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Posted October 3, 2014

Book: Goulash Garage Sales and God
Author: Bernadette McCarver Snyder
Liguori, Liguori, Missouri. 2014. Pp. 123

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

In her warmly nostalgic, yet inimitably quirky, style, humorist Bernardette McCarver Snyder shares with us how the simple and ordinary often turn into the extraordinary, if we are just willing to look through her drugstore-bargain, gold-colored, plastic sunglasses. In this collection of humorous and inspirational stories, Bernadette helps us to identify with "goulash of life that can be mixed-up but delicious, the fun of finding treasures in the garage or where you least expect them, and of course, the warm, welcoming grace of God everywhere.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Don't Tell Alexander Graham Bell

No one could ever accuse my husband of being a phony. He spends as little time as possible on the telephone and thinks three or four sentences should be adequate for anyone to get any message across to anyone else. And then it's time to hang up.

Evidently he managed to program himself to use the phone for business purposes, but he could never understand anyone voluntarily choosing to use it for social chitchat. Maybe that's why he finds it totally beyond his realm of possibility to take telephones messages for me.

For example, we were sitting quietly watching the news on TV when a newsman named John appeared on the screen. This seemed to trigger a distant spot in my husband's memory bank. He said, "That reminds me. Someone named Joan called last week," I said, "Joan who?"

He thought for a minute and then responded, "Maybe it wasn't Joan. It might have been Jean or June or Jan. Anyway, she wanted you to call her back right away."

Right away? I could lose a lot of friends like that!

Another time, the message came only a day late --- but it was a bit garbled. My husband suddenly said, "Oh, by the way, some missionary called you yesterday."

Missionary? What kind of missionary and why was he calling?

My husband couldn't remember. I spent a couple of days wondering who I knew who might have an urgent message for me from some far-flung mission outpost. Then I received a call from a local store.

They said they had called me earlier to tell me the "Franciscan Ware" dishes I ordered had come in --- and were wondering why I hadn't come in to pick them up. Missionary indeed!

Dear Lord, fortunately the communication problem at my home is limited to telephone calls, but there seems to be a more serious communication gap in society at large. Teachers, parents, children, politicians, and school bus drivers all complain that nobody listens to them. Help us, Lord. Remind us to pay more attention to what others are trying to tell us.

I know I have sometimes been guilty, Lord, of half-listening, interrupting in the middle of a sentence, daydreaming, or thinking of what I want to say next instead of really concentrating on what the other person is saying --- and trying to understand her side of the story before I begin to present mine.

Help me, Lord, to give my undivided attention and listen to others --- and to you. And, Lord, could you please appear to my husband in a vision and tell him to start writing down my phone messages?

Some of the Table of Contents:

A touch of magic
My purse on wheels
Put a cork in it!
Watch out!
The rain came down --- and took me with it.
No more empty pockets
Money is the root of all upheaval
Furrowed eyebrows
Out on a limb of the family tree
Brown-bag banter
Stressed and undressed furniture
Family secrets
Driving crazy
Shoo fly!
A dream come true