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OUT TO PASTOR: Don’t knock on the door if you like breathing

Lately, there’s been a lot of activity at our front door.

I’m unsure if this is a new phenomenon or I’m just starting to catch up on the culture.

That’s not to diminish the activity at the back porch door.

That activity has to do with a variety of critters in the neighborhood.

These critters come for the food I put out daily.

Two cats live on the porch, about three cats visit us to have something to eat, two possums show up regularly, and, last but not least, three raccoons show up nightly.

I welcome them to the porch and to the food, unlike The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, who makes sure they never get inside the house.

But the front door is a different situation altogether. 

I’ve noticed lately that the activity and visitors to our front door has increased, and that just frustrates me to no end.

When I answer the door, there will be somebody who has something for me that I just can’t turn away.

When anybody tells me they can do something for free and that it will lower some bills in the house, I know what they are saying is not true at all.

If it was free, how in the world do they get paid?

Several of them talked about the idea of climate control. If we switch over to solar panel power, we will solve the climate control problems.

Once, when they were telling me how  much money I could save, I interrupted them and said, “If you’re really interested in helping me save money, how about paying my electric bill for the year. That I would be interested in.”

He looked at me as though I was an idiot. I think he was seeing his reflection in my eyes.

Another group of people that come to our front door has to do with our security system.

They want to come in and examine our security system, and then they have a proposition for a brand-new security system that won’t cost me anything.

I may be a country boy, but I have two brain cells that are still working.

I know why they want to come in and examine my security system – to understand what my security is –  and then override it and rob me.

I would pay them a finder’s fee if they found any money in our house. I’ve been looking for years and have come up empty.

If I let them in, and that’ll never happen, I will only let them see my library, where I have approximately 8,500 books. If they plan to steal some of my books, they are dumber than the dead possum up the street. I have nothing worth anything that a smart-minded person would want to steal.

I was sitting in my office doing work when I heard somebody at the front door. Before I could get up and go to the door, The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage beat me and opened the door.

“Yes,” she asked, “can I help you?”

I didn’t hear everything, but I listened to the guy at the door go into his spiel about the solar panel system he wanted to give her.

“I guarantee,” he said to her with the biggest smile I’ve seen in a long time, “that it will cut your electric bill in half or even more.”

At times like this, I wish we had a security camera to record this activity at the front door.

The guy hardly finished his spiel before The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage jumped in.

“Do you have a permit for this?” She said with a great deal of authority in her voice. “You’re not allowed to come in our neighborhood and knock on our doors without a permit. Let me see your permit.”

He stammered and said, “No, ma’am. I don’t need a permit to do this.”

Looking at him as he had not been looked at for a long time, she said, “If I say you need a permit to do this, you better believe you need a permit to do this. Now show me your permit or I’m gonna call the cops.”

Can life get any better than this? If only I had the sense to turn a tape recorder on, I could at least get the audio of this interaction.

She talked to him very briefly, and as I looked at his face, I could see the blood draining out of his face; he didn’t say a word but turned and walked away as fast as he possibly could.

As he walked away, The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage said, “And don’t you dare come back here ever again if you love breathing.”

I couldn’t help but think of Psalm 118, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”

Man will fail me, but God will never fail me. I’m going to put my trust in God, not man.


Dr. James L. Snyder lives in Ocala, FL with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Telephone is (352) 216-3025, e-mail is, and website is

Ellis County Press

208 S Central St. 
Ferris, TX 75125