A word from someone who loves to talk ...


This has been shared in most every speaking engagement in and out of this country and in the books I have written: My parents used to pay me quarters not to talk.

Before you think ill of my mom and my dad, let me tell you they loved me — more than any other parents ever could, but even they had their limits.

The times of needing quiet happened when we were traveling in the car. Road trips were long since it is a ways between towns in Montana. It may surprise you “youngers” to know that cars did not come with televisions in those days. Radio reception was poor, mostly static, since mountains often blocked radio signals.

My brother and I would be in the back seat. We exhausted the game of “He touched me” and “She looked at me” after 10 or 20 miles. Then we would get told that there was “an imaginary line in the center of the back seat and woe be the first person to cross it!” (No seat belts then to designate territories.)

Therefore, to avoid having the car pull over to the side of the road (some of you know what that entailed …) I would start talking, thinking they’d be thrilled to listen. Soon I would hear my dear loving mother say, “If you can keep from saying a word until we get to Big Timber, we will give you a quarter.”

Methinks it was “we” because if the flood of chatter from the back seat did not cease, the car would pull over to the side of the road and they’d be the ones jumping out! I really liked to talk.

I was born in love with words, especially mine. I know. I know. As they say today, “It is what it is.” It pleases me greatly to say my two granddaughters have been blessed with this gift as well, and I love it!

You can imagine my delight years later when I got a job as a tour guide at the Visitor Center in Colstrip. The first call I made was to my parents to tell them how much I was getting paid to talk now!

Then it was a joy when God opened the door for me to share His grace and what He has done in my life with others. The joy was in telling them with all the things I can’t do and how I get mixed up with the things I do do, that God loves me anyway! And one of those stories is telling the audience about my parents giving me quarters not to talk.

Fast forward now to last week. We have Tuesday Coffee at Living Hope Church. We bring a favorite coffee mug and share some goodies and great fellowship with whoever comes. It began a year ago, so we have learned lots about each other.

Last week in this column I wrote about Lent. At coffee I was sharing on the same subject reading from a list my friend Julie had given me. One was “Fast from worries and have trust in God.” Another was “Fast from pressures and be prayerful.” I was really wound up.

I got to one that said, “Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.” At that point, Jeremia Fox reaches over and places a quarter in front of me by my coffee cup! It took a few seconds, then they were all howling with laughter, me included (and especially my mother!).

Oh, the joy of a good joke! Remember, at Lent we can fast from something, or we can add something that will draw our attention to Jesus and the truth of Easter. Some of us could have Proverbs 17:22 be our Lenten verse: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine!” Thanks, Jeremia (my usedto-be-friend). Just kidding.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Lois Olmstead is an inspirational speaker and author who lives in the Shields Valley. Email her at loistimeout@ gmail.com or visit www.timeoutwithlois.com.