Drawing Attention … April 17th, 2019

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Babies Having Babies

(tap the picture to see the video)

art by smarrttie pants

Music performed by Elizabeth Cring


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Published in: on April 17, 2019 at 8:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 16) Matrisse … August 14th, 2016

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Reverend Meningsbee

The Garsonville church congregation came ricocheting out of the sanctuary, bouncing off the walls like a red rubber ball tossed by a naughty toddler.

They were so pleased with themselves.

Those who had participated in the “Group Sermonette” reprised their roles to the delight of listeners, as the individuals who were passed over by the lottery of numbers sat with a blending of jealousy over being left out and excitement over when they, too, would be asked to be leaders in the Reverend’s Round Robin.

Meningsbee had barely made his way out the door when he was greeted by Matrisse. She asked to see him for a moment, so the good reverend followed her over to a secluded alcove and sat down on a bench.

Now…Matrisse had not been one of the early encouragers to Reverend Meningsbee. She did not criticize him, nor did she leave and join the “Express” congregation. She just watched–carefully.

Although only fifty years old, she had a depth of soul and a rigidity of countenance which reminded him of a giant eagle perched on a high mountain, peering down at the flightless mortals below.

One day she just called and asked if she could come over and see the preacher. She brought chicory and sticky buns, and for three hours the two souls enjoined.

Meningsbee learned much.

Matrisse was the only human of color in the Garsonville community. Her father was a Cherokee chief–retired–and her mother was a Creole dame from New Orleans who dabbled in the “dark arts.” So Matrisse grew up learning the smoking end of a peace pipe and on rainy evenings, found herself digging in the muddy soil to retrieve night crawlers and crickets for her mother to use in favored potions.

Matrisse was a delicious milky-brown color, which in a normal city would render her nearly invisible, but in Garsonville made her appear like she was fresh off the boat from Africa. In her lifetime she had gone from being called “nigger” to more recently being referred to as a “treasure of our community with a colorful personality.”

Meningsbee knew one thing about Matrisse–she was the kind of woman to listen to because she had spent much of her life hearing nonsense, and was able to pull out nuggets of gold from the rubble.

Once they sat down in the alcove, she wasted no time. “Who is this woman you have brought to our church?”

Meningsbee replied, “Kitty? She’s just a girl.”

Matrisse fired back, “Girls do not have boobies and babies.”

The pastor had no reply. He knew it was time to listen.

Matrisse colored in the picture. “I will not take much of your time. I know because you’re a man who has a generous heart, but often a clumsy understanding of pioneer people, that you probably plan to lodge the girl and her baby in your home as an act of Christian charity.”

Actually, Meningsbee didn’t know what his intentions were, but had no reason to argue with the assertion.

Matrisse marched on. “You cannot do this. You are a man, even though you think you are of God. I mean, you know you’re of God, but you’re also a man. What I’m saying is, a man of God is still more man than God. Even if you would never lay a hand on this young girl, everybody would have visions of you fondling her, making wild passionate love to her, and never give you the benefit of the doubt, even if you were remaining pure and chaste.”

Meningsbee hadn’t even thought about it. Any of it. He started to object, but Matrisse interrupted.

“I’m not asking your opinion on this. I am telling you that I will take this woman into my home for two weeks and treat her as my daughter. And her little child will become my pappoose. That’s fourteen days. In that fourteen days, you should talk to her, find out what she wants to do–but make sure that she does not accidentally turn into a Jezebel who comes and destroys this work of God. Do you understand me?”

Meningsbee did.

Matrisse disappeared, and he sat for a moment, thinking about her words. Perhaps they were crude, but they were true to the understanding she possessed of the locals based upon the abundance of experience she had with their tongue-wagging.

At length, he emerged from the alcove and saw her with Kitty and Hapsy, heading toward the door, with Kitty turning helplessly to wave as the juggernaut of activity known as Matrisse pushed them toward home.

Meningsbee smiled.

