Proverbs 1: 8
Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
Do you remember that old Wink Martindale song Deck of Cards? Perhaps like you me you have been trying to forget it for over fifty years! The last line of it goes “And friends the story is true I know because I was that soldier”.
Well friends, the story I am about to tell you is true. I know because I have heard it from several reliable sources who have set the story in Birmingham, London, Manchester and Glasgow and it features a Roman Catholic Priest, an Anglican Vicar, a Methodist Minister and a C of S Minister. So it must be true.
The story goes like this.
The (let’s call him Clergyman or CM for short to avoid complications) receives a call that one of his parishioners has died of a drugs overdose whilst on remand, could he visit the family to arrange the funeral. CM makes a time and in due course sets off to a very insalubrious part of town to meet the family. He arrives, rings the doorbel,l and is shown in by a huge man whose face bears many battle scars. In the living room he meets another even bigger man who has just as many reminders of battles past.
They introduce themselves as the deceased’s older brothers. They explain that their mother has had to pop out but won’t be long.
They sit in silence for several minutes, and to break it the CM eventually asks if they know yet exactly what happened to their brother. Both man mountains say together “Yes the screws in the prison murdered him”. Taken aback the CM asks how they know that. “They messed with his dope so he OD’d – It was murder and you have got to say that in the funeral, Minister”.
Taken aback, the CM sits and thinks for a few moments, then tells them that he cannot do that. This does not please the brothers who both stand up and towering over the CM say menacingly “Look that’s not a request, you gotta say that our kid was murdered by the screws, and if you don’t then things will go very badly for you, Know what we mean?” He did know exactly what they meant, but screwing his courage to the sticking point he too stands and looks up into their faces, and repeats that he neither can nor will say their brother was murdered.
The two brothers start to take a step towards the CM clenching their fists and looking decidedly unfriendly, but before anything can happen the front door opens and in walks an old lady all of five feet two and weighing eight stone ringing wet. “Ah Minister sorry I was late have the boys been entertaining you?” The CM notices both brothers are giving him a look that suggests he should say nothing, but again he speaks the truth.
“Well no actually they haven’t in fact they have been threatening me with violence unless I say your boy was murdered by the Prison Officers, I have of course refused to do any such thing”.
Mum looks the CM square in the eyes, she is furious! Her face twists as her pent up fury starts to boil over then she jumps as high as she can turning so she can connect with a hard right hand slap on her eldest son’s left ear, almost simultaneously her left hand rocks number two son’s head on his shoulders. Before any more blows can be landed the men run cowering from the room as Mum yells “I told you to be nice to the CM, Don’t you ever do anything like that again, or there will be trouble. Get to your rooms and stay there till I tell you to come out”.
It is often the smallest that can cause the greatest, or perhaps it’s no matter how big and tough you are your Mum is still your Mum!
Lord God, our loving Father, we thank you for mothers that can guide us and when necessary keep us right.
In your Mercy hear our prayer,