The little old man was carefully polite when he came to our table to eat with us at supper time last night. He was at least a half an hour late for our accustomed eating time at the dining room, here at assisted living. He politely asked for our consent before he took a seat. He told us his name is Berk, and the three of us told him we are Bob, Frank and George. Berk quietly examined the menu, and was appropriately slow to say much.
Finally asking if we liked jokes, I told him to give it his best shot. He told some story, clowning around about marriage, I think it was. It made me laugh, even though I could see the punch line coming. It was a goodhearted story. As it just so happens, here in our dining area, asking for someone’s consent to sit at the table with them is really only a formality. There are no assigned seats in our dining room. It is not exactly acceptable behavior here to reserve a seat for any person you’d rather have sit with you, or to refuse anyone a seat. But there are people who live here who do it all the time, anyway. Sometimes, I’m one of them.
This time, I offered the the guy a seat, magnanimously enough.
Berk eventually offered me a chance to guess his age. I told him I’d rather not, and asked him straight out. He said he’s ninety three. I was impressed. He doesn’t look it. Telling him I’m a writer, all at once Berk opened into full bloom. He told a charming tale about the idea that he’s a writer and a prophet, who has received the anointing of the Holy Spirit. He says he occasionally gives words of prophesy from the Holy Spirit.
He talked quite a bit about his anointing, and offered verbal highlights about his spiritual experiences. Berk told stories about some people who are skeptics and doubters; and how the Lord Our God had provided him with obvious power in the spirit at one such time. It was a full day ago now, and I can’t quite put my finger on very much of his tale. His tale gave me goose bumps, though. I remember that much.
Berk said he’s written a book, and writes prophesies from time to time for his friends over the internet. I told him about my twenty titles up for sale at Kindle Direct Publishing at Amazon. Berk admitted that he’s also on Amazon.
The workers were cleaning up the tables. They were keeping themselves busy preparing for the next day’s breakfast, but when I tried to edge away from the table, the waitress said I wasn’t in her way. Berk and I relaxed at the dinner table until everyone in the place had finished eating and had left the dining room. Bob and Frank had gone on to other things at some point at which I didn’t notice. I was too engrossed in talking to Berk.
But then the Queen of assisted living came over to our table, because she’d heard the man talking about the Holy Spirit. She’s always scooting around in her electric wheelchair, doing things like knocking on people’s doors about Bingo games and time to take Communion. The Queen lives just across the hallway from me. I’m always hearing her listening to sermons on Christian TV, whenever I go out and come in. She’s one of those professional Christians. She’s also a busy body.
Tonight, Jane came to our table. She made it a point of asking me if she could sit with us. I think she asked me personally, because she had given me so much grief once about sitting at “her table” in “her seat,” once upon a time when I wanted to sit and have a meal with Ruth. At whatever that time was, Ruth had gotten disgusted, picked up and gone away to another table at the time. I simply got up and followed her, because I had sat down at that table in the first place, for the purpose of sitting with Ruth. Tonight, Ruth was absent from the dining room altogether, and was apparently taken out to the hospital in an ambulance, for some reason, according to what Alice said. Jane kept up a rant most regularly this evening, about how scared she is to die. I told her that I don’t fear death, because I know I’ll just go to God.
I tuned Jane out after that, finished my little bit of food, and went on my way. I lose patience with people who are so faithless as to fear death when they’re getting old. What have they been doing, spiritually, and their lives? All the fear in the world will not silence the reality that we all die, sooner or later.
Berk and I exchanged email addresses. He’s remarkably computer literate for his time of life. He sent me the URL to his book, which was not a cheap version, even for Kindle. I paid the money anyway. Then, I gave away my two best stories to him over my first email. I don’t understand why I did that. Then, tonight I sent him a URL for another one of my books, but I have no reason to believe he’ll buy any of them, since I began by giving them away.
He just preached a little gospel, and sold a couple bottles of Dr. Good. I ended up reaching for my money. I hate when that happens. It makes me feel screwed.