Thursday 30 June 2011

Theodore's Deal.

Father Ignatius visited Theodore Luxton-Joyce, the eccentric rich benefactor, at his magnificent mansion in the countryside to discuss Parish Council business.

But it was obvious that this was the last thing on Theodore’s mind.

“Ah … welcome Padre” he said with a grin on his face like a child wishing to share a secret or surprise.

“How nice to see you once again! Let’s go to the library, I have something there I wish to show you. I’m sure you’ll like it what?”

The priest followed the millionaire through the large entrance hall and down the corridor towards the library.

“Here … what do you think?” said Theodore as he flew open the library doors and entered the spacious room.

Father Ignatius said nothing at first; wondering what it was which was supposed to interest him.

“Over there … just by the window …” said Theodore “they call it a treadmill. It’s a brand new contraption which is all the rage in London you know.

“Apparently, in London they have these in hospitals to give people who’ve been somewhat poorly much needed exercise. I wouldn’t be surprised if some day some enterprising person wouldn’t have these machines in a hall somewhere and charge people to use them.

“I might think of doing it myself perhaps. Meantime, I bought myself one … want to try it?”

“What is it exactly?” asked the priest hesitantly.

“It’s an exercise machine old boy …” enthused Theodore, “that bit down there is a continuous belt which goes round and round automatically. It’s electric you know. You switch it on, stand on it, and walk … Here let me show you.”

Theodore jumped on the treadmill and walked slowly for a few minutes before switching it off.

“Simple … isn’t it? You can walk for miles without leaving the house!”

“But, why would you do that, when you have such beautiful countryside around you?” asked the bemused priest.

“Aha …” replied Theodore still excited about his new acquisition, “with this machine you can walk at any time, day or night, in all weathers.”

Father Ignatius smiled.

“And what’s more …” continued Theodore, “you can march to the sound of bagpipes … I switch on the music first and then hop onto the machine.

“Doesn’t go so well to the sound of classical music of course, but I have plenty of records of military bands marching to the sound of pipes and drums. Takes me right back to my days in the forces … don’t you know!”

“I’m glad you found something to help you exercise …” said the priest quietly.

“One main drawback though …” Theodore went on with a frown on his face “It’s very cumbersome when you’re holding a glass of whisky whilst walking. I tend to spill most of it all over the place. Good twelve years old single malt too!

“I thought of putting the whisky in a small bottle and using a straw to drink … but it’s difficult putting ice cubes in the bottle. Unless you crush them first of course … what do you think?”

Father Ignatius was at a loss for words. After a moment’s or two of silence he said, “It’s good to have some physical exercise to keep fit. If only we could also encourage people to have some spiritual exercise!”

“What do you mean?” asked Theodore.

“You know …” said Father Ignatius putting his hands together as if praying, “more time with Our Lord is good for the soul.”

“Well … I go to church on Sundays, Father. As you know all too well!”

“Yes … of course. But I also meant more time in silent contemplation here at home. Reading the Bible perhaps or some other Christian book. Or visiting church more often … or our Prayer Group meetings … or …”

“Oh no … definitely not that!” interrupted Theodore, “not your Prayer Meetings with people waving their hands in the air and speaking in unintelligible incomprehensible words. My wife Rose has been to the Prayer Meetings and told me all about them …”

“Yes … she’s often there.” said Father Ignatius, “she doesn’t wave her hands about nor speaks in tongues … Yet, she takes part in the singing and prayers. She wouldn’t continue to attend if she didn’t get any benefit from it. Why don’t you join her sometime?”

Theodore said nothing as he poured two large glasses of whisky. You could almost hear the cogs turning in his mind.

“I’ll attend with Rose on one condition …” he said finally, “You walk for a minute or two on this treadmill and try it out. I’ll hold your whisky for you!”

And that’s how Father Ignatius gained another member to the weekly Prayer Group.


