Things I hope people won’t mention at my funeral

Things I hope people won’t mention at my funeral

Tim funeral - football coachRecently I turned 35 years old, and by recently, I mean 30 years ago. But more recently, I turned 65 – this past January. When you turn 65, you start asking yourself uncomfortable questions like, “How long has that mole been there?” You ponder your own mortality and your legacy and how is it that AARP got your mailing address so quickly.

Lately I’ve begun asking myself challenging questions: What have I done with my life? What do I want to do with the limited time I have left on this planet? Did I have breakfast yet? Where did I leave my car keys?

I wonder about the impact I’ve had on the people in my life. What might these people say about me if they spoke at my funeral? It got me to imagining, which got me to worrying…. a lot…. about what they might have to say:

My earliest childhood friend, Danny: Yeah, Timmy and I were tight – until he destroyed my purple bicycle. I loved that bike. You son of a bitch. When you rode it into that pond and wrecked the frame beyond repair, from that moment on, you were dead to me. You hear that, Timmy? You’re DEAD TO ME!

My first grade teacher, Miss Kelly: I remember Timothy, yes I do. He was a rather chatty young lad. An unhealthy need for approval, if you ask me. As I recall, he had the worst penmanship and he was a very slow reader. Took him forever to get through the book Fun with Dick and Jane. And every crayon drawing he ever did always included a rainbow. I privately wondered whether he might be gay. Continue reading “Things I hope people won’t mention at my funeral” »

The Time I Saved Ten Lives

The Time I Saved Ten Lives

[The following is a true story.]

Above: Ten very fortunate Survivors. Behind them lay icy cold waters that, had they not been lucky, could have caused their painful deaths.

Above: Ten very fortunate Survivors. Behind them lay icy cold waters that, had they not been lucky, could have caused their painful deaths.

Many years ago, I saved ten innocent lives from almost certain death – well maybe it was eight innocent lives, one borderline and one utterly without any redeeming qualities. But I digress.

I really don’t like to talk about it. Even my kids have no idea about my Herculean actions. I certainly don’t consider myself a hero – any more than Gandhi or Malala – or that guy who leapt onto a NYC subway track and rescued a man from an oncoming train. Like him, I was just in the right place at the right time. I did what I had to do. If you were as incredibly selfless as me, you might have done the same thing.

It’s hard for me to discuss the events of that traumatic day some 18 years ago. I can still see their seemingly lifeless bodies floating in the icy cold waters, unable to escape to safety. Death was knocking – no, POUNDING – at their door. To be honest, in some ways I blame myself for this near tragedy. They never would have gotten into their perilous predicament had it not been for my own carelessness. Even worse, there was no way to blame my wife for this disaster, as she was out of town at the time.

Let me take you back to the beginning. It all started when our then seven-year-old daughter Emily brought home a plastic bag filled with ten teensy guppies. Her teacher had entrusted her the school of fish on the condition that she take good care of them. Being a first grader, my daughter had not yet acquired the requisite level of maturity necessary to handle this immense responsibility. In the weeks that followed, she would grossly overfeed them and then neglect to feed them for days on end. She never bothered to clean their tank, so their habitat soon became discolored and grimy from, well, poop. Not a pleasant sight.

Not ready to broach the topic of where guppies go after they die (let alone Is there a Santa Claus) with my young impressionable daughter, I came to the rescue, as all competent helicopter parents do. I took over the care of these tiny, fragile, inch-long sea creatures.

After implementing a strict feeding regimen, I donned a Hazmat suit and faced the onerous task of scouring their tank. Using a net, I scooped these little critters one by one out of the murky waters and deposited them into a salad bowl we would plan to use later that evening for dinner, now filled with clean H2O. I scrubbed their glass dwelling thoroughly and refilled it with cold tap water.

