Vol.XV No.V Pg.8
July 1978

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

To avoid unpacking and repacking I usually open my suitcase flat, and slide it under the bed, wherever I an staying. At two different places the hostess' cat used my case for a litter box, despite my efforts to keep household pets out of the room. At another place the family pet poodle puddled profusely, and chewed my pencils to shreds. It's all in the game of "staying with folk" in the course of gospel meeting work:

But the worst "pets" of all were those crawling and biting things with which I had to share one bed. Maybe some former preacher brought then in, but this one spent a miserable night identifying the enemy, and then prepared to oust then. In an early morning trip to town he obtained powders, paints and sprays designed to kill or repel the invaders. Then, when the woman of the house was away he tore that bed apart, administering a chemical blitzkrieg. The bed was then put together, but pulled from the wall and the legs set in shallow cans filled with kerosene. Although my door remained closed through the week the chemical odor filled the house. Everyone ignored it — saying not one word. And we had a very good meeting.

And lest you conclude that such experiences are "usual" let me assure you that these are some of the worst, drawn from forty-plus years of being the "visiting preacher." Nor have I always been the victim. One host was doing some remodeling, and had fourfold doors hung, but no hardware installed. Since I had done such work in my own house, I offered to finish his job. And I almost did — drilling the holes in the wrong door. I had the embarrassing task of trying to "patch up" and hide the error.

We also keep our share of preachers, and they have their problems with us. Several have stayed in our house while we were away, and on one such occasion we returned to find three dead scorpions stacked in a neat triangle on our snack bar — gentle reminder of what our guest had to endure while "staying with us."

I could tell you about the preacher who used up two cans of bathroom air freshener in one week — finally explained when the host saw smoke coming from the bathroom window and knew the man was trying to hide the fact that he smoked while in there. But you night want to know the man's name so I won't tell that story. Instead, I'll thank hundreds of wonderful people everywhere who keep the preacher.