That's when he got the idea for the peace quilts the men and women and children of Salford Mennonite Church have been working on ever since.
The ones they hope to somehow get to Hussein in Iraq and Bush in Washington.
Maybe - just maybe - something in the design, with its dove of peace perched in the tree of life, would move the two men.
Or something in the message on the back: ". . . each stitch represents our individual and collective fervent prayers for peace."
Or perhaps just the fact that so many people (about 400) cared enough to participate.
Last week, 10 women sat at two quilting frames in a room under the sanctuary of the Montgomery County church. Heads bent, knees nearly touching, thimbles flashing, they stitched.
"I believe in miracles," said Eva Alderfer, pulling her thread taut.
"Little things can turn into big," said Naomi Landis, stitching around the edge of a dove.
Each quilt is almost a mirror image. When they are placed side by side, the tree branches seem to intertwine. The two doves face each other, eye to eye.
That was Jan Foderaro's contribution to the overall design Beverly Musselman came up with. A former mediator, she's learned "that people need to face each other and talk."
Bush's quilt has the Western Hemisphere, with stitches radiating from a point about where Harleysville would be. Hussein's has the Eastern Hemisphere, stitches radiating from Baghdad.
Like most people, the stitchers sometimes feel helpless against the hugeness of world politics.
There's prayer, of course. "We are people who pray for peace," Associate Pastor Miriam Book said. "We also believe it's important to act for peace."
Some years ago, church member Mary Jane Howell, who was then in her 60s, went on peacekeeping missions to Haiti, where she stared down armed fighters.
For others there are, perhaps, letters to Congress, which elicit a dismissive shrug from Roma Ruth. The Mennonite tradition is strong in quilting. "Just give us something we can get our hands on," she said, "and we can speak through that."
They know their goal - getting the quilts into the hands of both leaders - is unlikely.
They hoped a Christian Peacekeeping Team leaving Wednesday could take Hussein's quilt to Iraq, but on Friday a spokeswoman said it was still uncertain.
That left the Mennonite Central Committee office in Washington, where director Daryl Byler was trying to figure how to get the quilt to the White House.
Not long ago, the staff refused a bundle of 17,000 peace petitions he wanted to present, but a staffer has indicated Byler could bring the quilt to a meeting he is attending on Jan. 3.
"I'm banking on a quilt" - especially one stitched by 400 members of a pacifist church - "having a little more pizazz than petitions," he said.
Either way, the stitchers say their quilts have already made a difference in their lives, if nowhere else. The project has focused their thoughts and strengthened their resolve.
"Something happens to me - to us - when we're doing this," Pastor Book said. "I don't believe you can do something like this and not be changed."
And never has she seen the entire congregation so bent on one mission, so unified.
The church quilting club, which makes dozens of quilts and comforters every year for fund-raising or distribution to refugees, has done most of the work.
But two Sundays ago, Pastor Book invited everyone at the service to participate, and they trooped downstairs en masse to make at least a few stitches each. (The pros even promised that not a one, no matter how crooked, would be ripped out.)
The stitchery is a cross section of the entire church, from 5-year-old kindergartners to 93-year-old Alice Heavener, who walked in last week on the arm of her daughter, Elenore.
Heavener has lived through two world wars, Korea, Vietnam, the gulf war and a lot more. Her eyesight isn't what it used to be, but "I wanted to put a few stitches in for peace," she said.
In all, four generations of her family have stitched the quilts.
The fellowship alone has enriched their lives, the stitchers said. Normally, none would spend four hours just chatting. But as their hands stayed busy, they took pleasure in one another's company and the easy discourse of simple things. Rhoda Landis even got Ruth Alderfer's potato soup recipe.
Behind the stitchers, the walls were studded with crayon colorings. The kindergartners had drawn what peace looked like to them: flowers, a rainbow, people holding hands, a heart.
At 1:17 p.m., Eva Alderfer looked up and announced almost shyly, "We're ready." Except for the binding, Bush's quilt was finished.
At that moment, unbeknownst to them, the President and first lady were reading aloud to grade-school students in the White House. "Anybody in this room named Blitzen?" he asked.
By 4:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m. in Baghdad, when Hussein may well have been drifting off to sleep, just as Pfister imagined - they were cutting Hussein's finished quilt from its frame.
For Pfister, who recently left sales for a lower-paying job at the Lansdale wastewater treatment plant so he could live a fuller life, peace is a continuum that "begins with each of us in our hearts. It's up to us, every single day, to make decisions about peace."
Even if the quilts never get to Iraq or the White House, maybe others will learn of them and be inspired. Maybe, he said, "this little thing we're doing . . . will change somebody's heart."
Sandy Bauers' "A Tale of . . ." runs on Mondays. Contact her at 610-701-7635 or email@example.com.