Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Tonight I was asked to do a roast for a friend, Walt Smith, who is retiring at the end of the month. I rarely pass up an opportunity to do such a thing, especially when free food is involved. Here is what I said:

Jimmy asked me to come up here and say a few kind words. Then he asked me to talk about Walt Smith.

I said, “Jimmy, I am a pastor. I’m not supposed to lie.”

I know God loves Walt. The Bible says that God loves us more than we have hair on our head. That isn’t much of a problem with Walt.

What can you say about a man who is admired, revered, and loved by everyone? I can start by saying he’s not the man we’re honoring tonight.

Walt likes to square dance. How many square dancers does it take to screw in a light bulb? Four. And you have to walk them through it a few times.

The one thing I couldn’t figure out was how Walt ended up with a woman like Sandy. They have been married like 40 years or something.

Sandy knows about the three rings of marriage: the engagement ring, the wedding ring, and the suffering.

As a pastor I tell people marriage isn’t a word. It’s a sentence. For Sandy it has been a life sentence.

I want to share with you all the good things I have learned from Walt Smith. A very non-existent section of this talk.

Walt doesn’t put on a great show for people buying air filters. After all the 4th of July eating, he has enough trouble just putting on his pants.

Walt is afraid nobody will remember him when he’s gone. Gee, we can think of several reasons he’ll be remembered. He wouldn’t like any of them, but we can think of them.

With most people, the left side of your brain does some things, and the right side does others. In Walt’s case, however, neither side seems to do a whole lot.

There’s no middle ground with this Walt—people either hate him or detest him.

Walt’s not the kind of man who takes work home with him. How can he--he doesn’t work.

Walt is a man for the birds. He has the grace of an owl, the wisdom of an eagle, and the eye of a swan.

Walt was born in 1942. The same year:

Daylight-saving time goes into effect in the United States.
The Thoroughbred Racing Association is established in Chicago, Illinois.
Walt Disney's fifth animated feature, Bambi, premiers.
The Alaska Highway is completed.

And the same day, August 1st, that Jerry Garcia was born.

Walt is a pretty bright guy. You have go to give him that. While walking along the beach he found a bottle one day. When he rubbed it, lo and behold, a genie appeared."I will grant you three wishes," announced the genie. "But since Satan still hates me, for every wish you make, your rival gets the wish as well -- only double." Walt thought about this for a while. "For my first wish, I would like ten million dollars," he announced. Instantly the genie gave him a Swiss bank account number and assured the man that $10,000,000 had been deposited. "But your rival has just received $20,000,000," the genie said. "I've always wanted a 30 foot trailer," Walt said. Instantly a trailer appeared appeared. "But your rival has just received a 60 foot trailer," the genie said. "And what is your last wish?" "Well," Walt said, "I've always wanted to donate a kidney for transplant."

Have you ever heard Walt talk before?

Walt can out-talk an echo.

How can you tell if Walt is lying? His lips are moving.

I closed by say a few good things about Walt. Congratulations on your well deserved retirement!

The workout this morning was crazy. Christy, Machelle, and I did a 3.5 mile warm-up, then 6.25 miles of 400 harder and 400 easier. The harder stuff was at 5:45 per mile and the easier stuff was at 7:00 per mile. We did a 2.25 mile cool-down. That was a crazy part. Christy was late to coach her kids. I think I am a bad influence on her. So we were cruising to get to the other side of the lake at sub 7:00 pace. We ran into Paul, who was on his bike. Christy tried to ride the bike. Not a good idea. So Machelle rode to where the kids were to tell them Christy would be late. Christy and I picked up Robert and ran to the other side of the lake. You know when your cool-down involves running sub 7:00 minute miles, a mountain bike, a cop, a chef from Switzerland, and a very uncoordinated woman who is training for the Olympic Trails racing on a bicycle -- things are too complex.

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