Sometimes every human being needs to have saints who come along to help make dreams lose their cloudiness…and offer clearer skies.

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Cracked 5 … June 14th, 2016

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cracked 5 logo keeper with border

Thoughts from a Watermelon Just Prior to Being Carved Up at the Church Picnic

A. “Listen, those lines on my belly are not stretch marks.”

 

B. “Looks like I’ve hit a patch of bad luck.”

 

C. “I have come from da-vine places…”

 

D. “I hope I don’t look too fat!”

 

E. “Please don’t swallow my seeds–THEY’RE MY BABIES!”

 

cracked 5 watermelon

 

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Jesonian: Good in Your Sight … March 8, 2015

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cute baby biggr border

Republicans and Democrats.

Religious and atheist.

Men and women.

Black and white.

Gay or straight.

We seem to live in a time when we love to square off against one another into camps of conflict. Anyone who suggests similarities between these warring compounds is considered to be quaint or foolish.

Trying to resolve the difficulty often places you in the center of the field of fire and therefore criticized by both sides.

One day Jesus stopped and breathed a public prayer. Actually, he wasn’t too fond of public prayer, warning that it could be a pretense. But on this day he felt it was important to make sure those around him understood his meaning. He thanked God that the heavenly Father had “hidden truth from the wise and prudent.”

That’s the way it is today. Some people think they’re wise and some people think they’re prudent. The wise people are proud because of what they know. The prudent folk tout what they believe.

And when knowledge meets belief, there’s an immediate conflict–because to some degree, all knowledge requires a certain amount of belief, and all of our beliefs should be challenged by knowledge.

But I guess it’s just easier to brag about being smart or brag about how you’re going to heaven.

Jesus said true knowledge is delivered to babes–God wanted it to be that way, and it was “good in His sight.”

Nobody wants to be a baby. It’s much more fun to brag about being wise or prudent. But for every piece of wisdom I gain, I must admit that it was   gained, which means at one time I did not have it.

So to some degree, I am perpetually ignorant, trying to move forward in my understanding. And for each time that I extol the value of prudence, I also have to accept that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen–or maybe not prudent.

It places me in a no-man’s land, where I am vulnerable to learning and dependent on mercy and grace.

I am a baby to my own planet. Any time I feel that I’ve achieved maturity and adulthood, I am always thrust back to the high chair, to be spoon-fed new knowledge, to reveal a fresh flavor of my faith.

How can we teach people to cease battling with one another over knowledge or belief instead of realizing that without having both, we are incomplete? Because every baby has to learn how the planet works and certainly is dependent on the love of a father.

  • Jesonian is when we’re not afraid to be babies.
  • Jesonian is when we abandon being wise or being prudent.

I am convinced that the truth about Republicans, Democrats, men, women, gay, straight, religious, atheist, black and white is yet to be fully ascertained.

I want to be there when the next shipment of revelation comes through, and instead of being entrenched, be ready, like a baby, to suckle the nourishment.

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Published in: on March 8, 2015 at 1:36 am  Leave a Comment  
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One Size Frets All … January 20, 2013

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Jon SigningThe power is in knowing what is common and what is different.

What is common among us all is our humanity. What is different are the many paths we have taken which have tempted us to deny, hide or obscure our commonality.

Maybe you decided to join religion. Basically you were told that “God is mad but He still wants to save you.” That’s enough to make anybody mad at the whole world.

Maybe you joined the Republican Party. You were indoctrinated into believing you were not supposed to kill babies (unless you do it with a gun).

Is your definition of “difference” being a Democrat? That’s where you’re allowed to kill babies, but still raise money to feed the hungry children in faraway lands.

How about a conservative? “Let’s go back to when things were better”–even though most things were worse.

A liberal–let’s go forward blindly without using the common sense of history.

Maybe you’re picking up your check at the corporation. If so, you’ve been told to buy the product and learn to like it.

Did you jump in your car, go out and seek entertainment? Yes, it is a world where Hollywood tells you that THEY’RE the artists–so shut up.

