A few years back I played a church gig at a church in town. I don't think there was any particular occasion, they just wanted some special music. The string quartet sat in front of the congregation for both services. The service was going smoothly and then the minister prepared to give the sermon. He took a large box of playground balls out, held one up and said, "What do think will happen if I drop this ball?" The congregation thought it would bounce. Amazingly, it did! He dropped several balls: big balls, small balls, small balls on top of big balls.... He must have had a point but I missed it completely.
Then he put the balls away and said, "The Greek word for patience and perseverance is HOOOOOOPLEMONA."
My friends were playing this gig with me and we kind of glanced at each other, like, "did he just say hooplemona?"
Oh yes he did. And he kept saying it. It's a funny word anyway and the way he was saying it, with a Southern accent and getting a little caught on the "hoop", was positively hysterical. Especially because it was absolutely inappropriate to laugh.
We started to get the giggles.
Then he said, "I know someone with great hooop....ulmona and I'd like to introduce him to you."
The lights went down, a screen descended from the ceiling, and a movie started to play. It was about a man who was born with no arms or legs who wanted to be a professional bass fisherman. There was footage of him at a fishing tournament. A shot showed him casting off while the narrator said, "He holds his pole between his chin and shoulder like a fine violin." Every time he reeled his line in (don't ask me how he reeled his line in with no arms or legs, I didn't see because by this point I was staring at the floor concentrating with all my might on not howling with laughter) without catching a fish he swore.
The craziest thing is, I looked out at the congregation while the arm-less, leg-less would-be bass fisherman with great hoooooop....ulmona was swearing and not a single person had a look on their face like this sermon was anything out of the ordinary. In fact, they all looked sleepy and bored.
It was the most awesome sermon I had ever heard. Certainly it is the one that has vividly stuck with me the longest.
Hooplemona has become a regular part of our family's vocabulary. We tell WG that she needs to have hooplemona, or simply "hoople" and she tells us that her hooplemona is all used up for the day, unless the outing in question is a trip to the park or zoo, in which case she has endless amounts of hooplemona.