Category Archives: Humor

Romance and River Cruises…Bomb Voyage!

Here’s a glimpse back to my days as Dan “Max” Mayhew, a humor columnist. I thought Valentine’s Day (and Jody’s birthday) might be a good time to reminisce about my foibles and “foo-pahs” in the area of romance. Enjoy…


February is a painful month for me. It always reminds me of how many times I have blundered into the romantic abyss. Allow me to recall one of my most brilliant misfires…

Advanced Planning

Maybe I should have known better, but I really thought this one through. It had romance written all over it: A warm summer night during the Rose Festival and a quiet dinner cruise on the Willamette River for our anniversary. I could picture the lights along the waterfront; Judy on the deck, wind playing in her hair; the sparkle of her eyes in the moonlight. Magic!

Now watch closely as I make this evening disappear.

It was a case of overconfidence based on the fact that I had been painstakingly careful. I knew that the fates always conspire against me, so I took extra care to thwart any unforeseen circumstance.   This night was going to go off without a hitch or my name wasn’t “Max” (and it wasn’t. It still isn’t. Think about it. If you had these things happen to you, you wouldn’t use your real name either!)

I called the reservation number a week ahead of time.  I verified the boarding information. I paid in advance so we wouldn’t have to worry about the bill. I checked out Waterfront Park on a business trip to scope out the situation. I had covered every possible eventuality. Romance was in the bud and ready to bloom! Nothing could possibly go worng—make that, wrong.

So, the magic night arrived. We strolled, hand in hand along the river among the laughing crowd at the Rose Festival Fun Center. We smiled cheerily at the tattooed teenagers with railroad spikes through their eyebrows. We exchanged knowing glances as we watched children nag their parents for another fifty dollars for the carnival rides. We walked gratefully away from “The Zipper” as somebody’s kid staggered off looking kind of green, and yarked on his shoes

The night was electric.

Eventually we wound up along the seawall where the Rose Festival ships were moored. I paused. Judy looked inquiringly at me as if to ask, “why have we stopped here next to the Corps of Engineers dredge?”

I redirected her attention to the sleek vessel moored next to it

“Shall we go aboard?” I asked with a romantic swagger.

Bomb Voyage!

On board a member of the crew who was checking the reservation list greeted us: “Name, please?”         

“Mayhew for two,” I announced.

 “Mayhew?” The host rejoined.

“Mayhew,” I repeated.

The host scanned his clipboard for a moment. “I’m sorry. We have no Mayhew on our list.”

No problem. I had planned for that, too. In my pocket I had a piece of paper on which I had carefully written our reservation number. I took it out and read it to him. He looked puzzled, and then assured me he would look into the matter. After seating us, he vanished only to return a few moments later. Not only were we not on the passenger list, but the number I gave him was not even a part of their reservation system. Apparently our reservations were for the cruise a quarter mile up the waterfront. Not to worry, though, he would be happy to accommodate us.

The violins that had been playing in my head suddenly sounded like kazoos. I had a no-refund reservation on a boat that I wasn’t on while I was about to pay for a second cruise on a boat that I hadn’t even booked reservations for. For this kind of money we could cruise Cozumel!

For a split second I considered grabbing Judy’s hand and dashing off the boat to try and catch the other cruise before it pulled away from the dock at 6:30. But then I imagined us running across the dock, looking like Ivan and Olga trying to catch the last freighter out of Murmansk, leaping across the widening gap between the ship and the pier, and clinging to the gunnels like sweaty barnacles. We stayed put and spent the rest of our anniversary wondering if we were going to need to look into a second mortgage.       

So much for a magic evening.

 So how could this happen? I guess it was because of the Rose Festival. It seems that the reservation phone number I called is in Topeka and they didn’t know about all those ships moored in at the seawall. The girls in Topeka didn’t know their boat was parked somewhere else in order to avoid a confrontation with the US Navy. They didn’t know so they didn’t tell me. 

Abra Kadabra! Poof!  Bye-bye to romance, that might have been.

This year we’re going to Safeway for Chinese food from the deli. It’s safer. 

The beginning of guilt and shame

Jody and I are working with Cal and Julie Tadema on a year-long presentation called “Marriage Rx.” I’m going to start referencing some of the material here. Below is a clip we’re using for the section we’re calling “Naked and Unashamed” (yeah, yeah. I know it sounds a little weird, but it’s not quite what you think. So, just stop whatever you were thinking!) Anyway, the beginning of the teaching is how guilt and shame became normal for God’s creation. This clip illustrates how guilt and shame tend to cause alienation and separation. 

Notes from Sunday School

Now, some kid’s thoughts on Angels, contributed by my friend, Chuck…


I only know the names of two angels, Hark and Harold.

Gregory ~ age 5

Everybody’s got it all wrong. Angels don’t wear halos anymore. I forget why, but scientists are working on it.

Olive ~ age 9

It’s not easy to become an angel!  First, you die. Then you go to Heaven.  And then there’s still the flight training to go through. And then you got to agree to wear those angel clothes.

Matthew ~ age 9

Angels work for God and watch over kids when God has to go do something else.

Mitchell ~ age 7

My guardian angel helps me with math, but he’s not much good for science.