I then dumped them all back into their sparkling clean home. They swam with fresh abandon. But did any of them give me so much as a nod of appreciation? Nope. Not so much as a flick of a fin. In case you’re contemplating adding guppies to your family, you should know they are incredibly self-absorbed and will never offer even the slightest acknowledgement of gratitude for anything you do for them. Not unlike your kids.

I started to clean up the bathroom. Then out of the corner of my eye, I noticed some of the guppies were no longer darting back and forth the way they usually did in relentless search of an escape from their glass prison. Before long, very few of them were moving at all. And some were starting to flip over on their backs. Something fishy was happening. In minutes, all ten of them were totally motionless. Uh oh. Somehow – I really did not know how – I had killed them. All of them. I was a terrible guppy dad.

What was I going to tell Emily? I tried to conjure up some elaborate fish story about the “ten that got away.” I had not fully formulated my lie, but I concluded our cat Boodles would figure into it. Since he lacked the ability to formulate words and gestures in his defense, he was the obvious patsy.

The first step was to hide the evidence by extracting the corpses from their watery graves and feeding them to Boodles (thus appeasing and framing our cat in one move). I put my hand into the tank… Whoa! The water was incredibly cold! Had I frozen the poor devils to death? What kind of monster was I?

As I stood over the tank, pondering how easy it would be to hide my crime, my mind leapt to cryonics – body freezing for future revival. “I wonder…” Maybe all was not lost. If they could be frozen, perhaps they could be unfrozen. I quickly poured out half of the cold water and replaced it with hot, making the overall mixture approximately room temperature. I held my breath….  Two agonizing minutes later, I spied a flicker. Then another. One by one, the once dead guppies were wiggling back to life. THEY’RE ALIVE! IT’S A MIRACLE! THEY’RE ALIVE!  The murderer had become the savior. Before long, all ten were happily zigging and zagging all around the tank – and of course, without a word of thanks to me for saving their lives.

I sometimes reflect back on that day and cringe about the near calamity I had caused. I had practically killed  these ten innocent young lives. Blood was almost on my hands. But in the end, I was able to save them all from an icy cold death. So, in a way, I actually was a hero. Now before you start posting congratulatory comments about how great I am for saving all those lives, just know that my heroism doesn’t make me a better person than you. (Okay, well, maybe just a little. Barely worth pointing out, if you ask me.)

[Footnote: In case you were curious about the photo at the top of this piece, it’s of some of the cast from Season 3 of the TV show, Survivor. I just always liked that show.]

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2020

Mister Rogers is My Hero

Mister Rogers is My Hero

Fred McFeely Rogers, aka Mister Rogers. If you asked me to name a hero, he’s the first person that comes to mind.

Fred McFeely Rogers, aka Mister Rogers. If you asked me to name a hero, he’s the first person that comes to mind.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rogers

As a child, I never watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. By the time his show first aired in 1968, I was 13. For an awkward teenager trying to fit in, Mister Rogers was the least cool show I could conceive of watching. He was an oddball, with that strangely slow way of talking and those goofy puppets (which I later learned he made himself). His manner was too saccharine sweet. A total dweeb.

Many decades later, I have radically altered my stance on Mister Rogers. Today, I think of him as a hero.

Who was this man with the unfashionable cardigan sweaters (all made by his mother) and his blue sneakers? It turns out the character you saw on TV was exactly who he was in real life. Fred McFeely Rogers was born in 1928 in Latrobe, PA. An only child till age 11, he was overweight for much of his childhood and was often picked on because of it. He graduated from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and became a Presbyterian minister in 1963.

He later attended graduate school, where he studied child development. This led him to producing to several regional children’s television shows and finally to the iconic Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 until 2001. In his career, he wrote and directed 912 episodes. He composed all the music for his shows and did most of the puppetry. He also wrote dozens of children’s and parenting books on subjects ranging from going to the dentist to coping with bullies.

