Reverend Meningsbee (Part 48) Damaged … April 2nd, 2017

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Reverend Meningsbee

Meningsbee didn’t recognize the name. Carl had left a note: Please call Cam Collier.”

Then there were three or four different numbers. The end of the note read, “Very important.” The two words were underlined.

When Meningsbee dialed the number he was still trying to retrieve who Cam Collier was. Even when Mr. Collier answered the phone, it still took Meningsbee a moment to recall that this gentleman was Kitty’s husband–the successful millionaire with all the silos.

He simply asked if Meningsbee would be in the office tomorrow morning at ten o’clock, and if he would mind a visit. Meningsbee agreed and then spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what it could possibly be about.

Could Cam need spiritual counsel? Were there problems in the marriage?

So the next day at ten o’clock, when Cam walked in the door and sat down in Meningsbee’s little office, his curiosity was about ready to burst.

Since they had no history with one another, there was no real need to catch up. Cam just launched into his purpose.

“This is hard for me,” he began. “Matter of fact, I would deeply appreciate if everything I share with you is kept private between the two of us.”

Meningsbee reassured him that confidence was secure.

“You may remember that I married Kitty and we came back here and picked up Hapsy to start our life together.”

Meningsbee inserted. “Is there a problem with Hapsy?”

“No, no,” said Cam. “She’s a sweet little girl.”

Meningsbee questioned, “Then are you alright?”

“No, no, it’s not me. So you probably can figure–it has to do with Kitty. I don’t really know how well you know Kitty–she always talked like you two were old friends.”

Meningsbee nodded, not wanting to blow Kitty’s cover.

“And since you probably were friends,” continued Cam, “I apologize for not getting ahold of you sooner.”

Meningsbee inquired, “Is there a problem in the marriage?”

Cam paused. “Well, not exactly. There’s a problem with Kitty.”

Meningsbee leaned forward. “Is she sick?”

“No, Pastor. It’s beyond that. She’s…well, I guess you’d have to say she’s permanently damaged.”

“I don’t understand,” said Meningsbee.

“Of course you wouldn’t,” replied Cam. “How could you? Let me put it as gently as I possibly can. Even though I did love Kitty–though I must admit to you, man to man, most of it was lust. But it did have an element of love in it. I always knew she didn’t love me. She needed me. Sometimes she even liked me. I suppose I might even have amused her from time to time. But it didn’t take long after we were married for her to start flirtin’ and eventually cattin’ around. You know what I mean, right?”

“I do,” said Meningsbee quietly.

“I didn’t think much about it,” said Cam. “I suppose I’m not a prideful man. I do know I’m not handsome or a great prize. Hell, my money barely makes me passable. But I did not expect it to happen.”

“Has she left you?” asked Meningsbee.

“No. Not physically. I mean, she’s still around.”

Cam took a breath. “About two months ago we were vacationing in Florida, and Kitty got a hankering to go water skiing. Well, I don’t even like boats that well, let alone gettin’ on two sticks and skippin’ across the stream. So she found a guide and several young folks who were going out to ski and spend the day in the sun. I knew she was attracted to one of the young men. I think she knew I knew. Well, anyway, he brought along some… what do they call’em? Recreational drugs? So they were partying really hard.

“One of the young men had never driven a boat before, so while Kitty was on her water skiis, he got behind the wheel, took off, and zoomed as fast as he could, with the boat pulling her.

“Well, they were all laughing and screaming. But right when she was about to come up on one of those–I don’t know what you call ’em–where you go up on your skis in the air?”

Meningsbee inserted. “A ramp?”

“Yeah. That’s it. Well, like I said, the boy was inexperienced and he thought since they were coming up on a ramp, he should slow the boat down. When he did, it caused her to hit the ramp at an odd angle, and she went flying into the air, straight into the ramp, head first.

“They thought she was dead at the scene. But they got her to the hospital, put her on life support. They weren’t sure what would happen next. After two weeks, she regained consciousness, but she wasn’t right.”

Cam broke down in tears as he finished the last thought. Meningsbee pushed a box of Kleenex in his direction. He took a tissue, wiped his eyes and wadded it up in his hand.

“She’s… I don’t know what’s the right word. She’s retarded. She can’t think or do for herself totally. I’ve asked the doctors, and they believe she’s stuck right where she is.”

“Now, Reverend, I know that my wedding vows say ‘in sickness and in health,’ but I’ve got to be truthful with you. I lied.

“I could tolerate that girl as long as she was healthy. But I can’t live with what’s left. I didn’t sign on to be a care-giver to a woman who was determined to cheat on me.

“She doesn’t look anything like what I wanted, and I think I would do her a horrible injustice by having her around me and despising her…well, at least despising the situation…every minute of the day.

“So you see, what I’ve got is money.”

He looked up. “I didn’t come and talk to you first. I know you preachers.”

