It was Saturday afternoon and the old priest sat in the confessional, humming and examining his fingernails as he waited for the penitent to arrive. Usually the most devout went to confession every week, sometimes more than that. Most of the confessions were harmless while others could curl your hair. 

Just as the priest was about to nod off, a middle-aged woman entered the confessional and said “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I committed adultery twice this week.” The priest was understandably upset but forgave her, told her to say six Hail Marys and advised her not to let it happen again. 

During the week eight more people confessed the same sin. The priest forgave them all but by the end of the month over fifty people confessed to committing adultery and he was ready to scream. He was so disappointed by the behavior of his parishioners that the following Sunday he greeted the congregation with the following announcement: “From now on if any of you needs to confess to committing adultery, don’t say that word. Instead say you tripped in a pothole and fell down – something along those lines. I don’t want to hear that distasteful word ever again.” The people were embarrassed and ashamed to look at the priest but they honored his request and did as he asked. 

Months went by and the number of people who tripped in potholes or fell down was mind-boggling. Even people from other churches began coming to confess their sins to the kindly old priest. After all, saying “I tripped in a pothole was much more palatable than admitting to committing adultery. The penitent parishioners certainly were creative and the priest heard every euphemism for “adultery” under the sun! 

Suddenly the old priest passed away and was replaced by young priest fresh from the seminary and anxious to do God’s work. The new priest knew nothing about the “adultery arrangement”. One day a young woman came to confession and admitted to tripping in a pothole and twisting her ankle on a cobblestone … twice.  The priest was rather perplexed but simply replied “That’s alright, my child. Just watch your step next time.” This happened so often that the young priest felt compelled to take the issue of the potholes up with the mayor and city council. 

The priest telephoned the mayor and they planned to meet the next day. “Mr. Mayor”, the priest said. “Something needs to be done about the deplorable conditions of the roads in this town. People keep tripping in potholes or falling off broken curbs every day.” 

Oh, that” he answered and everyone began laughing hysterically when they realized the priest had no idea about the secret of the potholes. 

The priest was taken aback and angered by the mayor and city council’s cavalier attitude. 

“This is no laughing matter, Mr. Mayor! I can’t understand why you think it’s so funny. Why, your own wife tripped and fell in potholes six times last week!” 

NAR © 2019


Within the four walls of a hut in Wingdale, NY there once resided a couple, recluses who kept to themselves. It’s said that everyone has a story and this couple was no exception. 

Many years ago as young newlyweds they longed for a child but were not able to conceive. They sought the advice of seers, gypsies, magicians and an astronomer. They were given advice, told to try this method and that, including eating a stew made with boiled lentils, cows liver and tomatoes and a tea made with the branches of the nettle plant. 

The couple tried for years without success when suddenly the wife, now middle-aged, found she was pregnant. The thrilled couple consulted the seers, gypsies, magicians and astronomers who told them the wife was too old and the babe would not survive. But survive it did and grew inside its mother, causing her great discomfort, malformation and pain. Finally the time arrived for the birth and the midwife was called. 

The wife labored for hours and the baby’s head finally began to crown. As more of the head began to emerge, the midwife screamed in terror and ran from the hut, leaving the couple alone to deliver their baby.

Trepidatiously, the husband took the midwife’s place and immediately recoiled in fear and disgust. The wife pleaded for her husband to pull the baby from her body but the babe was so repugnant, he refused. Reaching down between her legs, the wife grabbed hold and her eyes filled with fear as her hands touched the baby’s body for the first time. When her next contraction came she pulled until the babe was finally free. Asking her husband to bring the lantern closer so she could see the infant, the new mother gasped and cried out in horror and sorrow. 

The poor babe was grotesque for directly on the top of his forehead grew a large second head. The eyes were fused closed and the mouth was a mere slit. Oddly enough, the boy’s ‘normal’ head was beautifully shaped with extremely handsome features. 

“Toss it into the hearth” the husband demanded “and we will say he died at birth.” 

“I will not” exclaimed the wife. 

Her husband stared at the floor, then without looking back, he left the hut, heading to the tavern to drown his sorrows. Word of the birth had already reached the town but the father informed everyone that the baby had died. After a few hours and filled with remorse, he returned to the hut only to find his wife and baby gone. In the morning he went searching for his wife and baby but never found them. Eventually he died, a broken man. 

No trace was ever found of the mother or baby. Possibly they died. Maybe they were befriended by a traveling circus. Perhaps they were apprehended and brought to the Wingdale Psychiatric Hospital. To this day the life of the pitiful and mysterious family remains just that – a pitiful mystery. 

NAR © 2019


Within the course of the next several hours, Pastor Roger Adams will have trouble accomplishing his goal for the day: writing his Sunday sermon. And how do I know this? Because I’m his wife, Kate, and the same thing happens every Saturday – Roger gets caught up in projects or family activities which isn’t difficult because we have six kids. As a pastor and busy dad, weekends for Roger are anything but relaxing. 

So why should today be any different? The schedule rarely, if ever, changed. It’s taped to the fridge and looks something like this: 

•.  7:00-8:00 – Breakfast

•   8:30-10:00 – Trevor – Soccer Practice

•   9:00-10:00 – Lauren & Lyla – Ballet

•   9:00-10:00 – Abby – Gymnastics

• 10:00-11:00 – Sam & Matt – Cub Scouts

• 11:30-2:00 – Soup Kitchen Duty

•   2:30-5:30 – Chores & Homework

•   6:00 – Dinner 

Crazy, right? Even with two drivers we’re barely able to get everyone where they’re supposed to be. Roger always says there’s a method to his madness – while the kids are doing their homework he’ll write his sermon. Sensible, logical plan  which usually falls apart after ten minutes. Trevor will ask Roger to name an astronomer and could he please help him do a little research, to which Roger should say “Google” but what kind of father would he be? Then Abby asks Roger to quiz her on the multiplication table and Sam and Matt need help with their volcano science project. And Roger helps them all because he’s a patient and loving dad who really enjoys being apart of our kid’s lives but who’s woefully behind on his sermon. 

After a full and active day, dinner is done, the kids are watching a movie and Roger comes searching for me, finding  me folding a days worth of laundry. Do you know how much laundry a family of eight produces in one day? Well, let’s just say “a ton” and leave it at that

Absentmindedly picking up a pair of shorts and folding them, Roger asks me the same question he asks every Saturday night: “Where does the time go, Kate? It’s already 9:30 and I’ve written about two paragraphs of my sermon. Too many things to do and so many kids!” 

“I have an idea” I offered hopefully. “Why not take one of your old Palm Sunday sermons, tweak it a little, and use it tomorrow?” 

Oh no! Tomorrow’s Palm Sunday and I never ordered the palm branches! This is a disaster!” Roger was truly beside himself. 

“Honey, deep breaths. Your secretary ordered them weeks ago. Didn’t you see my note? They’re already at the church.” 

Roger thanked me and kissed my forehead. “What would I do without you, Kate? Too many things to do and so many kids but I love our crazy busy life!” 

Smiling my best Cheshire Cat grin I said sweetly “Pastor Adams, it’s a good thing you didn’t say ‘too many kids’ because our crazy busy life is going to get crazier and busier and bigger. I’m pregnant!! Deep breaths, honey, deep breaths!”

NAR © 2019