This is the most expensive thing that I own. I told you this story a couple of years ago.
The story of how I obtained the second most expensive thing that I own began about half a year ago. There are people in my parish who sing in the Akron Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Occasionally they give me one of their complimentary tickets. Sometimes my parochial vicar goes with me, sometimes my sister, and sometimes I go all by myself. So at one of these concerts that I attended all by myself I was standing in the lobby at intermission and trying to stay out of the way. Somehow that place was in front of a table selling raffle tickets to raise funds for the chorus.
“This is a very nice rug isn’t it?” I turned around and looked at the rug and it was indeed a very nice rug. It was $4,000.00 worth of nice rug and so I said, "Yes, it is a very nice rug."
“Would you like to buy a ticket?” I did until he said that they were twenty dollars. “It sure would be swell of you. Tickets sales have been a little slow lately.”
Well what was I going to do? I got in for free for heaven’s sake and I do like to promote the arts. So I got out my twenty dollars, said goodbye to it and exchanged it for a ticket stub that promised fame and fortune if I should be so lucky.
Jump ahead six months to Friday last. I am at the Christmas pops concert and enjoying it immensely until I look at the program. The second half involves a sing-a-long.
I loathe sing-a-longs.
If I wanted to sing along, I would join the chorus. So I decided that I would quietly sneak out at intermission but ran into so many parishioners that by the time I could escape it was time for the second half to begin so I stayed.
To kick off the second half they brought out representatives of the corporate sponsors (one of which was my bank! Good going bank!) And just before they walked off they said, “We have one more bit of business to which we need to attend. Mr. Bank Person, would you please draw the winning ticket of the $4,000.00 rug?”
He did and handed to the speaker who said, “And the winner is . . . I knew this would happen. I can’t read it. Can you read it?”
Nobody wore their glasses so one person gave it their best shot. “Jooooooooooooooooohn Vaaaaaaaaalenskull. Anyway, it’s number 44. Please come to the table after the concert.”
“John Valenskull”? That’s almost “John Valencheck.” And I DID buy a ticket in the mid forties. And I DO have very poor penmanship (especially when I think the effort futile). I think I just won! Should I clap or make a Woohoo noise?
And then I thought, “Now there is the possibility that there really IS a John Valenskull who bought a ticket in the mid-forties. That could be very awkward.”
So I kept quiet.
But I DID sing with much gusto at the sing-a-long.
And that is the story of how I obtained the second most expensive thing that I own.
After the concert I went to the table and said, “I bought a ticket in the mid-forties, I have VERY poor penmanship, AND my name is John ValenCHECK, not SKULL. I would like to check and see if I am the winner.”
They produced the ticket and there indeed was my name: Rev. John Valencheck. There were congratulations all around and apologies: My apologies for not writing more neatly and their apologies for not having the foresight to have at least one person on stage with their glasses on.
So I walked through E. J. Thomas Hall with a giant rug on my shoulder. People would call out, “Hey! It’s number 44! Valenskull! Congratulations.” Most people were happy save for those that I accidently whapped with the rug.
I carried it half way across the University of Akron campus and stuffed into my car. At home Fr. Pfeiffer helped me put it down in the rectory chapel were nobody would walk on it. Nobody is going to walk on the second most expensive thing that I own even if it is a rug.