Meningsbee interrupted. “Well, you don’t know me.”

Cam continued. “So you’re saying you wouldn’t have told me to be patient, hang in there for a while and see how it works?”

Meningsbee smiled. “Well, I might have.”

“Sir, I can’t hang in there. I’m a doer. I want things and I want ’em now. I’m not saying that makes me a good man. I’m not saying that makes me a bad man. I took on a young girl to be a lover, not a patient.

“So before I came to see you, I went to see Matreese.”

“You went to see Matreese?” asked Meningsbee, surprised.

“Yes. I didn’t meet her for very long, but I liked her. There’s a toughness and a tenderness in her that’s rare. I told her what happened to Kitty. You know, she never blinked an eye. She just listened.

“When I got all done, she interrupted me. Now listen–here’s what she said to me. She said, ‘So you want to get rid of her but you don’t want to feel bad about it, so you came here to see if I would take care of Kitty and Hapsy.’ Pastor, she blew my mind. She was right on the button.

“I told her I was willing to pay. Without cracking a smile or even moving a muscle in her face, she said, ‘You better be. You’re asking a lot.’ Long story short–well, I guess that’s not possible, is it? Well, anyway, she told me what she would require to take over the care of Kitty and Hapsy.

“She said, ‘You write me a check every month for forty thousand dollars and I’ll take on your responsibility. And I’ll do a good job.’ Can you believe that? Pastor, I married the wrong woman.

“Well, I didn’t have my calculator and it took a minute, but I figured out that was almost a half million a year. But it’s worth it to me. Hell, it’s worth it. Just to know that I don’t have to do it, but the girl’s taken care of.”

Meningsbee waited for a moment, and then realizing there was a silence, he spoke up. “Where do I come in here?”

“Matreese told me I had to come and get your approval for this deal, and also that I needed to donate five thousand dollars a month to the church.”

Meningsbee desperately tried to remain still, but the thought did cross his mind how five thousand dollars a month would help in the work.

He asked, “Will you visit them?”

“No, I won’t,” said Cam. “I suppose I should tell you that I will, but then I would just end up disappointing you. It may sound like a bad joke, but it seems that Kitty and I just ended up being ships passing in the night.”

Cam stood to his feet, stuck out his hand, and the two men shook on a most unusual deal.

When Kitty arrived–delivered, as it were–three days later, Matreese brought her to the church. Her wounds had mostly healed, except for a few scars on her head. She was lovely, with what seemed to be a permanent smile affixed to her face…and the mind of a four-year-old child.

Matreese had two little girls, and would soon have a young girl who was meant to be the mother of a flourishing woman. It would be odd.

But it would be paid for.

And God had one of his best angels at work on the job. Matreese would find a way.

And God would make all things possible.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 36 (June 12th, 1967) Trimmings… October 18, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

All of our neighbors had already mowed their lawns twice.

I kept insisting that our grass was not in need of such a precaution or I was able to check the weather forecast and cite that there was rain coming and therefore dangerous to be out in the storm.

For you see, in my house it was my job to be the caretaker of “the green.”

I hated it.

I avoided it.

I even pretended I was sick to escape the arduous chore of pushing our power mower around the yard to guarantee my one dollar a week allowance.

Part of it was teenage rebellion. There is certainly a misunderstanding about the condition. Teenage rebellion is not a choice, like whether to wear a hat to the beach. It’s more like an emotional diarrhea, which attacks you when you least expect it, causing you to run out of the room screaming. And in addition, I was a fat boy, and the idea of walking around, back and forth, to simply receive the payoff which pleases your family for only about eight days, was not enough to motivate me to fire up the old “growler”–to give the yard a haircut.

I even listened to people’s suggestions on how to cut the lawn and make it enjoyable. I was never able to recapture their ecstasy.

But worst of all, my dad expected me to use the hand-trimmers after I finished mowing, and caretake the areas that were not able to be reached by the blades.

I refused.

Matter of fact, I can’t remember doing it more than two or three times–because it demanded two actions that every fat boy dreads.

Bend over or kneel down.

(My body type was more suited for standing, sitting or reclining.)

After a while, my dad was content when I actually did mow the lawn before a machete was needed–so much so that he completely dropped the trimming issue. He got tired of hearing me claim that the blades were too rusty to cut through the overgrowth.

Because my dad did not force me, it was a good ten years before I learned the importance of straining my will to do a little bit more than my whim dictated.

So when I raised sons, I learned that there are three purposes for discipline:

  1. To get your kid to confront his or her weakness.
  2. In the process, to address their fear.
  3. And maybe most important of all, to trap them into doing something they really don’t want to do.

If you consider this discipline to be cruel or unusual, you will probably give your children a pardon which will later haunt them as they continue the crime of laziness.

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Jesonian: Mastering Service … September 21, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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john marcus

John Marcus was a “householder.”