“As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has – or ever will have – something inside that is unique.” – Fred Rogers

He received over 40 honorary degrees and countless awards, including being inducted into the TV Hall of Fame in 1999 and being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. Despite all these achievements and awards, Fred Rogers never let it change the person he was. He was always a safe harbor of hope for children who were struggling. Whether they felt marginalized because of their weight, their skin color, a disability, or a cognitive impairment, to Mister Rogers every child was special and unique. He taught that it was our job as parents to help our kids understand their special gifts and to encourage them to find a positive way to express their feelings, especially ones like fear, anger, anxiety and sadness. 

Mister Rogers’ shows were not always sunny conversations about rainbows and kittens. He believed in being honest with children. That’s why he dedicated shows to topics that were often especially difficult for kids to cope with, like the death of a parent, divorce, or being the victim of bullying or racism. When Bobby Kennedy was shot, he devoted an entire show to the topic of assassinations.

“I don’t think anyone can grow unless he’s loved exactly as he is now, appreciated for what he is rather than what he will be.” – Fred Rogers

In 1969, when black Americans were still prevented from swimming alongside whites, an episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood broke the color barrier.

In 1969, when black Americans were still prevented from swimming alongside whites, an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood broke the color barrier.

Fred Rogers is my hero because he was a paragon of the kind of human being I wish I could be more like. He always preached kindness, compassion, patience, and acceptance of people who were different from ourselves. In these tribal times, Mister Rogers’ optimistic world view is the antidote for our culture of cynicism and intolerance. Mister Rogers always saw the individual first. He taught young impressionable minds to understand the importance of lending a hand to others and seeing the good in them despite – or perhaps because of – their differences.

“Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.” – Fred Rogers

Although he was an ordained minister and he kneeled by his bed every night to pray for other people, Mister Rogers rarely talked about religion on his show. He talked about giving to others and forgiveness and how to guide people to find commonality with others, regardless of backgrounds or status. I still can’t watch his signature song, It’s You I Like without tearing up.

To the always soft-spoken Mister Rogers, life was not about winning. What mattered was helping others to win, especially those for whom attaining happiness might seem out of reach. This is the constant theme he preached his entire life, whether on TV or off – the importance of being present and doing what we could to make others feel safe to connect with the world around them. Not only to accept other people’s differences but to embrace them and celebrate them.

“Mutual caring relationships require kindness and patience, tolerance, optimism, joy in the other’s achievements, confidence in oneself, and the ability to give without undue thought of gain.” – Fred Rogers

Despite all his fame and fortune, Mister Rogers lived a modest life. He proposed to Joanne Byrd by letter at the age of 24 and she ran to a phone booth to call him to accept his proposal. They were married for 50 years until his passing. He weighed 143 pounds his entire adult life, perhaps in part because of his daily ritual of getting up at 5:30 every morning to swim laps.

For Mister Rogers, it was never about attaining wealth or fame. He once said, “fame is just a four-letter word, and like tape or face or pain or life or love, what matters is what we do with it.” He has taught me (and millions of others) that the measure of our lives is not our achievements, not how much we earn or the number of awards we accumulate. It’s about the person we become – our character – and ultimately the positive impact we make on the lives of others.

“There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.” – Fred Rogers

In the recent movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Mister Rogers (played by Tom Hanks) asks his interviewer – and us the viewer as well – to sit quietly, in total silence, for one minute. He asks us to reflect on the people who have made us into the person we are. It is a powerful moment in the film. It led me to thinking about the many people who have cared for me, picked me up when I fell, and supported me to become the person I am today and how blessed my life has been.

Fred Rogers, passed away in 2003 from stomach cancer at the age of 74, leaving a legacy that will hopefully be passed on for many generations. Looking back, I realize the nerdy TV personality who I once thought was totally lame was in a profound way one of the coolest people I’d ever discover. He’s truly is a hero to me.

