Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Kids and Churches

I am not really able to be online a great deal at present so keeping this one this one short and I hope amusing.

A little boy was in a relative's wedding.
As he was coming down the aisle, he would take two steps, stop, and turn to the crowd.
While facing the crowd, he would put his hands up like claws and roar.
So it went, step, step, ROAR, step, step, ROAR, all the way down the aisle.
As you can imagine, the crowd was near tears from laughing so hard by the time he reached the pulpit.
When asked what he was doing, the child sniffed and said, "I was being the Ring Bear."

Another noisy  child in the wrong place at the wrong time.

One Sunday in one of my churches, a young child was "acting up" during the morning worship hour.
The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew but were losing the battle.
Finally, the father picked the little fellow up and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out.
Just before reaching the safety of the foyer, the little one called loudly to the congregation, "Pray for me! Pray for me!"

Or the child who knew all about the meaning of life.

A little boy was overheard praying: "Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it.
I'm having a real good time like I am."

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Children and Grandparents.

A  Pen and Ink Sketch . France.

I am always amazed at the patience of some parents in supermarkets. They're children can be at their very worst in such situations, and all the wonderful delights on display cannot make it easier.

An old man was grocery shopping with his grandson. 

The toddler was crying, and at times, screaming at the top of his lungs

As the old gentleman walked up and down the aisles, people could hear him speaking in a soft voice... 'We are almost done, Albert...try not to cry, Albert... Life will get better, Albert...'

As he approached the checkout stand, he carefully brushed the toddler's tears from his eyes and said again, "Try not to cry, Albert... We will be home soon, Albert."

As he was paying the cashier, the toddler continued to cry as a young woman in line behind him said, "Sir, I think it is wonderful how sweet you are being to your little Albert."

The old gentleman blinked his eyes a couple of times before saying: 

"My grandson's name is John......I'm Albert."

And grandmothers:

Gran was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under the watchful eyes of her young granddaughter, as she'd done many times before. 

After she applied her lipstick and started to leave, the little one said, "But Gramma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!" 

I am sure she will never put lipstick on again without thinking about kissing the toilet paper good-bye.

Grandmother was babysitting,

After putting the children to bed, she changed into old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. 

As she heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. 

Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. 

As she left the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice, "Who was THAT?"

I was spending a week on Iona with a group of other members of the Iona Community. At the end of the week my wife was joining me for the weekend. 

We had decided that we should take the caravan up to Oban on a campsite we and the children were familiar with. One my the members of my church who looked after the children  frequently was going to stay with them in the caravan for the weekend.

Ginty was a very gentle and lovely person, a schoolteacher with a marvellous way with children.

One the first night it was agreed that they would go to bed sharp and then get up later and have a midnight feast on the beach. The two were in full agreement it was after all a marvellous adventure. 

They had a bonfire with marshmallows and sausages. Ginty was reading them a story about cavemen. In her own way she was of course embellishing it with additional knowledge and information. 
My son looked her straight in the face and said, "Ginty you know all about them were you there at the time?"

Saturday, 26 March 2016

The Haircut

Summer Days and Peace.

Can I begin with an apology to those I know who read this blog even morning. During the next week or so my time of posting may not be as consistent , I am going to be living in my motorhome for the next week and life in the motorhome is far from the usual routine. 

I recently went to the barbers and had a haircut. No big deal I can hear you saying, most people do that on a very regular basis. Well, the last time I had mine cut I was in France and it was June of last year. So the haircut I just had, was a big loss to me, and I am still feeling the cold around my ears and neck.

I tell you this because I was reminded of the story of the ministers son. I was watching a quiz show last night and the girl who won a fair sum of money said that she had just passed her test and wanted a car.

The ministers son had just passed his test and was discussing with his father  the use of the car. It is not a simple as it sounds because for the minister there is often the unexpected need of the car to make an unexpected visit to hospital or a home of a bereaved family. 

A deal was struck between father and son. "You work to bring your grades up." he did not set an impossible improvement but extra study would be required. The other part of the agreement was that he get a haircut. "Then we will talk about the car."

The son thought about it for a bit and the agreement was made. 

After a few weeks the minister spoke to his son. "You are doing well with the extra study son. I also noticed that you have become more regular in your bible study. Shame that you have decided as yet to keep the long hair."

The sone replied, "You know, Dad, I have been thinking about that. I have indeed been looking in the Bible more often and do you know what I have discovered?  Samson had long hair, John the Baptist had long hair, Moses had long hair, and there is a lot of evidence that Jesus also  had long hair.'

