The Life and Experiences of a Layman by Charles Boller

Pages 138 - 142


daughter had inadvertently mentioned my birthday. When we went to table on March 9th there was a gigantic, costly bouquet of flowers on my table with a card attached from Mrs. Robertson of Detroit, Michigan, president of the Methodist Mission Society in America and Europe. As she entered the hotel she immediately spotted the old German birthday boy. Is it any wonder that like spirits felt drawn together in the first moment of their meeting? This distinguished woman had traveled to Germany and loved the landscape. For her it was a great pleasure, while we were staying at the hotel, to confer in the German language. Various other educated Americans participated and were proud when they could speak a few words in German.

There were twelve gentlemen in the hotel who were over eighty years old. I've written down their names and addresses as well as their birthdays. They gave me express invitations to visit them. The majority were old, rich Pennsylvania bankers, merchants, etc.

Two days after my birthday one of the old gentlemen, by the name of Mayer, came and said in Pennsylvania German, "I see that you celebrated


"a birthday. I would have gladly created a verse but I wasn't sure what to say to you." "Oh, you could do that now." I took out my book and told him, "Write in in here." "Indeed, I can't write Pennsylvania German," he answered. "Then say it and I will write it down," I responded. "I'll just do that," and then he said:
         "I wish you a happy new year
         And a head full of red hair,
         Shave the head and sell the hair
         You'll have money the entire year."

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59. Rev. P. Späth's Writing Talent

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On April 23, 1908 at the conference in Rochester I wrote a note to Brother Späth, which reached him as he sat at his place in the conference hall. The note contained the following:

"Brother Späth,
I'm going to visit your restauranteur, Charles Bornheim, after the session. If you would like, you and your colleague may go with me in the Devil's Wheelbarrow.
                                    Chas. Boller"


I saw that he read the note with a grin. He immediately wrote on the reverse side of the note the following and sent it back to me without turning his head around towards me.

"C. Boller! Good Friend:

         While driving may be lovely
         That wheelbarrow is ugly,
         For Satan rides within!
         But if you're going too,
         I'll gladly drive with you,
         For all will be well.
                                    Späth"

Comment: When the automobile first appeared, a bishop of our church called the automobile the "Devil's Wheelbarrow" for certain reasons. Since then he has learned of the practical value of the auto and changed his opinion.

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60. The Lord Jesus often spoke in Parables

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The Walnut

Two boys had found a nut under a walnut tree. One had seen it first; the other was the first to pick it up. For this reason each claimed the nut his own. Thus erupted


name-calling and quarreling. "The nut is mine; I saw it first." "No, it's mine; I'm the one who picked it up." "If my big brother were here, I'd show you whose nut it is. Just wait, we'll fight you." Neither wished to give in. Finally a third person came along the way. He seemed to be quite intelligent and he spoke, "What's this dispute about?" "Oh, he won't give me my nut back." The other boy said the same. Things became so heated that they went for each other's hair.

"Listen to me, boys," the third person stated, "if you're willing to entrust me with the thing, I think I can settle this for you in a way where each will be happy. And it won't cost you a cent." The two boys thought that here was a good and intelligent man and they were quite content that each would receive what was right. They figured that the smart man had come at just the right time. This was no coincidence. "Give me the nut, you little hot head," he said. He looked around for a stone and hit the nut with it and gave each boy half the shell. He himself ate the nut inside right before their eyes.


61. Parable of the Hidden Treasure in the Field

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Matthew 13, 31 - 33; 44 - 52

In Dresden there is the so-called "Green Vault." The treasure and jewels of the Saxon royal family are protected there. And there you'll find a silver egg, which at an earlier time a queen received as a gift. If one presses the spring, it opens and a golden ball lies within, which represents the yoke. Within this ball, if you press the spring, there is a bird. When you press the wing, it opens and a crown with precious gemstones appears. Press the spring on the crown, the top pops off and therein lies a diamond ring. Thus too God's word concerning the kingdom of heaven is one treasure inside another. The more you seek, the more you find.

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62. A Bitter Experience

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It was on April 8 that we visited my son-in-law, J. J. Siegrist. "Father," he said, "I congratulate you on what I've heard about you today.


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Text provided by Lockwood Library, State University of New York at Buffalo, BX8080.B65

Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks