Morse Code… September 28, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2020)

sausageWhat an absolutely magical and simultaneously bizarre sensation it was last night as I turned onto Morse Road and headed to my gig at Ascension Lutheran. From the 3-C Highway to High Street is about a three or four mile stretch of pavement which explodes with memories from my childhood. I breathed them all in, smiled, heading off toward my evening’s activities.

Right on the corner was the location of Stan’s Restaurant, a place where, as a young boy, my parents would stop to eat dinner after their weekly excursion of puttering around at the Northern Lights Shopping Center. We children were always instructed to order the “chicken in a basket” while my dad had a T-bone steak. We didn’t care. It was eating out.

Right next door was the Lion’s Den Gentlemen’s Store. There was one church in town that didn’t think it was an establishment for gentlemen. They picketed against the pornography and made the newspaper for a season, but as the years have passed, the church is long-gone and the Lion’s Den, prosperous.

Just  down that road was the Northland Shopping Center, one of the first places I took my music group to perform in front of bustling patrons more interested in sales than in a rag-tag music group attempting to gain their attention. We were oblivious. The mall gave us fifty dollars for doing two shows, and we thought we had struck oil.

At that mall I also played the part of Santa Claus, which was suited both to my body type and my financial needs.

Just a few blocks down was a place called Schmidt’s Sausage House. The company still exists, though they long ago moved from the original location. Mr. Schmidt (or whoever the owner was) encountered our music group at a Catholic church, and he liked us so much he asked us to come in and perform on Monday nights, in the hopes of building his crowd by having live entertainment. (I’m not so sure we ever did that for him, but I do have great memories of a “Bahama Mama,” which, by the way, is a sausage, not an exotic dancer.)

And not too far down the road was a place called Lowe’s Theater. It was one of the closest movie-going places to my hometown. It was also the site of my first date with a girl at age sixteen. I can remember that I was so glad when the movie started, so we didn’t have to keep coming up with things to talk about. After much consternation, about three-quarters of the way through the film, I worked up the courage to reach over and hold her hand. I was surprised at how wet it was. I don’t know whether it was my perspiration or hers, but it was the first time I shared sweat with another human being.

And finally, down on the corner of High Street, there used to be a Frisch’s Restaurant. When I was twenty-four years old I sat in that restaurant with a friend and made one of the major decisions of my life. I decided to take my family, in our beat-up van, along with my music group, and move to Nashville, Tennessee and try to make a go of it. I was tired of being a local singer, pretty well-respected for my talent, but completely disdained and criticized for having no money.

That move to Nashville was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my young existence–and changed everything from a dream to a pathway of reality.

So when I went in concert last night at Ascension Lutheran and only fourteen people showed up for the “local boy who’s done good,” I had to laugh. It was another piece of my own personal Morse Code from Morse Road–another memory to add to the scrapbook.

And I guess I’ll just keep adding them–good, bad and ugly–until there are just no more pictures to be taken … because I’m gone.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

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