For a little while in life in life, we had a guy living next door that will now go by the name of Bart. He was an interesting friend, character and neighbor - willing to help us with anything that might be needed on the farm - an avid collector of stockpiled guns, ammo and survival food - a non-profit church entity that provided a food shelf for an area that truly needed it - a born again Christian and gung-ho believer in the ways of the church, who somehow forgot to lose the less-than-honorable ways of a 'wheelin'-dealin' lifestyle prior to walking that high road with Jesus.
Once figured, we would not often succumb to his sometimes less-than-direct schemes and proposals - which always carried a piece of the truth, but never the whole story. I like to have the whole story. Once figured, we accepted him for who and what he was - a friend with a few quirks whose propositions were to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. You had to ponder on the ultimate, ulterior motives behind each of his proposals, invitations and requests. It was like working a puzzle, trying to fit the pieces together while he spoke. It was really quite satisfying when you figured it out before he was through speaking - and not so satisfying when you figured it out after being 'had' and then having the ol' light bulb turn on!
I am not quick to judge harshly anyone who isn't perfect (short of bullies, thieves and tyrants) - I figure we all fit pretty easily into the less-than-perfect category! But I am a realist and I like to know who and what I'm dealing with. After all, don't we all have shortcomings and quirks? Gads - I'm an artist (and a redhead and from the East coast living in the rural Midwest!) Ask my husband. Better yet, don't ask my husband - He might keep you all day, listening to his imagined sufferings! LOL (He loves me!)
Through Bart, I was invited to accompany him to a large House of God in order to receive some extra and direly needed meat, breads and supplies for our own little town's food shelf - and, "Oh yeah - by the way, bring some money." We would need to pay for these items, but at a greatly reduced price. Uh huh.
Before we got there, I'd been under the assumption that we were expected. That was not a correct assumption and all part of the learning process of who and what Bart was all about. He immediately disappeared and went to talk to the big boss(es) at the big church while I was left to sit and wait - for hours. I waited and watched and smiled at those utilizing the church's food program while they came and went, filling their bags and boxes with breads, meats, veggies and other forms of good 'eats' and sustenance. No big deal, I figured poor people came first.
While sitting and waiting, I observed that many of those poor people were wearing designer clothing, had fancy, expensive painted nails that must cost a lot of money, though I do not know - (though I can quickly surmise that those nails and hands do not see nor do farm chores on a regular basis, if at all) and fancy hair-dos and that they came driving up to the church in much nicer, newer, shinier vehicles than the beat up rusty old van that we had pulled up in!
I'm sure I didn't impress anyone in my farm jeans and work boots. I pretty much sat alone. I had believed that my job would be to load boxes of food - why get all dressed up for that? But I waited - me in my farm clothes, my long and un-fashionable braid and my hard-working hands and short, ugly nails for a few obvious reasons: Bart was nowhere to be found - he drove, so I was kind of stuck there - and since I was stuck there, I might as well make the best of it.
Hours later, we were escorted to the very busy kitchen where the minister of this large House of God stated quite simply and directly that we would have to pay a significant amount of money (a large 3-figure bill) for this favor that he was about to bestow upon us and that he would/could continue to bless us with these gifts if we paid a larger, more appropriate sum of money on our future visits. Uh huh.
When I handed the large bill over to the minister of that large House Of God, he literally snatched and jammed that fisted bill so far down into his pocket that I was sure that he must have bruised his thigh - His lower thigh. Pants pockets don't normally go that deep - his must've been custom made. Actions always speak louder than words, don't you think? Uh huh.
By this point in time I was really and truly not impressed, but still hanging on to a small thread of hope that we would at least get a literal van full of foods for our pathetic little food shelf. We were given - well, we paid for (after all members were done picking through the finest choices available) boxes and boxes and boxes of breads that would be stale in less than a week, a few small boxes of meats and absolutely no vegetables or fruits. Perhaps a third of the van was filled - mostly with breads. Uh huh.
Needless to say, there were no return visits from me to that large House Of God for any future quests to fill the food shelf. Fool me once....as the saying goes!
I found that I was better off financially buying bulk meats, breaking them into family-sized portions and donating them to the food shelf. It saved on time, gas and the stress of donating to a cause that I felt did not directly benefit anyone in true need........Need - not greed: Big difference, don't you think? Uh huh.......I knew that my direct donations would directly benefit people in need - which is the whole point!
Now this is not to say that in my learning process of who and what Bart was all about, I wasn't tricked into other, different situations. Which brings us to the rest of the partial tale known as........
>>>> The Pompous Prophet >>>>