From time to time I'll get a call at the Institute from someone who has questions about the church. This happens because our houses of worship don't have anyone in them during the day. The Institute is not a chapel but if you look us up on Google it lists us as the LDS church, which we are, just not a physical church building. This confuses everyone who isn't Mormon. Anyway, these people have usually called several chapels only to get messages and they're a little frustrated by the time they get to me.
I had such a call today. It started a little rough but then turned into something so wonderful that I wanted it to go on forever. It was an older gentleman who even though he was raised in Burbank and has lived in La Puente (he pronounced it poo-enty. It's pwentay.) for 35 years "in a custom home, thank you very much" he still has a drawl that tells you for sure he wears suspenders and has breakfast at a diner every morning with several other gentleman of a certain age. His name was Bo.
He was very concerned for two reasons. First, he was concerned that when he called one of our buildings that the message was only in Spanish. "I don't even speak Spanish!" I explained to him that that particular building only has Spanish congregations attending. That calmed him down. Second he heard a rumor that we don't honor the American flag. I told him that we were politically neutral but that we do have flag poles in front of every building and that the 4th of July pancake breakfasts are legendary. So that's that.
And then things took a funny turn. Bo started rambling. He went on for about 10 minutes. Here are some snippets:
"I was going to ask my friend Merle about the American flag. He's a Mormon. Not a high priest, but the one just below a high priest but he doesn't want to be a high priest because he says he'll fall asleep." (Note: High priest is a office of the priesthood, usually made up of older men who have a reputation of being dull. Many jokes are made about high priests, mostly by elders, the group just before high priest, the one that Merle belongs to.)
"I married a hot red-head. She's a Cath-o-lic and I'm a Methodist but I don't go to church, I just pray. My goal every morning is to not get into a fight with her but I've already messed it up today."
"My mom always tried to be respectful to her 4th husband."
"Back in the 70s I permed my hair (Note: this is when I LOST it.) and when I went to visit my dad he said, 'Hey there, Bo!' And I said, 'What do you mean?' and he said, 'Bozo the Clown!' and it just stuck."
"I have this room that's my library slash museum slash entertainment center. I'm going to get me one of those Samsung curved TVs to hang next to my cuckoo clocks."
He told me all about his time in Vietnam as a corporal, 3rd recon (I don't know what this means but he said it at least 3 times). He told me about his knucklehead kids and his first wife (not the hot red-head). He got choked up when he talked about his dad and said he was his best friend and the greatest example he could have had. He identified the race of every single person he mentioned if they did not happen to be white (which my grandpa did and I find to be kind of racist but also endearing in that old man sort of way.) I learned all about his antique clocks and how often he has to wind them. He ended by asking me to say a silent prayer tonight for the service men AND women overseas.
Generous of you to include the ladies, Bo. Tell Merle I said hi when you have breakfast with him tomorrow and compare suspender straps.