Pages of Life — Laughter makes the heart merry

Photo courtesy Dorothy Kleindienst Eric, Daryl, Brandon, Bill

All the church people have returned home now from keeping 'The Feast of Tabernacles' at sites all over the world. I'm sure everyone has a lot of great memories from the 8 days there with church friends wherever they went.

I can only hope everyone had as much fun together as these 4 Amigos, (fun loving friends) did. They are all known for keeping fun and laughter going in their own local areas, but here they were... all together at Branson!

Bill, and his lovely wife Tisna, hosted the guys several evenings. Tisna videoed some of their stories, and how they were laughing until out of breath.

Our son Eric called and had me laughing hard too as he tried to tell some of Daryl and Bills stories. These two- guys had grown up together and had hilarious stories about each other.

Eric and Brandon were laughing so hard as Bill would try to tell a story on Daryl. "Oh, now don't tell that", Daryl would say. Of course, Bill would continue and that made it more hilarious. Many years ago, after David and I had done a funny skit at a church convention, another minister told me that Daryl Craig and I were the funniest people in the church. He hadn't known Eric well yet.

I asked Eric if he told any of his funny stories, and he has many, he said no, he was too busy laughing.

Bill Burchell is from Crossett Arkansas, Daryl Craig from Yazoo City Mississippi, and Eric Kleindienst and Brandon Flowers from here in Fulton Missouri. Don't ever think church people can't have fun, these guys are all part of the ministry.

I thought back to the many church trips we have made, and the many funny stories that have come out of our trips to the ocean. One was a time when our church was having a convention at Biloxi, MS.

Our youngest son had just bought an old used pickup truck. I do mean USED. The floor was even out on the passenger side. Now I have seen topless automobiles, but bottomless? He had the hole covered with a piece of ply board. The truck smoked badly too. Eric had a way to make it do that.

One evening my daughter in law and I rode to the grocery store in it with him and everyone ran out of the building to see what was on fire! My daughter-in-law, Camilla, who was expecting a baby at any time, was holding her stomach, and laughing so hard as she and I tried to get away from the big ball of smoke... and the embarrassment.

Another time our youngest son Eric, and a couple other young men from our church decided they wanted to drive the old truck to our church convention being held in Biloxi, MS. They put signs all over it saying, "Biloxi or Bust!" He got waves, honks, laughs, and thumbs up signs, all the way there.

One day while the boys were riding on a tour bus when someone recognized them. "Hey, aren't you the guys that we saw in a smoking old truck that said, "Biloxi or bust." She asked. Soon the whole bus full of strangers was laughing as Eric told stories about the old truck.

Someone else must have thought that old truck was good for laughs (or parts) too. One morning our son ran in the house and said, "Mom, someone stole my truck!" I said, "Oh Eric, no one would steal that old truck!" I was wrong! Although you had to push it to start it, someone had actually gotten it on a flatbed wagon and hauled it off! It was recovered and the person who stole it was arrested.

On another trip, Eric, and another young man from church, rode their motorcycles and went on a trip to Biloxi., MS. They were short on money, so they planned to sleep on the beach. Our son called and told me he had woken up at 4 in the morning feeling like a piece of used bubble gum. Almost afraid to ask I said, "And how's that?" He replied, "Damp, sticky, and covered with ants!"

Since sleeping was over, and just as they were considering where to eat breakfast on their limited budget, an old man walked up to them. The man told our son he was hungry and had no money. Our son told him he didn't have much but he could help him a little. He gave the man what little cash he dared to spare. As the boys looked around the beach some and began loading up the sleeping bags on their motorcycles, they saw the old man. He was packing a bottle of whiskey. Our son said, "You told me you were hungry!" The old man said, "Yeah, but you didn't give me enough to do any good!" Hmmm. A Missouri kindhearted country boy isn't used to these kinds of tricks.

I think somehow people see the kindness in his eyes. It is very strange, but if there is a group of 25 people walking together, someone will find their way through all of us and come up to Eric to ask for money. It's a family joke because it is so predictable. Once while at a church convention in Chattanooga, TN a group of us were out sightseeing. "Here he comes!" someone said. Then we all watched knowing who he would single out.

Our older sons, Daniel and Randy, were not laughing and told their brother to, "Just keep walking!" Sure nuff, the man cut through the crowd and headed straight for Eric. Very strange indeed... Eric handed him a couple dollars as he passed by.

This happened many years ago and Eric has a new car now, but he says sometimes he misses his old 'Biloxi or Bust' truck and all the fun he had in it.

And I know these 4 friends will be looking forward to the next time they can get together and share some of their funny stories of life's adventures.

  photo  Dorothy Kleindienst