I don’t know how we got there. I never do, I just look around and there we are, sitting outside having another one of those conversations. We were sitting out on our patio enjoying a recent spate of cooler, meaning not over 95 degree, weather in central Texas. Marty really likes sitting outside and just soaking up a few rays. Invariably, without the competition from the TV or other distractions we talk, we actually kind of dialogue. Somehow, some way the subject of heaven and hell became the topic du jour.
Since I’m something of a provocateur, I looked at Marty and asked, “Do you still believe in heaven and hell….as a real place?”
Marty replies, “Yes, don’t you?”
“Not so much anymore,” I said. “I don’t know about places like that. I kind of think of heaven as something we can’t and don’t understand.”
Marty, “Well I still do.”
I just can’t resist so I continue, “Do you think you are going to heaven some day?”
“I don’t know.” Marty says.
A little surprised I asked her, “What about hell, you plan on visiting there?”
“Not unless I have to, no.”
About this time a small wind blew through our back yard and moved some of our wind chimes enough for them to make their music. We both love wind chimes and the sort of natural tones they drift into the wind. Before Marty got sick, right after her father died, she told me when she heard wind chimes it was like her father was talking to her. Consequently I bought more wind chimes.
As the wind blew and caused the chiming she looked at me and asked, “What do you think he’s telling us now?”
“I imagine he’s telling us he’s up in heaven telling jokes and bossing everyone around. I can just imagine you and your dad in heaven telling jokes.”
Marty mulled this for a minute and said, “I don’t think so, my humor isn’t really all that heavenly.” She’s right, her humor has always been just a tad bit blue, actually a lot blue, but I suspect God would be fine with that because Marty can be really funny and really ribald.
In her previous life Marty was an inveterate story teller and heavy smoker. Smoking was her personal demon and she still feels guilt for having smoked all those years. She wasn’t one of those aggressive, in your face kind of smokers, but she liked to smoke and it was something she did not let go easily. She hasn’t smoked since January of 2006 but she still won’t admit she has quit. She plans on starting again the first chance she gets. All of which leads us to smoking and heaven, or smoking in heaven
Marty, “When I get to heaven I’m going to start smoking again.”
“No, you can’t do that in heaven,” I said. “They don’t have smoking there.”
“Yes they do,” she insisted. “There’s bound to be a smoking section there.”
Okay, you can’t tell dirty jokes but you can smoke, as long as you’re standing in the right spot, maybe like the smoking cage at the Las Vegas airport where they put all of the smokers in a glass room so the non-smokers can point and ridicule. I can see it now, sitting on heavenly clouds in a smoke filled glass room puffing away on your Marlboros with St. Peter calling out, “smoke’em if you got’em.”
I don’t know if any of this is right and I don’t plan on finding out any time soon, but I bet if you are in heaven’s smoking section they will be telling dirty jokes and laughing.