Henry ~ age 8

Angels don’t eat, but they drink milk from Holy Cows!!!

Jack ~ age 6

Angels talk all the way while they’re flying you up to heaven. The main subject is where you went wrong before you got dead.

Daniel ~ age 9

When an angel gets mad, he takes a deep breath and counts to ten.  And when he lets out his breath again, somewhere there’s a tornado.

Reagan ~ age 10

Angels have a lot to do and they keep very busy. If you lose a tooth, an angel comes in through your window and leaves money under your pillow. Then when it gets cold, angels go south for the winter.

Sara ~ age 6

Angels live in cloud houses made by God and his Son, who’s a very good carpenter.

Jared ~ age 8

All angels are girls because they gotta wear dresses and boys didn’t go for it.

Antonio ~ age 9

My angel is my grandma who died last year. She got a big head start on helping me while she was still down here on earth.

Ashley ~ age 9

Some of the angels are in charge of helping heal sick animals and pets. And if they don’t make the animals get better, they help the child get over it.

Vicki ~ age 8

What I don’t get about angels is why, when someone is in love, they shoot arrows at them.

Sarah ~ age 7

The “Nativities” are Getting Restless

I used to write a column for several Northwest papers. Here’s one to help you celebrate the holidays. (PS-the names have been changed to protect the innocent…like there are any in my family that fit that description. Cartoon by Jared Rogers.)

By Dan N. “Max” Mayhew

The holidays have burst upon us. It’s time for my annual creative family activity guide. This year’s suggestions…

A Family Nativity Scene

Taking a tip from Stephen Spielberg, create your family’s video version of the nativity. All that’s needed is a cooperative cast, assorted bathrobes, dishtowels, cardboard boxes, and a video camera. Large families can produce a veritable holiday epic, while smaller families like mine (we have three children, René, Jill, and Benjamin) will have to content themselves with vignettes.

In our family’s Christmas cinema debut, four-year-old Ben needed a part with relatively few lines so we gave him the angel who proclaimed good tidings of great joy. Having selectively absorbed some of his Sunday school lessons, Ben thought that meant he got to be “the angel, Goliath” who would mow down the shepherds as they watched over their flocks by night. Over his objections, we changed Ben’s character to “Gabriel” then helped him memorize his only line: “Unto you is born this day a savior who is Christ the Lord!”

The director’s cut of the video includes an artsy zoom-in shot of Gabriel, who in deadly earnest and pre-school diction, announces, “Unto you is bone dis day a children who is twice d’load!” From the video it’s hard to tell if Ben is announcing the Christ-child or very large twins.

René and Jill did their best to portray Mary and Joseph. Jill, with a keen appreciation for the reproductive process, stuffed the biggest doll she could find into her pajamas creating a lumpy protrusion that made her look as though she was about to give birth to a reindeer. René, dressed in a bathrobe and with her head wrapped in a dishtowel, portrayed Joseph.

In a wide shot of the holy couple, Joseph emerges from behind the sofa where he has been searching in vain for the inn. He then gives the distressing news to Mary who is supposed to valiantly place her plight into the hands of the almighty. It would have been a moving scene if “Joseph” upon seeing his wife pregnant with a reindeer, hadn’t burst out laughing, causing Jill to dissolve into giggles and spontaneously go into labor, producing a fully clothed “baby” right on camera.

In home video production it’s often necessary to use a good deal of dramatic license with the script.

Dough Art Tree Decorations

Another great family activity is making holiday decorations out of cookie dough. Imagine the fun you and the kids will have rolling out the dough, cutting it into holiday shapes, then hanging the cookies all over the house or on the Christmas tree where they can be pillaged by the children when you’re not looking.

Come to think of it, real cookies aren’t a very good idea. Even if you can threaten the children and keep them from consuming the decorations before your first holiday party, they would just grow stale and moldy, and attract rodents-that’s the cookies, not the not the kids.

The alternative is “dough art.” Dough art is a cement-like substance made from flour and salt and, if the ornaments we have left over from past years are any indication, industrial adhesive. The advantage of dough art is that it can be rolled and cut like cookie dough but is inedible. Furthermore, I can testify that it’s durable. We still have some dough art ornaments that Judy made in 1972. Do dough art with your family and you’ll not only be making special memories, you’ll be producing artifacts that may well be unearthed by civilizations centuries from now. One disadvantage to dough art ornaments is that they are dense, meaning that too many of them hung on one side of you Christmas tree can cause it to fall over. [Hint: Left over dough art can be used to make various kinds of ammunition.]

Chiristmas FolliesIts density makes dough art perfect for a festive holiday fruitcake. Just mold your dough art into the shape of a brick, press a few JuJu Bees into it, bake it for about three days and paint it brown. When wrapped in Saran Wrap, the result will be a realistic fruitcake replica that can be mailed back and forth among your relatives for years to come, just like the real thing.

Homemade Gifts

Finally, try giving hand-made gifts this year. Homemade gifts are more personal; they are a thoughtful way to honor your special relationships; they help keep credit card debt from triggering a call from a collection agency. Try making some clever personal “gift coupons” on which are listed services that you will perform on demand. Coupons are a great idea because they are often misplaced and thrown out with the wrapping paper.

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