One of our area ministers stopped by the newspaper today, and when he mentioned something about pastors being only human I immediately thought of a quote by the late Grady Nutt.
That led me to reminisce about Grady Nutt, and to look and see if any of his old albums had been rereleased on CD. I couldn’t find any, and that saddens me to no end. If I could find a copy of whatever album “The Tea Totallers” appeared on, I would buy it in a heartbeat.
The Rev. Grady Nutt was a Southern Baptist preacher who became a standup comedian, with his faith, his family and his occupation as his subject matter. For a while, he was a regular on “Hee Haw” (he was unpretentious enough to appear on “Hee Haw,” but don’t let that scare you off). He talked about how pastors were only human; that was the quote that came up this morning. Grady said that when a pastor hits his thumb with a hammer, he does not say “Verily and behold, I have slammed it.”
Grady even made a TV situation comedy pilot about life as a pastor. It wasn’t picked up and was burned off one summer during the 1970s as a special. Grady died, much too young, in an airplane crash.
The story “The Tea Totallers” takes a long time to tell and only Grady could do it justice. But it has to do with a minister’s family which is hosting the family of a visiting evangelist for lunch. One of the children spills a glass of iced tea all over the tablecloth, and the mother — who has been slaving away to make everything spotless and perfect for the special guests — begins to tremble as if she’s about to have an apoplectic fit. The father, however, stares her down until he has her full attention — and then reaches out and intentionally knocks over his own glass. Pretty soon, everyone at the table, including the mother and the bewildered visitng pastor, is gleefully knocking over tea glasses. It’s a perfect Mary-and-Martha parable about what’s really important in life, as opposed to the details about which we often obsess.
Even funnier are stories that I recall about Grady being forced to counsel a grieving widow in the only unoccupied room in her house — the bathroom — and about a baptism by immersion gone terribly awry.
Someone please, please get this man’s material onto CD. The world still needs him.