The son was feeling pretty pleased with himself he had managed to use Biblical evidence for his actions and was sure to have given his father something to think over. 

The Minister thought for a moment or two, he was impressed with his son and his use of the texts of the Bible to strengthen his argument. 

But he came up with what I am sure you will agree was a wonderful reply.

" Did you notice that they all walked everywhere they went?"

It is never wise to use the thoughts and words of others to strengthen what is really a weak argument to begin with. 

Friday, 25 March 2016

Making a Noise!

The Silent Warrior Waits.

It seems my stories are enjoyed here, yet when I tell them to my friends they just look at me and wonder if I have lost the plot.  I know that as I remember them and on some occasions see the faces of those involved that I find myself smiling and feeling better .

So I have one or two more to share with you this morning.  I have much to do today so this will be a little bit shorter and for that I apologise. 

I have to begin with this little story that had my friends smiling yesterday.

We now have an age of people that seem to find humour in ways that I would never find funny and in some cases cannot understand. One such way is the giving of moonies. Last summer a family were on holiday at a beach resort. As they were heading down to the beach a group of young people drove past.

One of the girls in the back seat of the car thought it would be very funny to stand up and drop her shorts and show her bottom to the world. 

The mother looked at her son, he turned and without thought said to her, "Look mum that girl is not wearing her seat belt!" 

Now that I do find amusing.

A family had been invited to a wedding. They were a family that did not attend church so the two children were a bit unfamiliar with what was expected in the building.

The brother and sister were sitting together between their parents. The four year old began to sing and giggle out loud.

His older sister told hime to be quiet, "You are not supposed to talk out loud in church," she told him

"Why who is going to stop me?" he asked.

His sister pointed to the back of the church and said, "Do you see those two men standing at the door? They are called Hushers."

 Another about making a noise in church.

It was during the first prayer of the church service. This prayer is the prayer of confession where the minister directs the thoughts of the congregation to the past week and where they might have fallen short of the ideals of Christianity. As a minister I use to have a short time of silence and reflection during this prayer.

Just as theme of silence began young Ian sitting with his mother began to whistle loud whistling noises. His mother was to say the least annoyed. Later I learned that when she asked him why he was doing that she got a surprising answer.

He said, " I was praying to God to teach me how to whistle like John can, and just then God answered my prayer and showed me how to."

Now there you go is that not some food for thought to start your day. 

Thursday, 24 March 2016

It is Amazing What Can Happen if you Look Back

Falkland Cross

Stories that happened to you first hand are always the ones that you remember best but I do remember  the number of meetings I attended with Sunday School teacher and others with the elders of the church where stories and events were shared. 

During my time as a minister I was blessed so often to be surrounded by people who seemed to have that wonderful knack of getting children to relax and tell you things exactly how they saw life. My own son was often the cause of many such tales. Always ready with his thoughts and never afraid to share them. 

I also remember fondly the Sunday School teacher who just loved to sit down and rather than just tell a story would gather the children in a circle and sitting on the floor would act out the lesson, such an art. She was the source of many of the stories I recall, fortunately I made notes of those tales. 

Writing this blog brings back many of them even those that were not put to paper. So here are a few more.

The Sunday School lesson was about Lot's wife. The teacher was describing the journey she and Lot were making. "Would you believe it ?" she said, "God had told them not to look back or they would suffer."

The children were intent.

"Now Lot's wife did just what she was told not to do. She looked back and turned into a pillar of salt."

At this point one of the children interrupted.

"My mother did just the same as that when she was driving" he announced with gusto, " and she turned into a telephone pole."

Now after that there is just nowhere left to turn.

 One of those that certainly put me in my place. That son of mine asked me one day why I always bowed my head and seemed to talk to myself before preaching a sermon. I was impressed that he had noticed this. 

I explained to him that what I was in fact doing was asking God to help me preach a very good sermon.

"How come he does not answer Dad?"

 Last one for today involves the same lady as above in the story of Lot's wife.
Once again she was telling the tale for the lesson in her way. It was never just a street people walked along. The street was described in detail. 
So when it came to telling the story of the Good Samaritan, it was not just a man lying at the side of the street. It was a man badly bruised about the face and head. He was bleeding from his nose and mouth. She described in great detail those who looked and walked past.

Building up to the Good Samaritan she said to the children, "What would you have done if you had been there that day and saw this poor man?"
One little girl put up her hand, "I think I would throw up and be sick," she said. 