Maybe you bought into the sanctity of family. With tears in your eyes, you proclaim that your particular collection of human beings is everything–until you realize that the world is much bigger than the boundaries of your property.

Have you found your solace in patriotism? “God bless America”–and good luck to everyone else.

In the process of trying to extol uniqueness, we have created single islands that are only linked by rivers of mistrust. So the “one size” that was intended to coagulate us into a bloodline of believers has just succeeded in covering up a series of bigotries which just fester blood feuds.

What will it take for us to understand that every time we alienate ourselves from the world around us and try to make ourselves better than others, we lessen the chance for our own opportunity at success.

NoOne is better than anyone else.

It is the abiding truth that tells us that when we attempt to separate into “birds of a feather,” we stop being able … to fly.

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Brother’s Keeper… October 24, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

Mary and Russell had five children.

I was the fourth intrusion. I do not characterize myself in that way to be mean-spirited. No human being is good at parenting. Even Adam and Eve were not “Abel” and ended up raising “Cain.”

Here’s the problem: By the time we figure out babies, they become toddlers. We graduate that phase, and suddenly they’re children. Just when we grasp the concept of childhood, they escape into the great tunnel of adolescence. Some brave souls actually try to follow them into that cave–and are never heard of again. The intelligent ones stand on the outside of the deep, dark hole, pray, cross their fingers and wait for their dear offspring to emerge about eight or nine years later.

Feel free to purchase books on the subject of raising children–although some piously insist that the term should be “rearing.” Your little darlings will be more than happy to dash all theories and bring to rubble great plans for household advancement.

So it was no different with Mary and Russell. Their particular skills were stuck somewhere between the McGuffie Reader and Dr. Benjamin Spock, causing them in their confusion to be too mean when compassion was required and too gentle when my four brothers and myself were desperate for discipline.

The only regrettable conclusion of this situation is that the five brothers grew up not particularly fond of each other. We were too competitive. We were too self-involved. We were too much of everything that is associated with the word “too.”

My oldest brother passed away before he and I were able to make peace with each other. Sad.

The third son and I made a truce which lasted until the day he died.

My younger sibling expresses affection in my direction, which is never followed up with any connection.

But Brother Number Two has become my project over the past twenty years. He was an intelligent, promising student many years ago, who had a vision for becoming a high school English teacher extraordinaire. He pulled it off for many years, but in the mid-1980’s he had a nervous breakdown and has lived on disability ever since.

I have great devotion for him. You notice I am careful not to call it “love.” To me, “love” is reserved for those excellent earthly moments when true connection is made between souls and an unearthly understanding of the universe unfolds.

No, I am devoted to him. For twenty years I have written him. For twenty years, I have visited every chance I can–whenever I get within a hundred miles. And every week I also receive a letter from him, ranging in tone from the kindness of mundane to the anger and virulence of vicious.

I endure.

So imagine my mixed emotions this week when I arrived in Central Ohio knowing that I needed to see him, but realizing that there was a reluctance in my heart to be confronted–especially at this time in my journey–with such a malevolent presence. I always have to remind myself that he strikes out at the world around him because he feels struck. But it’s not very comforting in the moment.

So I made a plan to pick him up at 9:15 yesterday morning, confirmed it with him by phone, and drove into his driveway to discover that his entire front yard had been transformed into a giant garage sale, strewn with trash and old junk. I thought to myself that at least we had a good topic for opening conversation. As previously agreed, I tapped my horn to let him know of my arrival.

There was no response.

My present physical condition does not permit me to leap from the van and go to the door to pound upon it with urgency. So I waited five minutes and tapped my horn again. Nothing.

My mind flashed back to the last three times I tried to connect with this dear brother, and had been stood up by him with a nasty letter from him following, explaining that it was my fault that he didn’t appear because he knew deep in his heart that I don’t really care anything about him.

So I started to wonder how long I planned to stay in his driveway, tapping my horn, before leaving with the realization that once again I was to be viewed as the ugly girl at the junior prom.

