Patrick Willoughby was having an extremely intense, mostly one-way, conversation on a park bench with a little old lady dressed in a flannel overcoat and black rubber boots. The grandmother politely yawned in her cupped hand as she listened.
“Now, you’ve heard of Survivor Man, haven’t you?”
Patrick was wide-eyed, excited, thrilled to be sharing his idea. The overcast Sunday morning skies did not deter the young man’s excitement.
The trapped conversant sighed deeply, straining her eyes in hope of seeing her daughter.
“No, no I haven’t,” she answered.
Patrick tilted his head sideways in exaggerated amazement and disbelief.
The elderly woman turned her attention towards Patrick’s shocked, comic-like expression and had to stifle a laugh with a mock cough.
“Excuse me, please, I have a little cold,” she said. “ I take it this Survivor Man is somebody I should know about?”
Patrick was dumbfounded, not believing his ears. “Well, yes! The show is on the Discovery Channel.”
“Oh, that’s why,” the little old lady mumbled.
“A guy gets dropped in remote parts of the world for a week and has to survive off the land.”
Looking at her wristwatch, Patrick’s new friend drummed her fingers on her knee.
“Hmmm, no kidding. I used to go to remote Bingo Parlors.”
Patrick scowled. “I don’t like Bingo.”
The lady politely smiled as she reached for a cell phone in her coat pocket.
“Excuse me please, while I call my daughter. Annie…yes I’m already in the park, sitting next to a young man wearing an orange hunting jacket and a cheese-head hat. A Green Bay Packer fan I guess. Yes, harmless, but please hurry.”
The lady placed the phone back in her handbag.
“Like I was saying,” Patrick continued without missing a beat, “my idea is a show called, “Survivor Evangelist”, where a man gets dropped in different parts of the unsaved world without any evangelistic tools: no Bibles, hymnals, tracts, movies, or tapes--and has to share the gospel with what he finds.”
“Now I could listen to him,” the grandmother stated. “I’m not one for all those props and gimmicks. In fact, I haven’t been to church in a long time...”
Patrick was nodding his head really fast, animatedly trying to wait for the woman to quit talking.
“But, did you like the idea?”
“Yes, young man, that’s what I was alluding to. I liked the idea, thought it was interesting, but why does he have to go to different parts of the world? Why not here in Chicago, or Miami, or New York? There are plenty of people needing evangelizing here.”
Patrick sat back quickly and folded his arms in deep thought.
“You might be on to something. Hmm, what is your name?
“My name is Maggie. And yours?
“Patrick! Oh, I love that name. I’m Irish you know.”
“No, no I didn’t know that, Maggie. So let me ask you, if Survivor Evangelist was dropped in the middle of Chicago, lets say, and found this hat in a trashcan, how do you think he would use it to evangelize?”
Patrick handed the cheese-hat to Maggie.
“Well, I would say it represents faith. You know, it might have been discarded and have some holes, but found again, is ready to be worn for all to see, cheering for Jesus.”
“Wow, great answer,” Patrick blurted as he peeled off his coat.
“Here, what would say if you found this jacket?”
“Hmmm?” Maggie thought out loud, “It is a brightly colored hunting jacket. I would say it’s the perfect coat for an evangelist who would be hunting for souls and not bashful who knows.”
Patrick stood up and started clapping his hands in approval.
“Very, very good, Maggie. Do you think these props would help a survivor evangelist?”
“Yes, very much so. In fact I can’t wait to tell my daughter and friends about this lovely encounter. The hat has me considering my faith. I think your idea is wonderful. I have to admit, I thought you were a little nuts at first, but who wouldn’t be thrilled with an enterprise like this?”
“I’m very glad you said that, Maggie, because there is a new show called the Survivor Evangelist and I’m its host, Patrick Willoughby.”
Maggie’s eyes began to water as she watched a cameraman walk out of some nearby bushes.
“Thank you,” she said, “but I don’t need…evangelizing…do I? Oh my.”
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