The Hy-Vee Deli Counter

Late last year our friends Billy and Melissa dropped off Christmas gifts for Ashley and I. Billy had designed a t-shirt and gave me the shirt as a Christmas gift.

I have included the photo of this shirt because it’s vital to the rest of the story.

As you can see, the t-shirt design is a bit of a satire on patriotism. “American Cheese Because I’m a Patriot.” I’ve enjoyed the t-shirt but have never felt like the timing was right to wear it. I had to wait to unveil this creative gift.

So for whatever reason, call it the warm spring breeze, a renewed zest for life, or the planets coming into alignment, but today was the day I decided to wear the shirt. And it turns out it couldn’t have been any better of a day.

Tonight Ashley and I headed to Hy-Vee to pick up some groceries for the week. We had to get some lunch meat so we stopped by the deli counter. Behind the counter was a late 20’s, early 30’s, balding man. He was thin, wore thin circular, black rimmed glasses and was all business. He had a very, very dry but friendly personality.

So after ordering some meats I asked for a stack of Pepper-jack cheese. He weighed it, put it in a bag, placed the sales sticker on it and sealed it up.

He then asks me, with no emotion, no smile, no hint of sarcasm, all business …

“Do you need any American cheese?”

Now keep in mind I have totally forgotten I’m wearing my American cheese t-shirt. So I reply,

“We have some at home I think, thanks though…”

And he immediately fires back, again with no emotion,

Hmmm…traitor.”

It took me a second and then Ashley and I laughed around Hy-Vee for the rest of the evening. To the unnamed Hy-Vee employee behind the deli counter, that my friend was brilliant. Excellent planning, excellent delivery. And to Billy, thank you again for the t-shirt. They may take away our freedoms but they can never take our cheese.

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Lost In A Sea of Church

As some of you may or may not know our nephew was involved in a serious accident over a month ago and as a result, we’ve been out of state, visiting him and his family almost every weekend for the last three. The other weekends we’ve been visiting my family or trying to “get-a-way” with a weekend trip of our own.

All that being said, we haven’t been to our home church for five weeks in a row. Now our church has this weekly attendance card we fill out just to let them know we attended. And every week we give to the church financially in the form of a check.

But for the last five weeks we have not filled out the card and we haven’t given financially. Do you think anyone noticed?

Don’t get me wrong. I love our church and have no doubts it is where we should be. And to their credit, a counselor from the church did call during the first or second week to see how things were going.

My only question is if they setup the “attendance” card to track attendance and tell the congregation “if we don’t see you in three weeks, we’ll give you a call” and yet no one ever calls, is the system broke? Has our church become so large we are just another number?

I write this not as a complaint or a sob-story, but more as a starting point for some dialog on church size, the word “community” and the personal fellowship of today’s Christian church.

Comments/dialog welcome…