As I have repeatedly tried – and failed – to live up to the lofty, unattainable example he set, I often think to myself, in a moment of anger or anxiety or disappointment, what would Mister Rogers say? How might he handle this situation? And in that moment, I slow down, take a deep breath, pause, and become, if only briefly, a slightly better person. Thank you, Mister Rogers.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2019

I Love You, Daddy, But Not Enough to Give You My Snickers Bar

I Love You, Daddy, But Not Enough to Give You My Snickers Bar

Halloween was a special time for me and my girls. Here they are at ages 3 and 2, as a Kitty Cat and a Lady Bug. It would be 7 more years before they’d ask if they could dress up like Lady Gaga and Naughty Nurse. Sigh.

Halloween was a special time for me and my girls. Here they are at ages 3 and 2, as a Kitty Cat and a Lady Bug. It would be 7 more years before they’d ask if they could dress up like Lady Gaga and Naughty Nurse. Sigh.

It was a dark and stormy Halloween night. My two young daughters, Rachel and Emmy, could not wait to get started. Earlier that week I’d spent an evening helping them come up with their costumes. Emmy could not decide between a fairy princess or Barney the dinosaur or Hello Kitty. So naturally, the only solution was Barney the Hello Kitty dinosaur princess. Whatever makes you happy, my little angel, I mean, dinosaur kitty princess.

Rachel’s outfit was easier. She insisted on being Harry Potter wearing an invisibility cloak. So I drew a lightning bolt on her forehead, put a sliver of duct tape on a pair of my black-framed glasses and found a blanket to which I affixed a big sign that read: INVISIBILITY CLOAK.  YOU CAN’T SEE ME!

The girls kept asking, “Daddy, when can we go trick or treating?” To which I would respond, “It’s only Wednesday. Halloween is not for another three days. Be patient.” This went on every few hours until the big day, at which point, the incessant questioning accelerated to every 5 minutes.

Finally it was time for the main event. They looked so cute – Emmy in her princess tiara, sparkly gloves and Cinderella flowing gown, with the matching kitty ears, whiskers and a long purple dinosaur tail. Meanwhile Rachel was almost completely hidden underneath her Mighty Morphin Power Rangers invisibility blanket. Of course, once we ventured out into the 42-degree drizzling weather, it was actually hard to make out their costumes beneath their winter coats and Thomas the Tank Engine galoshes.

Everywhere I looked, there were pirates, super heroes, princesses and scary monsters – some of them in strollers – all in search of one thing: SUGAR! As soon as Emmy noticed all the other kids racing ahead for the same candy she was after, she started to panic, fearing all the good stuff would be gone by the time we got to the door, and people would be handing out pennies – or worse yet, toothbrushes. Like every year, we came upon a house with a sign next to a large wicker basket that read, “Please, take just one.” It was empty – of course. The time was 4:57 pm.

My girls rushed from door to door for what felt like three hours, but a check of my watch told me it had only been 35 minutes. It occurred to me that they might as well rename this Holiday “Disney’s Halloween”, because, as I looked around, it seemed that every girl under the age of eight was either Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Ariel from Little Mermaid, Jasmine from Aladdin, or Pocahontas. Although now that I think of it, there was that one seven-year-old girl dressed as a Zombie Princess / Egyptian Mummy carrying what looked to be a dead snake and a hula hoop. Not sure what her parents were thinking.

As we went from house to house, Rachel kept asking me to walk further away from her. She was only eight, but already she was embarrassed to be seen with her dad. I agreed to stay at the sidewalk while she took her sister by the hand to each door. Emmy got up the nerve to bravely demand, “Tick or Teat.” (She had not quite mastered the concept of the letter “R” yet.)

I looked at my watch again – and at their sagging, over-stuffed pillow cases. It was almost 7:30 pm. Over howling protests about me being a mean daddy – and their claims that all their friends’ parents let them stay out till dawn to trick or treat – I finally bribed them by promising not to eat all their candy after they went to sleep, if they agreed to come home now.

Then came the most important part of Halloween: The trade negotiations. Rachel and Emmy spent the next hour trying to outmaneuver their opponent.

Emmy: I’ll give you a Necco Wafers AND a Smarties for your Twix.

