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  • "A Musing Pastor"

No sense being dumb unless you show it.


It could be possible that I do not know it all....

In fact, just yesterday, I learned two new things.

Well, one thing I knew but didn't pay any attention to and the other thing was definitely learned.

1. Caution tape should be heeded, even if it is tattered and torn.

2. Itch weed is a thing.

Our Week of Caring mission project completed yesterday. Our final work crew, though small, was ready to walk a local recreation park to gather garbage and we did. Ben and I started walking in one direction while Carol and Chris walked the other way. The plan was that we would meet on the other side of the loop at the halfway mark. (Always good to have a plan.)

As we walked, talked, and picked refuse, Ben and I were making good time and not finding anything too messy. About twenty minutes in, I noticed some tattered yellow caution tape wrapped around a tree and some bushes. Well, that will have to be gathered up. Done!

About this time we were joined by Jen and so the three of us continued. On we went and eventually met the ladies. It wasn't at the halfway point. It was more like they covered three quarters of the loop and we did about a quarter of it. We weren't slacking by any means though.

As we neared completion of the task, I noticed the side of the path was no longer trimmed and neat. Tall weeds and wildflowers now covered the trail's edge. Wow, there is a lot of garbage lying in the tall stuff! I went in to gather all that I could see. As I stepped into this menagerie of brush, I felt a sharp piercing sting on my ankle. Did a bee sting me or was that a snake bite? No visible snakes or bees and no bite mark on my ankle led me to shrug it off and keep going. Now, five minutes into this expedition, I am feeling a great burning, tingling, and stinging sensation all over my legs and forearms. And then I see more yellow caution tape again. Lightbulb! Apparently the caution tape was placed to cordon off some sort of poisonous plant. Ahhh, as my mother used to say, "Too soon old, too late smart."

As we stood there with job completed, a fellow got off his bicycle and approached us. He took his sunglasses off and looked at me and asked, "Do you know what itch weed is? Not wanting to look dumb, I smiled and said, "Yes." He replied, "I was hoping you did, since you were right in the middle of it walking around."

With that, he asked what we were doing and what organization we were working for. BOOM! I began to explain the week of caring and how many churches and organizations worked together to give back to our community. He nodded in approval. His parting comment made my burning legs and arms well worth it. He said, "You don't realize how much garbage is laying alongside the walking path until it isn't there. It looks really good. Keep up the good work." I said, "Oh, this is an annual event and we'll be doing this again."

Moral to this story is....let's see, research poisonous plants and vines before you venture out. Or, heed caution tape no matter what condition it's in. Or, wear long pants and long sleeve shirts when walking through itch weed. Or, don't pretend to be not dumb; it's okay to not know something. I could go on and on but won't.


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First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com