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On one occasion during my college days in Peterborough I was invited to the Dean of Students residence for a social gathering. Hoping to find food aplenty I was disappointed to see the large dining room table containing a lonely plate of bagels. I quickly grabbed one, but my first bite was more of a crunch. Rock hard. Dry as a bone.

What to do? Trash it? What if I’m noticed by the lady of the house? Not good. Another bite and plenty of chewing. I found a quiet corner to sit and chew that thing into digestible form. I slowly finished it off. Unsatisfying but consumed.

Slowly, more students arrived. When I returned to the dining room the bagels were lonely no more. Food had arrived and plenty of it!

We gathered around the table. It was time to say grace. Silence. Then came the surprise. “O my, there’s a bagel missing from my centerpiece”, observed our startled hostess.

Unashamedly, I spoke up; “That was me. I ate it.” As if to say, “isn't that what you do with bagels? On a table? At a party?”

She looked at me in horror; “Fred, that's my centerpiece. You ate my centerpiece!”

Everyone laughed.

I laughed too.

The next day everyone in college seemed to know the story.

When the following Christmas arrived, I purchased a brand new shiny, shellacked bagel, had it gift wrapped and presented it to my gracious Dean.

As the good book says, “laughter does us good, like medicine.”

Have you ever thought you had figured out what belonged at the center of your life only to be mistaken?

I’m a pastor. I don't have all the answers, but I have some. And I know someone who wrote the book.

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