Rachel: Are you nuts? I’ll give you a box of Nerds if you give me your Nestlé Crunch.

Emmy: No way! My Nestlé Crunch is twice the size of that box of Nerds. I’ll give you all the candy corn in my bag for two Butterfinger bars.

Rachel: Nope. I’ll give you this box of Junior Mints for your Kit Kat Bar.

Emmy: Are you insane?

Halloween - bucket of candyIt went on like this for quite some time. In the end, I believe the only trade actually made was two pieces of bubble gum for a tootsie pop.

After they were asleep in their beds, I did what any loving father would do. I pilfered through their haul to collect my Dad Tax – you know, my fair payment for having spent almost three hours standing guard 30 feet away at the sidewalk when I could have been home watching the game. I doubt they’ll miss a couple boxes of Milk Duds or that Clark Bar. And don’t worry. I didn’t touch their Kit Kat or Twix bars. I would never do something so cruel. I settled for an Almond Joy because Emmy didn’t like coconut.

The next morning, I woke up to see my kids having breakfast together. Quietly. Calmly. No fighting. No name calling. I couldn’t believe my eyes. And then it became clear. They were too busy stuffing their pie holes with Gummy Bears and Reese’s Pieces.

I thought about intervening and shouting something about getting a healthy breakfast. And then I thought, why ruin this rare moment of tranquility. Emmy even gave me a Kit Kat bar (I think she stole it from Rachel) and invited me to join them. That breakfast with my two kids, scarfing down all that candy – yeah, that was the best breakfast I’d had in a long, long time.

Happy Halloween, everybody.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2015

My High School Commencement Address: “You’re All Whiners, I mean Winners!”

My High School Commencement Address: “You’re All Whiners, I mean Winners!”

[The following are excerpts from a recent high school graduation address given by Tim Jones. The name of affluent, private school has been withheld to spare the institution further shame and embarrassment for having selected Mr. Jones to deliver the address. – TEJ]

Recently I gave a high school commencement address. Mostly I just read out loud some old VFTB columns I’d written about Donald Trump. Not sure the kids could hear me over the rap music pounding in their ear buds. I must say, those three hours just flew by.

Recently I gave a high school commencement address. Mostly I just read out loud some old VFTB columns I’d written about Donald Trump. Not sure the kids could hear me over the rap music pounding in their ear buds. I must say, those three hours just flew by.

I would like to thank everyone who made today possible. The esteemed faculty, administrators, guidance counselors and even the disgraced former assistant coaches, for everything they’ve done to help all of you reach this important milestone.

I would also like to acknowledge the countless contributions of your self-sacrificing parental figures, by whom I mean your mom, dad, step-dad, other step-dad, and nannies.

Perhaps most importantly, I want to acknowledge the makers of Ritalin and Adderall for helping you kids stay focused enough to complete an impressive 37% of your assignments.

Congratulations, [REDACTED] High School class of 2019. As I look around this dimly lit auditorium and behold a sea of mortarboards atop designer sunglasses, I am struck by all the untapped potential.

I ask you, the co-leaders of tomorrow, to indulge me as I impart a few pearls of wisdom. First, though, I sincerely apologize if my musings distract you from the text messages about tonight’s rave party at Nate’s. I hear it will be “totally lit” because his parents just left for Italy.

You will soon leave the halls of this fine institution behind. Some of you will embark on the journey called “life- how to avoid it”, thanks to your parents’ untraceable bribe that got you into Stanford. Well done, mom and dad. You have four more years to avoid facing reality – that is, unless you are expelled freshman year for never attending class. You might want to rethink your longstanding policy of playing League of Legends till 4a.m. (LOL!)

For those of you not fortunate enough to possess incriminating photos of the Dean of Admissions at the college of your choice (or any college), no worries. There are countless other career options awaiting you after your graduate from [Fill in the blank] Technical College: Horse Inseminator, Sewage Diver, Deodorant Tester, Roadkill Removal Specialist… The world is your oyster, as in oyster shucker. Go for it.

