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Our Current Virtual Church Message

Hoot

No one knows how Hoot got his nickname. No one cares either. Hoot is a mechanic, but not any ordinary mechanic. Hoot is a phenomenon. He started working on cars at the age of ten. In just a few years, with no advanced training of any kind, Hoot could diagnose and fix any automobile problem. In his little town of Wayton, Missouri everyone knew Hoot and Hoot knew everyone else. No one knew how or why but Hoot only worked on Mercedes Benz cars. He didn't work for a big dealer because he didn't have to. By word of mouth, Hoot was so good with Mercedes cars, people from several states knew about his abilities and brought him their Mercedes to be serviced. Hoot was so knowledgeable about a car, in nearly every case, Hoot could sniff around a car engine like a dog and tell what was wrong with the engine.

At the age of 34, Hoot seemed to be happy and content. After he closed up his shop in the evening he went home, cleaned up, headed for Momma Jo's restaurant for supper, then over to the Firefly Inn for drinks and sports talk until ten o'clock. Hoot was a part of a group laughingly called the Firefly Gang. Of course they were not really a gang. They were just five guys who never married, had no intention of getting married, and who hung out every night at the Firefly. The Firefly gang had a little thing going on amongst themselves. They had a motto: "No women, no marriage, no God." They all referred to their motto as a code of conduct. They referred to their code as "The Three No's."

On a sweltering August afternoon, with the temp at 98 degrees and the humility about 95 percent, Hoot was under the hood of a Mercedes out of St. Louis. There appeared in Hoot's ear, a sound like a song-bird singing…a song-bird singing his name. The sound was "Hooooot!" spoken with a sweet southern drawl, sweet as honey on a hot buttered biscuit. Hoot pulled his head out from under the hood and looked up toward the door of the shop. Wiping his gushing perspiration away, Hoot saw a dream standing in the door of his shop. Hoot saw Emily Louise Paxton. Emily had coal black hair, so black and shiny, the sun made her hair look like diamonds were laced therein. And those eyes…Emily had the kind of eyes that could draw out a man's soul against his will. Normally, at least in normal moments, Hoot being the confirmed Three No's guy he was, Hoot would see every kind of possible fault in a woman. However, not today. Upon seeing Emily Louise, Hoot lost his breath and brain. Although Hoot didn't believe in angels, Hoot was having one of those moments when a man will believe anything is possible. Emily Louise said "Hoooot, can y'all fix muh car?" with that Georgia drawl again. Hoot could barely talk under Emily Louise's spell. Normally, in normal times, Hoot would tell anyone who came in, he only worked on Mercedes products. But today, all Hoot could choke out was "Sure." Then Hoot's brain kicked in ever so slightly and Hoot said, "What kind a car you got?" Emily Louise replied "Uh 1957 Chevy." Not only had this woman with black diamond hair, black X-ray eyes, and a soul-melting drawl showed up in his shop, in the year 2010 she was driving a 1957 Chevy. Hoot's first car was an old 1957 Chevy he picked up at the junk yard fifteen years ago. Hoot kept trying to think "The Three No's" in his now-addled mind but with no success. Hoot's heart, mind, and soul were experiencing something akin to a nuke blast. So instead of his being able to tell himself "The Three No's," all Hoot could come up with was "OK!" Hoot did formulate a thought to ask "Where is the car?" Emily Louise pointed toward the west side of the building and said "It's over there." Hoot, who had so far been frozen in place under Emily Louise's spell, thawed himself out long enough to say "OK, let's go have a look." Trying to regain whatever composure he had left, Hoot walked over to the side of the building to see the car. The car was a carbon copy of the car Hoot had own years ago. Same color, same style, same everything. The body and finish looked like the car was just off the showroom floor. Hoot opened the driver's side door and looked at the doorpost. Hoot saw what was unbelievable in unbelievable moments. Hoot saw his initials scratched into the paint next to the car's I.D. plate. Hoot had inscribed his initials on the doorpost right before he sold the car. In his mind, Hoot said to himself, "It's my car. After all these years, from someone who does not live in Missouri, my car comes back here. Driven by a woman looking more like a goddess than a woman, I can't believe it." Hoot reached down and pulled the hood latch knob to pop the hood. Hoot looked under the hood he had been under countless times before. Hoot saw oil leaks in serious places. Hoot said, "Miss, it is going to take time to fix." Now at this point, Hoot's normal routine is to call for a rental car at the town's lone car rental place, but not this time. It seems Hoot totally forgot about the car rental franchise in Lawton.

Emily Louise said, "Hoooot, could yuh give me a lift over to the West Side Community Church? I'm preachin' there tuhnight." Since Hoot's normal mind was now on blank, Hoot said, not even thinking now about The Three No's or anything else, "Sure. It's getting late and I need to close up the shop. If you are hungry, we can go get a bite to eat." Emily Louise agreed. Hoot walked back into his shop, and cleaned up as best he could. As fortune or whatever would have it, Hoot had clean clothes from the dry cleaner at the shop so he was at least presentable when he and Emily Louise went to eat.

The two lost track of time during dinner and rushed over to the church after the left Momma Jo's. Under normal times, Hoot would never set foot in a church. But Emily Louise put on the Georgia drawl and said, "Hoooot! I'd be honored if yuh came in to listen tuhnight." Poor Hoot, the man's whole life was just being turned upside down. He was now nothing more than a melting dish of ice cream in the hands of a young woman preacher. Of course Hoot said his now normal "O.K."

Hoot went in and sat in the church during the service. Hoot did not have a clue about what Emily Louise said. He just sat there transfixed by Emily Louise's beauty and her drawl. Hoot was not totally aware of his surroundings. After the service, Hoot took Emily Louise home and they talked a bit. Hoot walked Emily Louise to the door and they said good-night.

Hoot was going to head over the Firefly but the hour was late. Hoot could not get her out of his mind. Every so often Hoot would sort of "come to" and tell himself he was nuts. But then he would lapse back into his state of being mesmerized.

Hoot got back to his apartment. He sat in the car and began to think about his life. Being honest about himself, Hoot admitted to himself his life was not as great as he often tried to make it sound. Hoot admitted to himself he was lonely. He had no connection to anyone other than the Firefly gang. He had no wife, no children, and no family. His nights were spent in a dark smoke-filled bar talking sports. He spent his Thanksgivings, Christmases, Easters, and all the other holidays by himself…alone. This was no way to live. Hoot was a kind, caring, gentle person with a wonderful spirit.

Hoot did a total rebuild on the Chevy engine. Of course, Hoot took Emily anywhere she needed to go during the week the car was in the shop. The story has a happy ending. Hoot eventually came to his senses. Hoot accepted Christ a few months later. After a wonderful courtship Emily Louise and Hoot were married. The Firefly gang started breaking up when they all saw Hoot's happiness in living "the other kind of life."

Although the characters, times, and circumstances of this story are fiction, our God is not fiction. It is a fact not fiction that our God brings people together in all kinds of ways and circumstances.

1 Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: (KJV)

You just never know how God is going to do what God wants to do.

This message is fiction and presented to bring you joy and good humor. The message appeared in January,  2011, in the Virtual Church web site at http://www.findthepower.com

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018