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Painting Dressing and Drinking???

Warrior Triptych .

Thanks to the person who got in touch and told me that they were throughly enjoying the little stories about children and the things they say. Those I have been sharing avery much based around the church of which I have a few more. I do also have a number from my time as a teacher different in style but nevertheless they still in little moments of thought make me stop and think. 

So let me share one or two more with you.

It was a beautiful Sunday morning and the snow had been falling, as it often did in Shotts,(one of my parishes) when it fell nowhere else. 

One of my Elders had been brining some children to church. This elder played a big part in my taking up art after dabbling over the years. She herself painted, so looked at the landscape through the eyes of the artist. 

On this morning she said to the group of children, "Doesn't it all look so beautiful. It is like an artist had painted this scene just for us." She then went on to say, "Did you know that God painted this just for you?" 

"Yes," said one of the children, "and he did it with his left hand."

The elder was confused so she asked the lad to explain.

"Well said the young lad. Did the minister not tell us in church that Jesus sits on God's right hand."

I remember those Sunday mornings when you saw people heading off to church all carrying their bibles with them. Some of those bibles had little notes kept in them, often used as markers of favourite pages. One or two people pressed flowers or autumn leaves between the pages. I had an old aunt who had some four leaf clovers, superstition and religion hand in hand.

One Sunday a young boy waiting on time to go out of church for Sunday School was leafing through his mothers bible when something fluttered out. He picked it up to look at it. What he saw was an old pressed leaf.

"Mum look at what I have found," he said. 

"What is it said his mother," not really paying much attention.

With a look of joy and wonder he said, "I thinks it is Adam's underwear."

This last little tale I have to tell it not as it happened but the full story as I learned it at a later date.

A member of my church was having an evening meal with her young daughter. The father was not at home so it was just the two of them.

The mother was trying very hard to get the ketchup out of the bottle, the daughter would not eat what they were having without it. 

During this performance the telephone rang. It was me on the phone trying to contact the mother. 

The mother trying so hard with the ketchup told her daughter to answer the telephone.

She answered with the words. "My mum cannot come to the phone to talk to you just now. She's hitting the bottle."

 Well we all might feel like hitting the bottle but when we do this is not really what we have in mind. I hope you have a marvellous day.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Animals, Children and Dog Collars

Summer in France.

Today I am leaving home very early, so my sincere apologies that my blog today will be fairly short. I further apologise that it will be another the same as I have shared this last two days, memories of the words of children. 

I hope you enjoy a third day of those, I am aware that a fair number of you are having little laugh over them. 

One of my parishes was very much a country parish. This meant that some of the children were very aware of the care of animals both pets and farm animals. I had a dog, a number of aquarium fish in a number of tanks. I had a variety of hens and bantams numbering around about forty. I also had two geese and a number of ducks. But I was still a mere amateur alongside some of the children who I met around the parish.

I was chaplain in a number of schools. Naturally, I was properly dressed and wearing my clerical collar, better known in our parts as a dog collar. I was being introduced into a school for my first visit.
A little boy kept staring at me throughout the whole assembly. Finally, I asked the little boy what he was staring at.
The little boy pointed to my neck. Rather slow on the uptake I realised what he was looking and pointing at.  I  asked the boy his name,  "Do you know why I am wearing this?"
The boy nodded his head yes, he replied, "It kills fleas and ticks for up to three months."
This story was not to do with parish work. It happened in the gym.
A young lad got lost and found himself in the women's locker room. 
When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks, with ladies grabbing towels and running for cover. Yes that happened at one time, now it is much more acceptable.
The boy watched in amazement and then asked, 'What's the matter, haven't you ever seen a  boy before?
One of the young girls, a child of one of the members of my church came home from school one day. Her mother asked her, "How did you get on at school today?"
Without any thought the young girl replied, "I am wasting my time there. I cannot read and I cannot write  and they will not let me talk."
One last one to make your day get off to a good start.
An elder of the church was going out to a very special function. When his son saw him put on his kilt and dress jacket socks and shoes. He looked at his father and said. "Dad you know you should not wear that kilt and jacket."
"Why is that son?" asked the elder.
" You know that every time you wear that kilt and jacket you get a sore head in the morning."
Have another great day. 

The Biscuit.

The Categorical Imperative.

I was very pleasantly surprised to have so many messages yesterday telling me that friends go a laugh at my little stories of the things children say. 

I could be tempted to put together a collection of those. 

