Speaking of bells

Christmas makes me think of bells. And bells make me think of a joke. A joke that has nothing to do with Christmas. But I’m going to tell it anyway.
Credit, or blame, goes to Father Jim Nash, who told this to me more than 20 years ago. It goes like this:
A church advertises for a person to ring the bell atop the steeple and the only guy who applies for the job has no arms. “How to you expect to ring the bell?” the pastor asks.
“By banging my face against it,” the man says.
Reluctantly, the pastor hires him.
All goes well until one day the poor man misses the bell and falls out of the steeple to his death. People gather around his lifeless body on the sidewalk and ask, “Does anyone know who he is?”
“I don’t know his name,” one man says. “But his face rings a bell.”
It’s not over.
A few days later, the bell-ringer’s brother shows up and volunteers to be his brother’s replacement. This man happens to have both arms. The pastor hires him.
All goes well until one day this poor man slips and falls out of the steeple to his death.
People again gather around his lifeless body on the sidewalk and ask, “Does anyone know he is?”
“I don’t know his name,” one man says. “But he’s a dead ringer for his brother.”
I’ll wait for the laughter to die down.
Okay.
I do not consider myself a dead ringer for either of my two brothers. And I’m not sure if my face rings a bell either. But I know my hand will be ringing one. Right next to a Salvation Army red kettle tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Redner’s at Pittston Plaza, and later that evening, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Walmart on Route 315. And then again Monday, Dec. 23, from 4 to 8 p.m. back at Redner’s.
It’s a perfect opportunity to stop to say hi, put a buck or two in the kettle, and tell me how lousy that joke it.

Ed Ackerman