Congratulations, proud high school graduates. You did it! Your future looks bright. I am sure, if you look hard enough, you’ll find that dream six-figure, 20-hour/week job as a cruise ship bartender that you richly deserve. Reach for the stars!

Congratulations, proud high school graduates. You did it! Your future looks bright. I am sure, if you look hard enough, you’ll find that dream six-figure, 20-hour/week job as a cruise ship bartender that you richly deserve. Reach for the stars!

Then there’s the rest of you – you know who you are. You decided college is not for you because you know everything already. Of course, you do. But three months from now, in the off chance your well-thought-out career plan is not unfolding as hoped, and your dreams of making millions as a day trader living in your parents’ basement are not panning out, please drop me a note when you apply for the coveted cashier position at McDonald’s or Burger King. Tough decision. My advice: Hold out for Mickey D’s. Better fries.

Soon into your university experience, you will be required to declare a major. The pressure is enormous, having to make a decision. So many enticing options: Medieval Astrological Studies, Auctioneering, Floral Management, Bagpiping…. One thing is certain: whatever you choose, it will be the wrong choice, which you will not discover until 3 semesters and $45,000 later. When you end up jobless with $100,000 in college loans due, don’t freak out. Remember, your parents co-signed the loans, so technically, they’re liable. Problem solved.

Graduates, I must forewarn you: there will be adjustments as you go forth. The biggest will be that there is no longer a helicopter pad for your parents. Your college professor will not take a call from your mommy explaining that your allergies were acting up and you could not finish the term paper. Your boss will not engage in a text dialogue with your daddy about why you deserve a raise for not missing a day of work in three weeks. You’re in the big leagues now.

I realize some of this might come as a disappointment, but out in the real world, things are a little different. By all means, congratulations on those trophies for Toddler T-ball participation and your 4th grade project on the planets (even though you left out three of them, including Earth). Cherish the Gold Star for picking up most of the crayons you threw across the classroom in 7th grade. And your cogent debate team argument that Lil Wayne is a greater influence in the music world than the Beatles, well, that’s one for yearbook.

I admit, the fact you’ve memorized the lyrics to every Ariana Grande song is pretty “dope” and should count for something. But then, I’m a fan. However, I’m here to tell you that the world out there may not value your incredible childhood “achievements” as much as your parents did.

There are no Smiley Stickers for showing up to work on time. And while it might not seem fair, you probably won’t get that corner office in Chicago with a view of the Pacific when they promote you from Administrative Assistant to Administrative Specialist. Be patient.

These are the proud parents of Joey Grimaldi. He graduated with a 2.3 GPA and was voted “Most Likely to Succeed – with the Babes.” He’s decided to forgo college for a gap year as he entertains his options – both stock and dating. To fund this venture, he plans to live at home and ask his parents for a raise in his allowance.

These are the proud parents of Joey Grimaldi. He graduated with a 2.3 GPA and was voted “Most Likely to Succeed – with the Babes.” He’s decided to forgo college for a gap year as he entertains his options – both stock and dating. To fund this venture, he plans to live at home and ask his parents for a raise in his allowance.

Your unlimited self-confidence is impressive. You can thank your parents for that, because ever since you were in the womb, they told you incessantly how amazing you were and how you could do anything you set your mind to.

I hate to break it to you, kids. Actually, you’re not quite as special as you think you are. And here is a word you’ll need to get used to hearing: No. As in, “No, we’re not going to install a hot tub in the employee lounge to inspire your creativity.” And “No, you can’t take four days off next week to attend Coachella with ‘your posse.’ We’re on deadline.”

The truth of the matter is, in the real world, not everyone is a winner. Some of us end up losing. If you don’t believe me, google “Gary Busey.” You’re not a real winner if you can’t handle losing. You need to learn how to pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes, and push onward. (Readers, I apologize for the previous words of profound wisdom. They came from left field.)

