Before my grandfather received the call to enter the ministry, he was apprenticed to be a tailor.
Whenever he would come to stay with us for an extended visit, he would look for something to sew. That would be how he kept busy. He was always asking us if there was anything that needed his attention. And thus I would always find him in a comfortable chair sewing this and mending that.
He had a penchant for needle and thread. Further, he would not tolerate any hole or fray in his grandchildren’s clothing. I can still see him looking me in the eye and telling me there is never any excuse to be seen wearing something torn. He regarded this as sheer negligence.
Whenever I found him alone and sewing, I’d place myself at his knee, and ask him to tell me a story. His rule of thumb was always one story a day. However, sometimes I managed to get as much as three stories out of him.
After agreeing to tell me a story, he always thought for a moment to decide which one he should tell.
“Do you remember the Easter story,” he asked, as he returned his attention back to stitching a pant seam.
“Of course I do,” I answered back quickly.
(which is the name I called him)
“…it’s not Easter.”
“That doesn’t matter,” he said…
“Do me to tell you a story or not?”
“Okay,” he continued…
“Now, tell me what happened on Easter Morning?”
The answer was almost too easy for me… he knew full well that I was well versed in the Easter story.
This was obviously leading somewhere. Curious, I decided to play along.
“The three women went to the tomb.” I answered.
“What did they see?”
“They saw that the stone leading to Jesus’s tomb had been rolled away and that the tomb was open.”
“What happened then?” he asked me.
“There were angels sitting on the stone and they told the women that Jesus was not there.”
I was beginning to get bored, but I tried not to let it show. That would put any further stories in jeopardy.
He continued his story with, “What happened then?”
“The women went into the cave.”
“And what did they find?”
“Opa, can I have another story?”
“No, answer the question….
“Did they find Jesus in the cave?”
“No, he was not there, just like the angels told them. They only found his burial cloth.”
Then at last came what would be Opa’s final question…
“And did they find Jesus’s burial cloth on the ground?”
“No,” I replied, “the women found it neatly folded lying on stone.”
All at once he dropped his sewing, raised his hand and playfully pointed an accusing finger at me.
“And let that be a lesson to you,” he gently chastised me. “Angels never leave anything lying on the floor. They always neatly fold and put everything back in their proper place.”
I must admit…
I never saw that coming.