Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Thursday, April 11, 2019


I was having coffee with the Crumble Bums yesterday. I call us that because we meet at the Crumble bakery each W morning for coffee, and as a play on “stumble bums,” of course. Except it was full of other bums [1], so we went to the Starbucks at the monstrously large Kroger store near the mall. They have a very nice lounge-dining area.

Glenn was missing, having a CT scan, but Charlie and Tony were there, and they have lived in Bloomington forever, and so know everyone, and introduced me to Mark when he came by. “John’s a great story teller,” they told him.

That is interesting. I’ve lived here only four years, and they’ve heard me speak only three or so times, but they consider story teller to be my identity.

I had that reputation even in high school, when I wrote for the “Oak Barks” school newspaper. At that time I thought I wanted to be a writer. That was because I loved stories, and you write stories, don’t you?

The story telling reputation followed me into ministry. When I left the Wesley Foundation [campus ministry] at IL State U to do doctoral work at U of Iowa, the WF students gave me a little loving cup inscribed with “World’s Greatest Story Teller.”

I’ve always had that reputation as a story teller. But I think it’s not quite accurate.

I’ve been fortunate through the years to hear and experience a lot of great stories. I’m not really a great story teller. I just tell great stories.

John Robert McFarland

1] Wi-Fi free-loaders is an increasing problem for coffee shops. As I looked over Crumble yesterday, there were many four-person tables occupied by one person, with a laptop and one cup of coffee. Especially since Crumble gives free refills, they lose a lot of money when a single person is occupying a four-person table. And those single lap-top workers usually stay for a long time, too. I’m sympathetic both with the users of the tables and the owners of the coffee shops. I have no solution; just pointing out the problem. That’s what old guys do best.


  1. Great story teller, or teller of great stories?
    Either way, I love to hear you tell them.