One man’s trick is another man’s treat
Planning for a party is not my idea of unmitigated fun. And yet, this week I found myself in such a dilemma. For me, a party means fun, but planning for that party is more like work. I am not afraid of work, I’ll have you know. I can sit down and stare at it for hours without flinching. I just refuse to allow work to get anything over on me.
It all started when the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage mentioned to me rather casually, “We need to get ready for the children who will be coming this weekend for their trick or treat.”
I must confess having a rather fascinating interest in words. For example, when my wife uses the word “we,” it is a monosyllable, which in all practical purposes means “me,” which is another monosyllable. In our house, the word “we,” is never used in the collective sense, “us.”
Therefore, the burden of planning for this party rested upon Yours Truly. Actually, when I say planning I should qualify that. My job was to go to the store and purchase everything on a shopping list my wife so graciously handed to me. I suppose somebody could say that this was a joint venture. She made a list and I was to buy everything on that list.
Sending me to the grocery store with a shopping list borders on the precarious. I always know what my intended purpose and my task at hand. Often, the results have very little to do with the intended purpose. I try, but every time I get into a store environment, something happens to me. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I begin sweating and getting the nervous shivers.
I vaguely remember my wife saying something to the effect, “Make sure you get everything on the list and nothing else.”
I remember glancing at the list but could not remember what happened to it once I got in my truck. As soon as I got into the store, I remembered the list and searched my person as carefully as possible to no avail.
Now I faced a choice. Do I call my wife, confess that I lost the list and ask her for help, or, do I guess what was on the list and finish my task?
Being the cavalier kind of person I am, I chose the second part. After all, a party is a party and what is so hard about getting things for a party? This should be rather easy. At this point, I was getting a little envious of those little tricksters that would be coming to my door.
I walked around the grocery store once just to get my bearings. I need to get the lay of the land before mounting the kind of an attack that I was about to mount. Sometimes it takes two or three walks around the store to accomplish this, but the end result is all that really matters.
At this point, I saw something I never noticed before. There was a shelf full of Halloween masks and they drew my attention. I looked at them smiling to myself and then a strange thought tiptoed into the dark recesses of my mind. Normally, I do not have such foreign muses but this one fascinated me.
Why don’t I select a mask for myself? After all, you are only as young as you feel and someone said you only live once, so why not make the most of it. It was not long before I was utterly consumed with this idea of buying, not only a mask but also a costume to go along with it.
I cannot remember when I smiled so much in my entire life. In fact, another thought teased me to no end. Why not get dressed up in my Halloween outfit and try it out tonight on my wife? The more I thought about this, the more intriguing it became.
My wife is very good at multitasking, whereas, I can only focus on one thing at a time. At this point, I had completely forgotten why I had come to the grocery store in the first place. I was beginning to feel like a kid again and I could not stop chuckling to myself.
Carefully, I selected an appropriate mask with a corresponding costume, all the time laughing inside to the point of hysteria. I could not wait to see the look on my wife’s face when I came a-knocking at her door tonight surprising her by saying, “Trick or Treat.”
I parked my truck about a block from our house and quickly put on my costume and mask. I quietly walked up to my house and knocked on the door. All the time I’m laughing inside to beat the band.
I heard her come to the door. The anticipation was killing me. Then I heard her through the door, “You better not be my husband dressed in a stupid Halloween costume without those things on the shopping list that I gave him.”
How did she know? Walking back to my truck a verse of Scripture came to mind.
“A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards” (Proverbs 29:11 KJV).
Sometimes the most prudent thing to do is nothing. I have discovered that many times my expected treat turns out to be an awesome trick.
(Rev. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship in Ocala, Fla. Readers may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)