I remember when not far from my parish there was a well known Scottish biscuit manufacturer. A large number of females were employed in this factory. 

One of my church members was a teacher in the local school. It was not a wealthy area and there was a lot of real poverty around. This teacher was concerned about one of her pupils. 

This pupil was not from a wealthy family, far from it, and yet every morning she appeared in class with a well known biscuit for her morning coffee break. This teacher wondered how to say in a nice way that she had to stop.  After some discussion the words to say were agreed.

The teacher said to the pupil in a very kind way to tell her mother that she was very grateful for her kindness but that she really should not be spending money on her.

The next day the pupil came in and handed her the biscuit. The teacher looked at her, "It is alright the pupil said. My mum brings them out in her knickers."

A very honest little seven year old told her mother that on the way home from Sunday School, Billy Williams had kissed her.

"How did that happen?" the concerned mother ready to head off to the home of Billy to complain. 

"It wasn't easy," said the seven year old, "but three girls helped me to catch him."

After a children's story based on the Ten Commandments and explains what we meant by honour your father and mother. I think it must have been "Mothers Day."

One little girl asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?" A young lad before a word could be spoken shouted out, "Thou shalt not kill."

 Last for today.  A young lad had gone to visit the girl who lived a few doors away from him. The girl had told them her cat had just given birth to three kittens.

On returning home the boy was excited and was telling his mother about seeing them. He told her, "There were three kittens, two boys and one girl."  The mother asked, "How did you know that?"

He replied, "Jane's Dad picked them up and looked underneath,I think its printed on the bottom."

Have a good day as usual. Smile. Such open honesty is marvellous. 

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Words of Wisdom.


Today is my sons birthday.Yesterday we all gathered as a family to go for a beautiful walk in the hills before having a meal at my daughters finishing off the day with a family board game. A wonderful family day.  My daughter gave my son a birthday card with the words, "We always knew when he was going to say something intelligent or witty because he always started the sentence with, " My sisters says."

Such is indeed the relationship between them that even now they tease each other.  Of course at such a time there are stirred up memories of the past, some I was unaware of. Some of the well kept secrets of escapades they got up to together. 

Then there are the stories of some of the things Ross said and did because like his father he had a mind of his own and was not afraid to let you know that. Like the day he interrupted my sermon to tell me he was leaving the church because he was bored.  Or the time my friend was trying to get him in a swimming pool to learn to swim. He said, "Not going in there. You can drown in there." My pal pointed out that earlier he had been asking down a very steep hill on ice and snow and that he could break his neck doing that. He replied, " Had I known that I might not of done. But you failed to tell me that."

So today here are one or two other beauties from children I have gathered over the years. 

During a morning service, we arrived at the children section. The children were all at the front of the church. One of them had on what looked like a lovely new dress. That is a lovely dress, is it your new Easter dress?  "Yes said the little girl," and in a voice that could be heard through the microphone, "My mum says it is a right bugger to wash and iron."

An honest seven-year-old admitted calmly to her parents that Billy Brown had kissed her after class. 

"How did that happen?" gasped her mother. It wasn't easy," admitted the young lady, "but three girls helped me catch him."

A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales. 

The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small. 

The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale. 

Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible. 

The little girl said, "When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah". 

The teacher asked, "What if Jonah went to hell?" 

The little girl replied, "Then you ask him".

If you want to ask for an honest opinion about that new dress or the shoes you have just bought. Then ask a child and as sure as hang you will get an honest answer. 

Saturday, 19 March 2016


The Warrior Waits.

The above painting as you can see is called, The Warrior Waits. it is one of a series of painting I completed and sold on this theme. I enjoyed thinking up different situations to put the warrior in. Some of my  "friends" on FB now own these paintings and at least two of them are in the USA. 

This one, while painting it, made me wonder what it was he was waiting for. He looks so alone. For the context of this page today i wonder if he was waiting for his "friends."

Once again I have had a discussion with somebody who really does not like Facebook. They make such fun of those of us who talk about the friends we have on FB. 

"The cannot be friends, you hardly know them and they could be just anybody at all."

They do have a point, and there is a case to be made. I recently helped a good friend of mine to set up a page.  I explained to him how it all worked and how to add people. I showed him how to use messenger. 

We took his picture and put it on his profile and he was pleased and ready to get started.  His family were very happy to see him there and quickly signed up as his "friends".

Then, a few days later, he came round to see me. There are folk on my FB that I really do not want to see. There are people there that I do not know and would rather that they were not in anyway associated with me.  

"What do I do ?" he asked. 

I taught him how to not just delete them but to also block them.  he is now still on FB and much more cautiously he is communicating with family and friends, and making new friends into the bargain.

I have to say, that I was a late starter on FB but I have made some very genuine friends. There those who encouraged me to write this blog and quietly tell me what they really think of what I have written. Those who do not agree with me and feel to be friendly enough to share that with me.  

Yes I have made some good friends here and they know who they are.

But making friends online is a bit like making friends in real life. Sometimes we will be misled and sometimes we will be surprised by their generosity and support. But as in real life we need to go with care.

So now let me get to my little tale for today. Food for thought and smile to pass along.

This is an article that was sent into the editor of a small local newspaper. I have printed it in full. 

Dear Sir: 
I haven't got a computer, but I was told about Facebook and Twitter and am trying to make friends outside Facebook and Twitter while applying the same principles.

Every day, I walk down the streets and tell passers-by what I have eaten, how I feel, what I have done the night before and what I will do for the rest of the day. 

I give them pictures of my wife, my daughter, my dog and me gardening and on holiday, spending time by the pool. 

I also listen to their conversations, tell them I 'like' them and give them my opinion on every subject that interests me…whether it interests them or not.

And it works. I have four people following me; two police officers, a social worker and a psychiatrist.

To all my "friends" who will read this today. have a great day and may your  "friends" feel blessed to call you friend. Be a good one. 

Friday, 18 March 2016

From the Mouths of.........

This little painting was done on my IPad and I have made a start painting it in pastels for a friend. I have also got another two dog portraits in progress and maybe I should make a great effort to have them all completed before doing any other painting. 

Telling it as it is, I keep getting sidetracked. This has never happened to me before, to this extent. MY mind seems to be in a tizzy. I go out to paint one thing and end up working on something else. At the present moment I must have about four pastels and three canvas all in a state of progress , the only thing is progress is being delayed. 

I need to get back to seeing life as it is and stop the procrastinating. No such behaviour from children. 

Let me share two little stories that are almost sure to bring a smile to your day. 

The first is about a little lad who had been to Sunday School. On arrival home his mother asked him what he had been told at Sunday School. "Nothing ," he replied.

"You did not get nothing," said his mother.

"Well, "said the young lad. He then went on to tell the following

We got a story about a man called Moses. He was leading a big gang of people out of Egypt. The Egyptians did not want him to do this so they sent the army after them. They were chasing them with tanks and  guns. They were catching them up and trying to fire bullets at them, and blast them with bombs.

Moses reached a big river. He got his men to build a daily bridge over the river.  When it was built they crossed over.

When the Egyptian army came they started to follow them. Moses ordered his men to blow up the bridge and drown all the Egyptians. They did and killed them all.

"You never got told that," said his mother. 

"No," said the young lad. "But if I told you what they did tell me you would never have believed it."

The other story is much shorter and even more to the point.

A teacher was reading the story The Three Little Pigs to her class. She came to the part of the story where first pig was trying to gather the building materials for his home.

She read: " So the pig went up to the man with the wheelbarrow full of straw and said: 
"Pardon me sir, but may I have some of that straw to build my house?'"

The teacher paused then asked the class: "And what do you think the man said?"

One little boy raised his hand and said very matter-of-factly ..."I think the man would have said,  "Well, I'll be damned! A talking pig!'"

The teacher had to leave the room.

So there you are. From the mouths of children life in all its rawness. maybe I need to get a bit more childlike and get on with some order in my life and finish those paintings one at a time, no more nonsense and changing my mind.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Put Your Brain Into Gear.

Along The Path.

How many times in life I have said something and within seconds realised that I would have been better not saying it. I never ever intend to offend but my forthright expression of what I believe does often lead me into hot water.

It is such a blessing to have friends who know me so well and are aware of my passions that they forgive me. I have over the years of my life become an expert in the art of forgiveness, and my apologies are always honestly made and meant. 

Today I want to share two little stories with you, each have the same message and I hope each make you smile and also remind me and those like me, "To put my brain into gear before I put my mouth into action."

A young man tells the story of his early days at school.

The teacher asked us what our favourite animal was, and I said, "Fried chicken."
She said I wasn't funny, but she couldn't have been right, because everyone else in the class laughed.

My parents told me to always be truthful and honest, and I am. Fried chicken is my favorite animal. I told my dad what happened, and he said my teacher was probably a vegetarian . He said they love animals very much.

