A.C. Snow

Of lawyer fees and crying babies – Snow

When I read the headline announcing that UNC-CH, i.e., North Carolina’s taxpayers, have already spent $5.6 million in attorney fees relating to the school’s fake classes scandal, I kept expecting someone to yell, “April fool!”

“See Mom, it’s all your fault!” I thought ruefully. “I could be raking in some of that lawyer loot were it not for you.”

In the long ago, I had planned to be a lawyer. But as I was heading off to Mars Hill Junior College, my sainted mother implored me not to choose that profession.

“Son,” she said, “don’t you know that the Bible says that it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a lawyer to enter the Kingdom of God?”

I later learned she had misquoted Matthew 19:24 and that the scripture actually refers to a rich man, not an attorney, although they’re often financially synonymous in real life. This is borne out by the gargantuan fees being charged in the UNC case.

Incidentally, I was grown before I learned that the biblical “needle” through which the camel could not pass was a small gate in Jerusalem, not the eye of a needle Mom used in patching my overalls in childhood.

Lawyers’ chances at Heaven? About the same as journalists, I’m guessing.

Baby ban

Undoubtedly it required uncommon courage for a Mooresville restauranteur to ban children 5 and under from its premises. It will be interesting to see how his daring gamble affects his bottom line.

I like the little people. Usually there are two or three at the restaurant where I meet a friend for coffee once or twice a week. Youngsters that age are a curious sort. And they bore easily.

Sometimes I glance up to discover a little one in a nearby booth giving me the eye. Usually, the children wave tentatively. When I wave back, they smile but turn shyly away. Occasionally, one will stop at our table, stand there and just inspect our faces and the food on our plates. If we speak, they dash away like frightened fawns.

I’ll admit that my spirits are lifted by these brief brushes with innocence.

More often than not, it’s the babes in arms or bucket seats that create problems.

Example: At a popular Raleigh restaurant, my wife and I were among a large group waiting to be seated.

A baby in swaddling clothes was wailing at the top of its voice. Its cries echoed throughout the lobby, causing some patrons to cover their ears. The mother seemed totally unperturbed.

Finally, a friend dining with us walked over and asked the mother to take the crying infant outside, which she did without comment.

My friend’s action provoked mixed reaction among the waiting diners. Some smiled or nodded in approval. Others frowned and were obviously critical.

It will be some time before “No Babies” signs are as prevalent as “No Smoking” notices in restaurants. After all, crying babies may be hard on the ears but, unlike cigarette smoke, they are not hazardous to our health.

Ecclesiastical protocol

It’s a question I’ve often wanted to ask ministers: How do you cope with parishioners who sleep through your sermons?

I recall a personal experience in which, during a speaking engagement at N.C. State University, I noticed that a gentleman on the back row of the small lecture room had fallen asleep.

No matter how hard I tried to concentrate on my message, I became more and more distracted as I noticed the fellow leaning precariously off the edge of his chair. I finally asked someone sitting near him to nudge the napper, who by that time was snoring audibly.

Rip Van Winkle, snapped awake in surprise with a slight show of embarrassment. He paid rapt attention for a few moments before drifting back to dreamland.

A close friend of mine is given to napping in church, although he is fond of the minister.

On a recent Sunday, he had to awaken himself a couple of times.

At the end of the service, along with other members, he pumped the minister’s hand and said enthusiastically, “Reverend, I really enjoyed your sermon today!”

“Yes, so I noticed,” the pastor said ruefully.