Shell Shocked: Heaven on Earth
I had an interesting dream last night. I dreamt that I was leaving this life and was standing before the pearly gates being interviewed by Saint Peter. He was looking at the heavenly log he kept to determine if candidates were eligible to enter heaven.
“I note here that you lived in Sanibel. Would you say that you did everything you did to uphold the long held mission in Sanibel to let Sanibel be Sanibel?” he asked me.
I took a peek inside the pearly gates and saw some old friends from Sanibel. They caught my eye and gave me the thumbs up sign. Gosh, it looked inviting in there.
“I believe I did everything I could to maintain the essence of Sanibel life,” I said. “I never fed alligators, I never exceeded the speed limit on Periwinkle and I never planted pepper trees.” I was confident that I had passed the heavenly litmus test.
Saint Peter continued to thumb through my record book of earthly acts. He said: “I notice that you wrote a column for the Islander.”
“Yes,” I said, beaming with pride. I assumed that this one auspicious public service was going to endear me to him and pave my way for a quick entry.
“Did you ever insult anyone in your columns?” he asked.
I thought long and hard about this. I had been writing my column for more than thirty years and I had to conjure up names and faces of people I had written about. “Your holiness, the purpose of my column was to bring some humor into people’s lives. I would take a look around Sanibel and the world around me and find some endearing human characteristics that I would call attention to in my own way. I meant no offense and certainly no harm.”
“Would you say that you helped your newspaper readers understand their role in preserving the charm and uniqueness of Sanibel?” Saint Peter inquired.
“I certainly hope so, Saint Peter. I love Sanibel. I truly hope that the heaven I’m dying to get into – er, please forgive my phrasing – resembles in some way the Sanibel I’ve devoted so many years to. I’m praying that heaven is as environmentally friendly as Sanibel was. And that the community spirit is as strong.”
Saint Peter pondered this. “Yes, Sanibel is a very special place on your earth. We have some illustrious alumni from Sanibel within our pearly gates and they just rave about the Sanibel life style. That’s why we’ve placed you at the head of the huge line of the dearly departed that are most anxious to enter heaven. Sanibel residents have illustrated their concern about their planet and have taken measures to maintain that lovely balance between the necessities of life and the natural order of things.
“Have your columns played a meaningful role in educating your readers with the let Sanibel be Sanibel precept?”
“Sir, to demonstrate my dedication to Sanibel, I’m willing to forego the rite of passage to heaven at this time so that I can continue to build an even stronger case for my membership in the heavenly community. I’m willing to stay in Sanibel a bit longer and help keep Sanibel Sanibel – if you feel I will continue to do some good back there.”
Saint Peter thought a moment. “Well, we do perform occasional miracles down on earth just to maintain faith and a following. It just might be that we can give you more years if you promise to live up to Sanibel ideals. Even though your doctors have already given up on you we can bring you back. Go back and practice what you preach. Besides, your wife still needs you to take out the garbage.”
The next thing I know is that I was waking up from this unusual dream and saw my wife standing over me. She looked at me in wonderment. “I can’t imagine what kind of dream you had,” she said. “But could you please remove that halo on top of your head before you take out the garbage?”