When my friend told me the theme of the service she was leading in church I immediately thought of Andrew.
It was the theme of a children’s talk we did together several years ago and one Andrew always hoped to repeat. Yesterday I got my chance to tell the tale once more.
Originally we acted it out as a drama with Andrew and I sitting on the edge of the stage each with a telephone.
“TV repairs - this is Di Ode speaking.” Answered Andrew in a Welsh accent that always lapsed into an Indian one.
“Hello I have a TV to repair.” I replied in my best telephone voice.
“Let me check my appointments. How about I come and have a look on Tuesday?”
“Oh I’m busy on Tuesday so I won’t be here but I’ll leave the key under the door mat for you.”
“Key under the mat. Is that safe?”
“Oh yes I have a very good guard dog.”
“Will I be safe?”
Now at the time we told this tale one of the main news stories in the news was about Princess Anne’s dog, an English Bull Terrier, attacking one of the queen’s corgis so I came out with some off the cuff comment about being “corgi registered”. We ad-libbed our way through the sketch but we were both laughing at this. For once I said something that made Andrew giggle and we enjoyed hearing the congregation laughing alone with us.
I continued, “Oh Fluffy will be no bother. All I ask is that you don’t talk to the parrot. Whatever he says please ignore him.”
“OK” says Di Ode a bit sceptically, “so the dog is OK but don’t talk to the parrot.”
“It’s very important you remember this. Under no circumstances talk to the parrot.”
The next bit I’m not sure how we acted out but Di Ode, TV repair man went to the house and let himself in.
“Nice doggie,” he muttered to the big scary looking dog asleep on the rug by the fireplace.
“Who are you?” Said the parrot. “Who are you – you silly old man?”
I mustn’t talk to the parrot, thought Di Ode. So he got out his tools and had a look at the TV.
Of course this story took place in the days when you had TV repair men and you didn’t just replace a TV with a new one from Argos when the old one becomes obsolete!
“What are you doing – you silly old man? You don’t want to do it like that. What are you doing that for?” The parrot carried on with his criticism.
Di Ode looked at the dog lazing on the mat, he was a softy like the lady said but this parrot was very annoying.
Eventually DI Ode got fed up with the parrot’s constant complaining and he snapped. “Shut up yourself you silly old parrot!”
And do you know what the parrot said? “Get him Fluffy!”
And all of a sudden the nice, quiet, placid, “doggie” got up and bit Di Ode on the bum!
You see the parrot was tempting the man all along.
It says in the Bible – lead us not into temptation.
Because, as Andrew wisely said – you don’t know where temptation will lead you!
So often Andrew is remembered for his jokes, his accurate mimicry and for making people laugh. I miss that, I sorely do.
But at the moment I miss his wisdom. The calm way he had of making sense of the things that upset me. Our intelligent conversations. He and I against the world preparing our plan of attack, knowing whatever would be thrown our way we would deal with together.
I miss that special person always on my side and wanting the very best for me.
It’s tempting to think I’m all alone now with no one to help me. I’m still worrying about things that are not yet sorted, not sleeping properly and consequently worrying even more!
Today Andrew’s brother has been that calm voice of reason on the other end of the phone from me, alleviating some of my fears.
I need to remember our temptation story and not listen to the parrot, that nagging voice inside that says nothing is ever going to be sorted out. The voice that tells me I’m doing it all wrong and erodes my fragile confidence.
There are people by my side and although things will never be the same again somehow I will make it through.
Andrew was often so very wise and he always believed in me and my abilities.
Now I just have to believe all those wonderful things he told me and believe in myself.