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story.lead_photo.caption Submitted by Dorothy Kleindienst

It's that time of the year again. Today, many church people have just arrived back at their homes, and several will still be on the road. They have been attending the Feast of Tabernacles. A week filled with inspirational morning church services, fellowship, afternoon and evening activities, and fine food.

People save all year to enjoy this week eating out at the finest restaurants, or sometimes cooking a special meal in their own condo or motel. Our youngest son, Eric, is a great cook so he enjoys cooking, as in his picture shown here.

Also, this year in Branson, Mo. Feast site, because of the Covid, a lot of the restaurants were making deliveries to people in their rooms.

I thought back to many trips we have made, and the many friends we have made, from all parts of the world, in over our 40 plus years of attending. So many places we probably wouldn't have ever gone to, except for the church.

So many funny stories that have come out of our trips. I wish I had space to tell them all!

We had so many laughs the time we attended the Feast in Norfolk Virginia. Lots of stories, but the funniest part was when we booked a room on Virginia Beach. Our oldest son Daniel and his wife Camilla was in the same building over looking the Ocean and Virginia Beach below.

One afternoon we were drinking Champagne and throwing food to the sea gulls that would fly up to our 8th floor balcony that we were watching from. Here came a couple young men, with an older reluctant man, toward the water. You could tell they were trying to convince him to get in the water. Finally he just barely got in, and the younger guys went on swimming.

Here it came! We saw a big wave coming. The older man had his back to the water and we were laughing and yelling to trying to warn him. Run, run! Of course the waves were too loud, and we were too far up, and he couldn't hear us. He finally saw it and was trying to get out, but the wave knocked him down. Every time he would get up and try to escape, another wave would come in and knock him down! He was about to lose his swimming trunks! Finally his boys noticed and helped him get out of the water.

Thinking now about a time when our church was having a convention at Biloxi, Mississippi. We went there several years in a row, with around 15,000 other church members that had decided to come here. There are designated places all over the world where you can attend.

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 pretty badly too. My daughter in law and I rode to the grocery store in it with him once, 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.

Well anyway, 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.

Everyone in those days had a green sticker on their car identifying that you were from church. So everyone knew they were church boys in that old truck. It was always exciting seeing all the cars on the road headed somewhere with the stickers. And when you pulled in to eat you could strike up a conversation with someone you didn't know before because of the green sticker.

They eventually quit using them because it seemed to be a target for thieves. Our 2 sister daughter's in law's father, had his car broke in to while he was in a restaurant. I bet they were disappointed when the briefcase they stole contained only bibles.

After there, one day while the boys were riding on a tour bus someone recognized our son and friends "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 arrested.

On another trip, Eric and another young man from church, rode their motorcycles and went on a trip to Biloxi., Mississippi. They were short on money so they planned to sleep on the beach. Our son called and told me he had woke 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 the sleeping was over. 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!" Hmm. 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 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.

This year in Branson, Brandon Flowers had to do a sermon. It was concerning the youth and our responsibility to train up our children. He told a joke on one of our teenagers.

Several years ago David and I bonded with a baby boy from Yazoo, Mississippi. As he grew older, each year he sat with David and I during the Feast. One day David was doing a sermon and told a joke. Everyone was laughing. Little Tyler Mitchell was setting with me. He looked up at me sympathetic and said, "He's doing awful isn't he? They're all laughing at him." Lots of fun precious memories are made every year.

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