Repent Before Exiting

2:27 PM Elizabeth Seckman 20 Comments


Today was the funeral of Billy Graham. Someone on TV said it was time for the world to share a story about Billy Graham-- and I do have one!

I grew up in a family where humor was rewarded. You know how some dads will push kids in sports and make a big deal out of wins and trophies? Well, that wasn't my dad.

My dad LOVED a good joke. If you told him a good one, he'd repeat it to every friend and acquaintance with the shine of pride. As a little girl, I always tried to make my dad laugh. The first joke I remember thinking I had nailed was this: why don't blondes play horse shoes? They eat the stakes.

That was a fail. My dad did the obligatory parent-laugh and tried really hard to pretend that was funny. Then there were the old jokes I'd hear and try to recycle. But my dad wasn't the kind of parent who allowed you to lean back on your heels. If I started an old joke, the master of funnies would always fill in the punchline. "Where does an 800 pound gorilla sleep?" Dad would quickly answer, "Anywhere he wants to."

One day, we were driving to my sister's in South Carolina. From West Virginia, you drive through North Carolina. Somehow, we got off our route and onto the Billy Graham Parkway. This was back in the day, where you had to check the paper map for directions. I had the map. And honestly? I was about thirteen and already showing signs of being directionally challenged.

In exasperation, I sighed and said, "It's the Billy Graham Parkway. You have to repent before you can exit."

My dad laughed. Like full-on belly laugh that caused after-shock chuckles hours later. I had arrived-- not geographically, we were still lost-- but I had reached humor maturity. I still can't deliver a joke with any sort of mastery, but on that day, thanks to Billy Graham, I was funny.

RIP Billy Graham, though I'm sure he's having a good time in heaven.


Time for my small things check-in. Thanks to our hosts Lexa and L  .G  for this weekly reminder to look for the good things in life!

I went to the Price is Right Live with my mother-in-law and sister in law. I coulda been a contender!!! But was never called to the stage-- which I was actually happy about because I am pretty awkward and probably would have faceplanted climbing the steps.  

Boy #4, Conner, had a week off from school for the WV teacher walk out. He told me to tell all the teachers I knew to stay strong and not return to work. He knows first-hand, when a politician asks you to be reasonable and return to work (or the football field in his case) while they work out the problem-- you're being a chump and they'll screw you every time. 
*I'm certain he has no hidden agenda in wanting the teachers to maintain their walk-out...it's all about principle, I'm sure ;)

Join Misha for this monthly goal check in
This year, I am focusing my goal pursuit on what matters most as a writer-- finishing books. In January, I called Flip My Heart rough done. But you know how that goes. As soon as I shut off the laptop, tweaks, changes. and plot holes started running through my brain. So, during February, I re-read and fixed up some holes and hopefully added some polish. It's off to my agent. Fingers crossed!!




20 comments:

  1. That is a funny one!
    Billy Graham made such an impact on the world for God.

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    1. I watched some of the funeral. Very touching.

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  2. Oh, Elizabeth, I love the story - and the joke. :) I could totally see a version of it in a magazine like Reader's Digest or one of the Chicken Soup books.

    And fingers crossed for your book!

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    1. Thanks Madeline! Cross your toes for me too. LOL

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  3. haha that was a good one indeed. Sometimes the best jokes are just spur of the moment.

    You didn't get to hop down the stairs and flail about on tv? Geez.

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  4. Thanks for sharing this story and the joke. Good one.

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  5. That’s a good one - thanks for the laugh! I remember paper maps. Do they even make them anymore? Congrats on getting your manscript off to your agent.

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    1. You know, I'm not sure if they make them or not. If the satellites ever go down, we may all be lost-- at least for a while.

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  6. Great story! Being able to make people properly laugh is awesome, especially as a kid - and we all have to do the ancient joke apprenticeship.

    Fingers crossed your agent loves your novel!

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    1. The only time old jokes got me a laugh was when I used them on my own kids.

      Thanks for the crossed fingers! I can use all the luck I can get.

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  7. Your Dad was so right, much the best to be funny, laughter is wonderful. Funny I lived in NC for 12 years and didn't know there was a BG Parkway.

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    1. We drove that route since I was twelve and that was the first time we ever got lost on it-- which doesn't say much for my navigator abilities.

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  8. I love your joke. When we fly down to see my parents, we start at the Charlotte Airport and it can be very confusing on which road to take. After several mishaps, the one thing I can remember is that taking the Billy Graham Parkway is not the way we need to go, so I shouted "Billy Graham is bad, Billy Graham is bad!" the last time we left the airport in the rental car and my husband tried to direct me onto the BGP. My husband looked at me funny and said, "It's a good thing the windows are down or you'd get in trouble."

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    1. LOL. I didn't realize the BGP caused so many laughs. And you're right, it's not the road you want if it's not the road you needed. We had a heck of a time getting off that road.

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  9. Thanks for the sweet laugh! I love it. :) And yes, Billy Graham is probably partying up in heaven right now - however that looks for him and God. :)
    I don't know if I've ever reached humor maturity. One of the only jokes I know is: why did the girl mushroom date the boy mushroom? Because he was a fungi. (groan)
    Happy March, Happy Writing, and Here's hoping the agent says "Yes!" from the rooftops.

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  10. Your posts always make me smile so I guess, that's just as good as a joke. I am terrible at telling jokes. I am also terrible at catching on to them. Happy March and happy writing. I wish you much luck :)

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  11. That's a great story about your impromptu Billy Graham joke. Funny joke, too! (Maybe you missed your calling...) I used to be a big joke-teller, too, and my father was my best audience. He had such a lousy memory, I could tell him the same repertoire of jokes over and over again, and he'd laugh equally as hard each time.

    My Billy Graham story was from the Dark Ages when I was a teenager. I was so enthralled by watching him preach on TV, I wrote him a letter. I got a response, which included some terrific Bible study books, which I still have.

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  12. Hehehe. Yeah, in my family, it was puns. Thankfully, I married a man who has an appreciation for them too.

    Sounds like you're doing pretty well this year. That's cool you got to go to the Price is Right!

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