I do, too. Especially chicken, pork, and beef.

Anyway, my teacher sent me to see the headteacher with a note. I told him what happened, and he laughed, too. Then he told me not to do it again.

The next day in class my teacher asked me what my favourite live animal was. I told her it was chicken. She asked me why. I told her it was because you could make them into fried chicken.

She sent me back to the headteachers office again. He laughed, and told me not to do it again. I don't understand. My parents taught me to be honest, but my teacher doesn't like it when I am.

Today, my teacher asked us to tell her what famous person we admire most.

 I told her, "Colonel Sanders."

Guess where I ended up again.

The second story is a very true one and how I felt for that young student teacher.

Late one December one of the deputy headteachers put out a note to all  teachers, "Let’s all write out New Year’s resolutions about how we can be better teachers and I’ll put them on the staff bulletin board."

The teachers agreed, and when the resolutions were posted, they all gathered around the bulletin board to read them.

The young student  teacher suddenly went into a fit of anger.

"He didn’t put up my resolution. It was one of the first ones submitted. He doesn’t care about me. That just shows what it’s like around here." On and on she ranted and raved.

The Assistant Headteacher, who overheard this, and  was mortified. He hadn’t meant to exclude her resolution. Quickly rummaging through the papers on his desk, he found hers and immediately posted it on the bulletin board.

The resolution read, "I resolve not to let little things upset me anymore."

It is always wise to put the brain into gear. 

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Men and Women so Different!

"Huh, girls why are they so different from us?" This is the question I overheard yesterday as I passed the bus stop. Two lads waiting for the school bus discussing the very important topic of the other sex. 

It is so true there are so many differences between men and women and how they see life, and those two young lads have a great deal to learn. 

So this morning a light hearted and humorous little tale to brighten your day. We might all need something to brighten our day today when you listen to the predictions for the Chancellors Budget to be delivered today. If half of the predictions are correct, then as sure as there is day and night, in one way or another  I feel sure my wallet will feel the weight of his pronunciations.

My apologies to those reading this who do not live in the Uk and will not have the Budget to face, but then in the USA you have the run in to the election of a president to contend with and so much of that would make you weep.

So now to the tale.

Let's say a man named Fred is attracted to a woman named Martha. 

He asks her out to a show; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.

Then, one evening when they're driving home, a thought occurs to Martha, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: "Do you realise that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?"
And then, there is silence in the car.
To Martha, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.
And Fred is thinking: Gosh. Six months.
And Martha is thinking: But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily towards, I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage?  Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment?

Do I really even know this person?
And Fred is thinking: ...so that means it was...let's see...February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the garage, which means...let me check the mileometer...Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change and service. 
And Martha is thinking: He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed - even before I sensed it - that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected.
And Fred is thinking: And I'm going to  have them look at the gearbox again. I don't care what those morons say, it's still not changing right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It's summer, and this thing is shifting like a two ton truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves £400 for the last service.
And Martha is thinking: He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure.
And Fred is thinking: They'll probably say it's only a 90-day warranty on parts and not on labour.
And Martha is thinking: Maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.
And Fred is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give them a warranty. I'll take their warranty and stick it right up their...
"Fred," Martha says aloud.
"What?" says Fred, startled.
"Please don't torture yourself like this," she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. "Maybe I should never have...oh dear, I feel so..."(She breaks down, sobbing.)
"What?" says Fred.
"I'm such a fool," Martha sobs. "I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse."
"There's no horse?" says Fred.
"You think I'm a fool, don't you?" Martha says.
"No!" says Fred, glad to finally know the correct answer.
"It's just that...it's that I...I need some time," Martha says.
(There is a 15-second pause while Fred, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)
"Yes," he says. (Martha, deeply moved, touches his hand.)
"Oh, Fred, do you really feel that way?" she says.
"What way?" says Fred.
"That way about time," says Martha.
"Oh," says Fred. "Yes." (Martha turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)
"Thank you, Fred," she says.
"Thank you," says Fred.
Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn, whereas when Fred gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Salt and Shake, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a repeat of his favourite film, The Searchers.

A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it's better if he doesn't think about it.
The next day Martha will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyse everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification.
They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it either.
Meanwhile, Fred, while playing golf one day with a mutual friend of his and Martha's, will pause just before putting, frown, and say: "Tom, did Martha ever own a horse?"
And that is the difference between men and women. Have a good day and smile just a little.