our lunch together were wonderful.  And, two weeks later, the rash around my neck is gone.  All I have to remind me of that 18 hour span of my life is a nearly empty contact list on my mobile phone.



  1. Ok, while attempting to read through my tears of laughter I noted a few lessons in all of this. One, while rice does sometimes work to dry a phone battery it is usually best served with stir fry (soy sauce optional). Two, if you think you can ride through plastic “Do Not Enter” tape without repercussion or concussion, at least check to see that it’s not neck high! And three, make sure you put a patch over the eye you can’t see from. It makes for a much less eventful ride. 😉

    We love you brother!! Tell Luana hello.

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. What a hoot! Still laughing. You have an unbelievable storytelling gift- are you related to Art? (BTW- telling the truth about yourself, could be a form of SIW)

  3. We love the way you wrote your exciting adventure! It was even more funny than the way you told it to us in person! We can hardly wait to see what you do next!

    Bill and Linda

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