  1. Who ever said walking on a treadmill leads to no where? :) Thanks Victor. I always enjoy a visit with Theodore.

  2. Hi Karinann,

    The Father Ignatius stories are set in the pre-digital age. That's why there's never a mention of cell phones, CDs, DVDs or computers.

    Here Theodore discovers a treadmill for the first time, and predicts the gymnasium and fitness center industry. I wonder if he made any money out of the idea. At least a treadmill led him to Prayer Meetings.

    God bless.

  3. Hello Victor.

    He has the gift of prophecy aswell, it the machines catching on in gyms, I mean.

    I also love going to the Luxton-Joyce's (although I only partake of tea ofcourse) What!

  4. Great story, Victor! The stories with Theodore are some of my favorites and his antics always make me laugh! The connections you make between daily events and the Lord are wonderful :)

    I used to have a treadmill but it eventually became a clothes hanger and later my daughter broke it. There was a time I used to pray the Rosary while walking on it and I like to pray the Rosary while walking outside too. You have a treadmill too, right? Just don't use a good whiskey while walking on it ;)

    Victor, when my husband and I read your comment about the tea set and the toilet this morning we were laughing so hard I almost choked on my coffee! Your story was sooo funny!! The look on your face must have been priceless :)

  5. Hi Shadowlands and Mary,

    Glad I made you smile.

    Years ago I went to a shop in London which sold treadmills, rowing machines, bicycles and all sorts of fitness equipment. I wanted a treadmill. The salesman looked at me and advised me not to bother. He said after the original novelty wore off I wouldn't use it.

    Years later I bought a treadmill from the Internet. That salesman was right - it is not used; but it makes a good receptacle for my dust collection!

    I also bought a rowing machine. What a disaster that was!

    I nearly drowned when I put it in the swimming pool whilst strapped in it.

    God bless.

  6. Victor,
    Why didn't you use a life jacket? (grin)

    You are so quick-witted! Good one! And just think: had you drowned - your family could have inherited your dust collection years early!

    Yikes! That was in poor taste! Sorry Victor ;)

  7. Victor, I share Ignatius's view of treadmills; why walk inside and go nowhere when there's a beautiful world to enjoy? But I do have to admit that walking in the air conditioning, with a fan on my face, is nice in the summer heat. I do some of my training for the 3-Day Walk in the gym these days, but I like being outside better.

    Do Catholic believers commonly speak in tongues? I did not know this, but I did hear of a revival movement in the Catholic church around the 60s, I think. I grew up in a Pentecostal church, and speaking in tongues was common. I rather miss that.

  8. Gee! The things you have to do to get new members to participate!

    I loved this, Victor! Another win!


  9. Hi Mary, Sarah and Joey,

    I'm happy I made you smile.

    Treadmills can be useful. I use mine some times but not for long as I do not want it to get overtired. The poor machine must struggle with me marching all over it.

    Best wishes on your 60 miles 3-Day Walk Sarah. It's for a good cause and I wish you well.

    Some Catholics, not all, (I don't), speak in tongues at Prayer Meetings. Where I live this doesn't happen during Mass but at some Prayer Meetings. It started here in the 60's and 70's with the Charismatic movement at the time. One of our priests did pray in tongues during Prayer Meetings, whilst the other did not believe in it.

    The Charismatic movement is sometimes a little controversial in the Catholic Church. Sadly, some people frown upon what they don't understand.

    God bless.

  10. I like Theodore's treadmill, Victor! I wouldn't want to balance a glass of whisky but could I balance my computer somewhere? I love the idea of marching to the sound of a pipe band. All in the cold or wet weather of course. There are so many beautiful places to walk where we live, it would be a shame to stay indoors all the time. God bless!

  11. Hi Sue,

    I love the sound of bagpipes. I was told by my doctor that if I walked about 5 miles a day as part of my exercise workout, within a month I'd be in Edinburgh.

    God bless.



God bless you.