Yet I persisted. After five horn beeps and twenty-five minutes, he appeared sleepily at the door and told me he would be right out. Ten minutes later, I was rewarded for my perseverance by the appearance of my brother at the side of my van, and we were off.

The next two hours that I spent with him are a study in human behavior and an exploration into the definitions of feeling helpless. For you see, the reason his front yard has been turned into a flea market is that he has allowed two vagabond young men to come in and live in his home, and they have completely taken over his abode, and are beginning to fight with him to such an extent that the police have actually had to be called to the scene.

I resisted running away in horror.

He explained to me that these same individuals have chased away his beloved cats, which are really his only family, leaving him without feline protection. One of these young intruders has also brought a homeless man into the house to stay, further complicating the chemistry brewing in the cauldron.

Then my brother explained to me that he is trying to evict one of the squatters, while said squatter is also taking him to court for reimbursement on construction supplies that the young fellow purchased to build in a living quarters–for himself–on the back porch. (Now, I realize that all of this is very confusing when written into a story form, but let me comfort you by telling you that it was no easier to understand in the original telling.)

My dear brother had no trouble whatsoever filling in 129 minutes of conversation on his own, only once asking about my doings, in passing. He has a life that is full … without having a full life.

You see, it’s what happens to all of us when we don’t decide the purpose for our breathing and moving; circumstance and crazy travelers can come in and fill in our empty space with their own trauma and terror.

This is why I pity grown people who make their children their lives. Your seed will be more than willing to destroy your garden of hopes. I am always careful to warn those who have retired to start a second career, finding a reason to get up in the morning. Otherwise, all of the insanity of the world will crash in on you, exhausting you with its nuttiness without ever granting you fruit.

My brother was exhausted but had nothing to show for it but sadness, exasperation, apprehension and defeat. They had broken his television set, taken his car and left him desolate. And because it appears that he has given these things over to them, it is impossible to prosecute the perpetrators.

I was so depleted. I remembered the lament of an exasperated brother from thousands of years ago: Am I my brother’s keeper?

It’s so easy to walk away from insanity and allow it to be turned over to the general asylum. You can disassociate yourself from it so easily, returning to your own peaceful ways.

But he is my brother. He would be my brother if we had not shared a common womb, because we share a common God.

I did my best to encourage. I did my best to bless. I did my best to promise him that I would return again very soon to renew our conversation. I did my best to give him some money so he could spend it on himself instead of squandering it on his emotional assailants.

I did my best not to cry.

Mary and Russell did their best, too. But like many of those born after the Garden, they grew some weeds. It is now the job of those stray children to find one another and make some sense of it all.

I am my brother’s keeper. It’s just that sometimes the most difficult part of caretaking … is cleaning up.

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Top Ten Rejected Titles for The Wizard of Oz … June 6, 2012

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I got so inspired yesterday writing to you about Kansas that it got me to thinking about The Wizard of Oz, and in the spirit of always trying to bring something fresh to my readers here at jonathots, I was able to dredge up, through much painstaking investigation, ten originally proposed titles for the story, which, for some reason or another, were summarily rejected by those in power (I would assume to keep the “little man” down…) Knowing that you are always trying to expand your brains and have little pieces of useless information to pull out in party situations so as to make you even more obtuse, I have decided to compile these into a list for you today, which we shall dub The Top Ten Rejected Titles for The Wizard of Oz:

10.  When Monkeys Fly

9.  Dorothy‘s Purple Acid

Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the tr...

Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the trailer for the film The Wizard of Oz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

8.  Which witch is which and why?

7.  The Lizard of Ooze (don’t ask)

6.  Three Babies and a Lady

5.  There’s No Home Like Place(mats)–by Martha Stewart

4.  Goldbrickers and the Kansas Brat (an independent film)

3.  Dropping Housing Prices

2.  Toto‘s Tail (a K through 9 view)

And finally, the Number One rejected title, which, in my opinion, was a mistake:

1.  TORNADOES SUCK

   

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