Greetings from Bulverde, Texas and the wonderful folks at the Red Roof Church. I’m Lee Harder the senior pastor at St. Paul wishing you God’s blessings this weekend and in the week ahead. If you’re in our neighborhood on 281 north of San Antonio this Sunday, I invite you to join us for worship at either 8:30 or 10:45AM. I promise, this is a fellowship of believers “Where God’s Word Is Heard” every week. We’ll be looking for you.
I have to apologize for not having a Vlog last week, but I had a good excuse. I was in Minnesota performing the marriage celebration of our oldest daughter and her new husband, Dan Jones. Besides the wedding, we got to visit with the grandchildren. When one adds the wonderfully cool weather, it was a great weekend. We flew up Thursday and returned on Monday and that’s the problem, we flew.
Since we don’t travel much or take the vacation time I should and fly even less, I got talked into bumping our tickets to first class. It was only $280.00 per person. I mention that not to impress, but to validate what I feel is an excessive amount for what was provided and experienced. I will explain.
First, I have flown only four times in my life, the first being a trip from Minneapolis to Albuquerque in 2008. At that time we had planned to fly coach (you know, sardines in a can), but my youngest brother surprised us by moving us to first class. It was great. We were separated from the peasant class (where we would have been) by a curtain. They served wine even before we got off the ground. Admittedly, it was in plastic cups, but that switched to real glass when we were airborne. The seats were roomy, big and even reclined, really reclined. The food wasn’t bad either. All was good in the world, until we returned in economy uncomfortably stuffed in the sardine can with no room for legs, shoulder hanging out in the aisle, and no booze or food, small pretzels only.
The next two times we flew, it was in economy plus some years later and I truly believe the airlines had miraculously achieved even less leg room & more of my shoulder into the aisle. I know the sardines had infinitely more room. The pretzels were the same and the cost of tickets had risen.
Well, this time I’m at a better pay scale and since we don’t travel, Karen, friends at church, everyone was urging me to go first class. So I did, both ways. The seats were a bit more roomy, kind of like the seats we had in economy years ago before they shrunk. No booze, but we did take the 6:00 AM flight and alcohol for breakfast just isn’t my idea of how to start the day with a hearty breakfast. Breakfast is where my issues begin. Remember, we paid $280.00 EXTRA for the first class amenities. After the moist, warm hand towel to cleanse the hands, we were served breakfast. It consisted of one small oblong bowl of corn Chex, a carton of 2% milk, one small blueberry yogurt, a cup of sliced, under ripe fruit (melon, pineapple, a few grapes and a strawberry) & a semi-frozen croissant with a pad of butter and some jam. On the return flight, it was Cheerios instead of Chex, but otherwise the same.
I realize this might sound like I’m whining, but $280.00 a head is a lot of money for me. However, I would have paid twice that for a real restroom.
Up to Thursday’s flight, I have never, no not ever, used a restroom in an airplane. I have always been able to go the distance. Unfortunately, I am older now inconvenienced by the normal challenges men my age face. I have to go more often. Add to that I take three, yes, three, three, three pills not one that are diuretics every day which controls my edema but does require that I pay more frequent homage to the porcelain deities available. So, half way to Minneapolis, I had to go.
Nobody warned me what to expect. The use of the word small is a crime against the English language when referencing an airplane restroom. This restroom was way past small to border on minuscule, microscopic, wee, and tiny. Yet, people used it, so I thought I could too. Big mistake. First, one does not go standing like a man normally goes. It’s impossible. I know, I tried. There’s no room for your feet (I have a size 15 shoe & the space in this closet, a reference which is casting an affront to closets everywhere, is only big enough for a much smaller, daintier foot). Because I was wearing jogging pants (I don’t jog, they’re just comfortable), I had to lower them to my ankles to go. I tried to kneel over the space provided, the bowl, but I couldn’t because I’m too tall and the ceiling is curved. I’m just too much of me, period. The result is I wet my pants, thoroughly. Then, to get my damp pants up, I ended up opening the door slightly, accidently I assure you, to offer a half-moon to those in first class interested in looking.
When I got to my seat, Karen tried to act as if she didn’t know me. After a few moments, I mentioned to her that if the need arose that I should require the use of the fore mentioned cubical again before the completion of the flight, I would just pee where I was at. Fortunately, I didn’t have that need. I love flying (sarcasm). There’s something special about paying $280.00 to have breakfast cereal & wetting myself as the memorable treasures of flying first class.
On the return flight, I did not take my meds & did not need the use of the cubicle falsely labeled “restroom” despite a one hour delay in getting off at Minneapolis.
I never want to fly again. I was informed that I need to make sure the plane I take is a full sized plane and not the puddle jumper we ended up on. Who knew? So, maybe, possibly, I would reconsider, but I’ll have to think real hard on it.
In the mean time, it was a good visit and our girls (our two golden retrievers were fine, wildly glad to have mom and dad back home) and did great thanks to our house sitter, Kyle. I hope my story has given you a chuckle and revealed that pastors are just like everybody else. We have our days, too.
God bless and talk to you again soon.
Pastor Lee R. Harder