Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pigeon Falls and My Life

Poor Chief Ican sits in his office and goes over and over in his mind how he lost Vanbderbolt. The more he goes over it the more impossible it seems. The prisoner was in the little bathroom on the train. The door was locked from the inside. Chief Ican watched the door and finally kicked it in only to find nobody in the room. He has gone over the walls with great care. There were no windows. The roof seemed solid. There was no way out but he was gone. Did this crazy man somehow hypnotize him? That made even less sense. He had no chance to drug the Chief. The only conclusion Chief Ican could come up with is that what happened couldn’t have happened. But it did.
“ Perhaps”, he thought” it is time for me to retire. What good is a police chief that can be outfoxed by a crazy person?
What made it even worse is they were trying to help the guy. Instead of just dumping him back on the road which was standard procedure in UP towns, they had fed him, gotten new clothes for him, and made arrangements to get him Psychiatric help. So Ican felt like he had failed Vanderbolt as well.
( This is a reprint from my March 26, 2006 blog.)

I read where somebody in Las Vegas found a body under the bed in his hotel room. It reminded me of the time in my ministry I thought I found a body in the closet of the church.
When the Intern, the Secretary, and I came in that morning we found that someone had gone through the nursing home Christmas gifts. We felt that it was probably one of the Confirmands. We blamed them for everything.
That’s when I decided I needed a book from the corner closet.
Now our church didn’t have a lot of storage so the closet was used for books, quilts, junk, and an old carpet. When I went to get the book I first tried to kick the carpet out of my way ( I was in a hurry).
Suddenly a leg popped out of the carpet.
Now seminary had not prepared me for this. (Not that it prepared me for much of anything in the parish)
So I did what any reasonable brave pastor would do.
I went and got the intern from the office. I told him I thought there was a body in the closet and would he check it out. What are interns for if not to check on bodies?
He came running back saying that the body was sitting up and it had a knife. The secretary called the police.
The intern and I watched the closet door (The closet was on the other end of the fellowship hall). Suddenly the door opened and out came this wild apparition. He had on several suit coats, an overcoat, a wing tipped shoe, and a swamper.(a boot) He was holding a very large knife.
That’s when the policeman arrived. Then I really got scared. He had trouble getting his gun out of his holster. I thought he was going to shoot himself in the foot. But eventually he got it out and ordered our guest to put down his knife. Which he promptly did.
It seems he had spent the night in the church using the carpet for a bed. He had opened an eaten all the candy in the Christmas packages. He had also lifted a few pair of socks and some powder.
If he had checked in the office we would have put him up at a motel and paid for a good meal at the local restaurant. We would have arranged for St. Vincent De Paul to provide some new boots that matched. So we didn’t press charges. The policeman took him to the edge of town and turned him loose.
We kept the knife.
I always was a little nervous about that closet after that.


Blogger Diana said...

I hadn't heard this story before! You know that I am a church secretary and am often alone in the church don't you? This fact usually does not bother me as I feel very at home and comfortable there. Perhaps I shouldn't have read this!!!!!
Love Di
P.S. I did like how you referred to the man as your "guest"!

4:59 AM  
Blogger Lori's Minute said...

I don't find bodies in the closet but I do find a lot of empty wrappers.

We had a good conference with Luke's teacher. Pete was home sick yesterday (not homesick, but home in bed because he was sick but I did not get him anything so maybe he is homesick and wants his mommy...don't tell Betty).

5:27 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Good Morning, Dr. John. Was his knife a nice one? If so, do you still have it?

The church we belonged to before we moved here had a prayer room that opened to the street. We staffed it at first '24/7' but later cut out some of the after midnight late hours. Occasionally we had street people asking for help. There were never knives or violence occurences.

After thinking about it for a while I have decided that unless the Texas facility where Vanderbolt would be taken were private and probably church run it was a good thing that he 'bolted'.

Our budget cuts after all the tax cuts here have pretty well left unfunded a lot of the mental facilities.
Consequently he would probably be evaluated and turned out on the streets of Houston, Dallas, or Austin with a set of clean clothes and $20.
Definitely not what he needs. And we don't need more homeless people wandering around.

Even our children are being dumped that way. "A study by the National Center on Family Homelessness released Tuesday placed Texas 50th — last of all states — in how homeless children fare." per Houston Chronicle.

The article said we have about 337,000 homeless children (age 18 or under) although most are resting some place inside with their parents. Places like shelters, cars, abandoned vehicles, and campgrounds.

6:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am now re-thinking all the wandering around the church I did as a child... sometimes alone, in the dark. (My dad is a retired pastor.)


Now I can see where you got this story line for Pastor Joan.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

Ohhhhh wow! So your imagination is not ALL imagination at all! WOW! The poor guy missed out on a good meal... the cop didn't FEED him before he dumped him?!

Well... perhaps when the guy shows back up, Ican can find out HOW he managed to disappear... and this fella might be useful around town... for something.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Trudy said...

That is crazy...I don't think I could have ever gone in that closet alone again, I would have always had to have someone with me.

Very good of you to not press charges...I hope things got better for the man!

8:55 AM  
Blogger aims said...

Wow Dr. J. You surprised me with that - but isn't the church a place of asylum for everyone? Perhaps he thought that.

What I'm wondering about is your comment that the seminary did not prepare you for much of anything. I'd like to know more about that.

What I do know is that it taught you how to be kind because you are definitely that.

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find plenty of cobwebs in my closet

2:18 PM  
Anonymous quilly said...

Poor Chief Ican.

I loved your reprinted post. Your humor made my evening.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Nessa said...

I see dead bodies all over the place. They are never real though. Very funny story.

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Alice Audrey said...

Surly by now Ican must realize what he's gotten into with this job and not blame himself for disappearing prisoners.

As to the crazy man in your closet, he probably considered the "dignity" of his "independence" more important than the quality of the food and shelter.

7:40 AM  

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