The man on the other end of the line sounds like Stephen Hawking.

“Is this the res-i-dence of the Rev-er-end Brooke New-ell?” he asks.

“Yes, but she’s not in at the moment,” I say.

He’s the chaplain at the medical center in West Podunk Lake. “I’m cal-ling to in-vite Rev-er-end New-ell to a Cler-gy gath-er-ing on No-vember 4th in the Red-ford room,” he says.

I’m wondering if he’s going to start explaining the Big Bang.

Instead, he begins to describe a luncheon event to me.  He seems to think I’m Brooke’s secretary. I suppose Stephen Hawking might make an assumption that clergy have secretaries. I play along.

He goes on and on, describing the event. How they’ll have lunch served. How there will be a top surgeon who will speak to the group following the luncheon. He seems to think that if I’m in the mood for lunch and a talk from a top surgeon it may increase the chances of Brooke’s attendance. I’m picturing the big bang. It was like a hospital luncheon for clergy. I’d always pictured it as something more exciting, but if Stephen Hawking says it was this way, who am I to contradict him?

I write down: “Rev Dave. W Podunk Med Ctr. November 4. Noon. Clergy Lunch. Surgeon talk.” I take down his phone number.

He’s still talking at me, like Stephen Hawking. I assure him the I’ll pass the message on to Brooke. We hang up.

Then it occurs to me, maybe I missed the big bang.