It was the title granted to the colored slave to afford just enough dignity with a King James flavor, without bestowing elaborate honor for his needful subservient status.

Yes, John Marcus did it all. Cook, clean, repair, blacksmith, minister, caretaker and physician.

And because he took the jobs on–often that no one else wanted, including the white family which became very accustomed to being served–he was granted more and more liberty to work solo in order to achieve his ever-expanding, sophisticated results.

Today he was given a new job. He was to be mentor, and even punisher if necessary, to a belligerent sixteen-year-old runaway named Zachary. The little tyrant was placed in his care to train and also temper into achieving his place as a worker on the plantation.

So John Marcus decided to give the angry lad the job of cleaning the pots and pans. It was done alone in the back room of the kitchen and could be achieved even by a fitful worker without destroying too much private property.

When Zachary got John Marcus alone, far from prying ears, he shouted, “Why do you walk around with a smile on your face playing good house nigger?”

John Marcus smiled and gave no response, wiping the bottom of a dirty pot as any good instructor just might do.

After a good season of pan-scrubbing, Zachary challenged again. “Are you deaf? Why do you give in to the Massa?”

John Marcus paused, ceasing to scrape at the blackened pans. He stepped about five paces away and gently and tenderly stirred a cauldron of delicious stew he was nurturing for the evening’s consumption.

Zachary shook his head.

Suddenly John Marcus spoke. “There’s one Massa. His name is Jesus. He told me that the only way to gain mastery in life is to serve.”

“Weak words,” spit Zachary.

John Marcus chuckled. “And where have your strong words gotten you, boy? Lassoed? Drug through the dirt? Rejected? Listenin’ to some old man chaw at’cha while you’re scrubbin’ pans? And you know what else? You’ll be here scrubbin’ these same pans, cursin’ these same whites two years from now, nary feelin’ any better or makin’ any progress.”

Zachary shook his head again. “I’d rather be an angry man than a happy nigger.”

John Marcus took him by the shoulders and looked him square in the eye. “That’s because you don’t know what happy is because you’re too busy bein’ angry. I don’t like what’s happenin’ around me, but I know one thing. It’s not gonna change tomorrow. It’s gonna be the same next week. Probably even by Christmastime, I’m still gonna have the same color they have decided is less than ‘dem. But I know this–if I believe they’re wrong, then there’s a God in heaven who knows it, too. And He told me there ain’t nothin’ a man sows that he doesn’t eventually have to pull up out of the ground and reap, and eat. So I’m workin’ on what I sow. I’m quietly learnin’ more than they want me to, and there are things around this ‘ole fifty-three acres that nobody knows how to do but me. Because when it came time for doin’ it, I learned it. And they were completely happy with me bein’ the pack mule.”

Zachary interrupted. “So what? So you’re a smart nigger without ever being able to be called smart, and being able to take the smart and use it for yourself.”

“Maybe so. But every time I master something of service and I serve it well, I gain the attention of the master who controls this household and I make myself of great value. Just the other day, young boy, several of the farm hands who own the plantation just south of here had to come to me to find out how to fix their plowshare and what to do for an ailing mule. Did they appreciate it? See, it doesn’t make any difference. In that minute, they had to admit they needed me. Maybe they choked on it; maybe they refused to completely give in. But they needed me. My Master is Jesus, and he told me that the more I serve, the more territory I gain.”

Zachary just shook his head, but he returned to his labor with a bit more respect.

In March of 1861, John Marcus passed away. He was the only slave allowed to be buried in the far corner of the white cemetery. Many of the townsfolk turned out to see the old servant put to rest. He had made more friends than enemies and to the surprise of a young worker who had finally adopted his philosophy…

Yes.

Zachary was set free.

It was the last request made by a servant to a plantation owner … but granted because of the teachings of a greater Master. 

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The Gospel According to Common Sense (A Remake) … March 20, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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I have a heart cluttered with emotion.

I possess a soul yearning to believe.

I am caretaker to a brain which can think, but prefers to react.

I live in a body filled with appetites and desires.

Sure looks like I’m a mess.

But it’s my mess.

“You break it, you own it.”

Remember that one?

So I need something to get these parts to work together.

Theater focuses on emotions.

The church, on the soul.

Education, on the brain

And the world, on the body.

I need more.

Common sense.

It isn’t so common–or we might stumble on it more often.

So here’s a clue to common sense–a passage, if you will:

I will clean my heart by being more honest about what I feel.

Pleasant and not so pleasant.

I will reawaken my soul by looking for God in people

Instead of begging the heavens.

I will think about good things more than bad.

It’s like a breath mint for the mind.

Then I will use my clean heart, loving soul and fresh brain to teach my body to exercise healthier appetites.

Finally, I will do the world a favor:

I won’t call them crazy, but I won’t go crazy with them.

Common sense.

When our common need with one another calls us to sit down and talk sense.

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Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

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