Students, in closing, it’s time someone told you the truth about how life beyond your parents’ protective cocoon actually works. It isn’t always fair. Mom won’t be there to tell your boss to stop being so mean to you for assigning so much work. And success might take a little more effort, persistence, and time than it took for you to break your record score in Grand Theft Auto.

Hey, I could be wrong. Maybe you are every bit as perfect as your parents have protested for the past 18 years. But before you show up at that important interview for the killer job as a video game tester, you might want to remember to say, “It’s a pleasure to meet you,” give a firm handshake, and make direct eye contact. Oh, and take the ear buds out. 

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2019

Kids, Ask Me About Easter – By Reverend Tornquist

Kids, Ask Me About Easter – By Reverend Tornquist

[Note from the staff at VFTB: This week, we are privileged to feature another LIVE CHAT with noted children’s religious scholar, Reverend Norman Tornquist, host of the popular webcast, “Kids, Ask Me About God”. Tornquist is the renowned author of several books, including God Loves Kids with Braces Too, and Skittles – The Devil’s Gateway Snack. We join the LIVE CHAT already in progress….]

This week, in honor of the Easter holiday, VFTB is proud to feature a LIVE CHAT with celebrated Christian scholar Reverend Norman Tornquist. He’ll tackle kids’ most thought-provoking questions about Easter, like Does Jesus have a bunny and Does Jesus like the licorice jelly beans?

This week, in honor of the Easter holiday, VFTB is proud to feature a LIVE CHAT with celebrated Christian scholar Reverend Norman Tornquist. He’ll tackle kids’ most thought-provoking questions about Easter, like Does Jesus have a bunny and Does Jesus like the licorice jelly beans?

Reverend Tornquist: Kids, this coming Sunday is a very special day. Does anybody know what day this Sunday is? Yes, Billy?

Billy (age 8): I think I know, Reverend Tormkiss. It’s Easter!

Tornquist: That’s right, Billy. It’s Easter. And my name is actually Tornquist. Tell me, Billy, what’s so special about Easter?

Billy: Mommy and Daddy give me a big Easter basket filled with colored eggs and chocolate eggs and lots and lots of yummy candy.

Tornquist: Well, that sure sounds like fun, Billy. But do you know anything else that’s special about this particular Sunday?

Claire (age 7): Oh, I know, I know, Mr. Tourniquet.

Tornquist: That’s Tornquist. I know, it’s a hard name to pronounce. What do you think makes this Sunday so special, Claire?

Claire: My mommy gives me a giant stuffed aminal bunny every Easter. I have six of them so far. Would you like to play with them?

Tornquist: Thank you, Claire. That is so nice of you to be willing to share. Actually, I was thinking of something slightly different. Easter also marks the day that someone very important re-appeared to let the world know that he was not dead but would live on. Any guess who I’m talking about, kids?

Henry (age 9): My pet hamster, Bubbles. Last weekend, he escaped under our backyard fence, and I thought he was gone forever. But then my mommy brought him home five days later – only, when my she found him, he had some extra white patches of fur that weren’t there before. Do you think that’s a miracle?

Tornquist: Er, um, maybe, Henry. Actually, Easter is not just about eggs or Easter Bunnies – or even hamsters. It’s about Jesus. Jesus died on the cross on Good Friday. But on Easter Sunday, he re-appeared and told his disciples that he was still alive and was going to ascend to Heaven to join his father to give all believers salvation. Now that’s quite a miracle, don’t you think, kids?

Kaitlyn (age 5): I am confused, Mr. T. Why was Jesus on a cross? What parent would allow their kid to play on a cross? He could get hurt. And who’s Jesus’ daddy anyway?

Tornquist: Jesus’ dad was God! And God loves you very much, Kaitlyn. Just like he loves all his children.

Kaitlyn: Wait! So, you’re saying Daddy is not my real dad. God is? Does Mommy know? Did I do something wrong? Is Daddy being replaced by God?

