Back in the old days, I had a hobby photographing old churches. Not that I'm terribly religious, mind you, I just thought they looked good. Anyway, every church I visited had a gold phone in the foyer, with a card saying "Direct Line to Heaven - $10.00 per Call".
Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire... all had the same thing. Didn't matter what denomination the church was, either: Catholics, Baptists, Congregationalists, they all had the same phone.
So one day, I landed in front of the First Congregational Church of Kittery, Maine, and there was the usual gold phone.
But this one's sign said "Direct Line to Heaven - $.25 per Call". I tracked down the minister and asked why the phone in his church cost a quarter to call Heaven when every other church was ten bucks.
"From heah, it's only a local call."
What brought this to mind was last night, thinking about how "the hardest-working man in show business" would finally be able to take a short vacation. I decided to call Heaven and see what James Brown was doing, so I wandered down the street to the local House O' Worship, which happened to be Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility, slid my ATM card into the slot and picked up the phone.
St. Peter picked up the phone, and I could hear a truly righteous party going on in the background.
Nope, James Brown wasn't taking it easy. He was partying up a storm, with Hendrix, Lennon, Harrison, Bobby Darin, Jim Morrison, both Joplins (Scott and Janis), and all the rest.