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By Kenneth G. Robertson

Edited by Ben P. Robertson

 

ISBN 978-1-934936-45-7

Paperback-144 pages-$15.00

 

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Editor’s Introduction

 

Kenneth G. Robertson was an excellent conversationalist. He seemed able to converse with nearly anyone, and he had at his disposal a wide arsenal of anecdotes that he liked to share with his interlocutors. Before he passed away, he began a collection of anecdotes—a sort of memoir that collected some of his best stories. The anecdotes are true—I remember being present when some of them occurred—and he told most of them enough times that the rest of us in the family probably could tell them just as well.

     Dad apparently began this collection as a way of sharing some of his stories about his interactions with customs officials around the world. He traveled widely and had many stories to tell. “The VW Search,” for example, explains what happens when dubious customs officials stop three American chaplains on their way home in a Volkswagen from Mexico. As the stories unfold, however, they change tack and become the reminiscences of a missionary to Africa who was intensely interested in sharing the teachings of Christianity. The final story, “The Whiskey Bottle,” is a lesson in being aware of appearances and of one’s projected image as a Christian abroad. The following stories are meant to entertain, but as they follow Ken and his wife, Margaret, and two sons, George and Ben, they are also meant to teach.

The first of these anecdotes is set in the late 1960s when Dad was serving in the Arkansas National Guard. Subsequent anecdotes relate experiences from the time of the Vietnam War, during which my father served two terms of service as an Army chaplain. The anecdotes then move into Dad’s time stationed in Germany before finally moving into his career as a missionary in the West African country of Sénégal. Unfortunately, Ken Robertson passed away before he had the chance to finish this collection. I do not know how many more anecdotes he had planned to write. This collection came to me in two formats—fragmentary printed copies and a collection of old-style word processor files that were incompatible with any of my computer software. With a fair amount of digital manipulation, I was able to consult parts of the electronic files to compare with the printed copies as I transcribed them. The result—the following collection—is, I think, a fairly accurate reflection of what Dad intended. I have silently corrected grammar and spelling issues and have provided a few explanatory notes, but I have attempted to leave intact the loose conversational style that Dad sought. I hope you enjoy his reminiscences.

 

Ben P. Robertson

1 February 2010s

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