Tornquist: No, no, sweetie. Your Daddy is still your Daddy.

Kaitlyn: So, I have two daddies? Like my friend, Hailey? She has an old dad and a new dad, who’s not very nice, if you ask me.

Tornquist: No, Kaitlyn. You just have one daddy.

Kaitlyn: Could you make up your mind, Reverend Thornsquid? This God stuff is very confusing.

Tornquist: It’s Tornsquid!! I mean TornQUIST! I am sorry if this is confusing. My point is that this Sunday is the day we celebrate the wonderful story of Jesus.

Joshua (age 7): Will Jesus be bringing me an Easter basket filled with Sweetheart candies? Because, if you ask me,  that would be a miracle, since the company that made them went belly-up a year ago, isn’t that right, Reverend Tornado?

Tornquist: Tornquist, just Tornquist. Is it really so hard to pronounce, kids?  And Jesus brings us something even more special.

Joshua: So, he’ll be bringing me a ginormous Robot Easter Bunny?

Tornquist: Not exactly. Kids, I think we may be losing sight of the real meaning of Easter.

Charlotte (age 4): I agree, Principal Turtlekins. The real meaning of Easter is marshmallow peeps. I like the pink ones bestest. What color do you like?

Tornquist: It’s Reverend, and I have not really given peeps colors much thought. Easter is a time when we think about how Jesus came to save us all.

Noah (age 7): From what? Monsters? Because there’s a scary green one under my bed named ZORG, and I’m afraid to sleep alone. Will Jesus protect me and Bandit from ZORG?

Tornquist: Noah, who, pray tell, is Bandit?

Noah: He’s my hedgehog. He protects me from monsters. Jesus isn’t a monster, is he?

Tornquist: Of course not, Noah. Jesus is your friend. He loves you.

Abigail (age 3): But he’s still not bringing me an Easter basket, is he, Reverend Toadkill?

Tornquist: That’s Toadquist… I mean… I’m sorry, Abby, he’s not bringing you candy. But Jesus just might bring you something far more delightful. Want to know what that is?

Abigail: Unless it’s a live bunny, I’m a hard pass. I asked my dad for a bunny for Christmas, but all he got me was an Easy Bake Oven. I think my dad is sexist.

Tornquist: How old are you, Abigail?

Abigail (holding up three fingers): This many years. I like Pez.

Tornquist: You don’t say! Okay, kids, any other questions about Easter I can answer?

Elliott (age 8): Does Jesus have his own Easter Bunny? What’s its name? I like the name Snowball.

Tornquist: Still stuck on the whole Easter Bunny thing, are we? Kids, I have no idea if Jesus had his own bunny named Snowball. I don’t think bunnies were his thing. I think he hung out more with sheep. And he came to save the world.

Zoey (age 5): Including the bunnies, right? ‘Because if he doesn’t save the bunnies, then I don’t like Jesus. He better save all the bunnies. And the kitties. And the horsies. And the ducks and – …

Tornquist: Zoey, I think you may be thinking about Noah.

Noah: What??? I don’t have time to save all the animals. I have homework. And horsies stink!

Tornquist: I was actually talking about a different Noah, son. But that’s a story for another time. Any more questions about Easter, kids – OTHER than the Easter Bunny, that is?

Hunter (age 9): I do, I do, Mr. T.

Tornquist: Yes, Hunter. What’s your question?

Hunter: For Easter dinner, can you tell my mom to serve something besides ham? I’m sick of ham. She serves it every year!

Tornquist: I see. And what exactly would you prefer her to serve for Easter dinner, Hunter?

Hunter: A giant chocolate Easter Bunny! That would be awesome!

Tornquist: Sigh… Well, that’s all the time we have, kids. Join me next week for another session of “Kids, Ask Me about God”, when I’ll invite youngsters to ask about Adam and Eve. (Something tells me I may regret that topic.)

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

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Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2019