Reverend Meningsbee (Part 44) Guilty By Association … March 5th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3237)

Reverend Meningsbee

It is a matter of common acceptance, if not perfectly proven, that a small town block is shorter than a city one. This may never have been confirmed, but certainly is taken for granted.

About a block-and-a-half from Meningsbee’s home was a brand-new coffeehouse called “The Garson-Fill.”

Even though Richard was not averse to making his own pot of brew, there was just someting fun about walking the short distance every morning to sit in a chair, lean back, drink his limit and order half a muffin.

Another attraction at The Garson-Fill was a lovely waitress named Carla. She was that mysterious age women often reach–where you can’t tell if they’re thirty-five or forty-five. She was beautiful in a rugged sort of way–the kind of well-traveled face that’s like a good map–easy to read.

She was also easy to talk to. After two or three visits, the preacher worked up the courage to do so. He found out that she had gotten married in her late teens, quickly had two children but had been divorced for seventeen years. Her offspring were both grown and on their own, and she had taken the job at The Garson-Fill because she had met the owner at a positive-thinking seminar. Carla seemed to like her work.

It was on visit five–or certainly by six–that Meningsbee realized he was attracted to her.

The idea of being drawn to another woman other than Doris was terrifying. It wasn’t so much that he felt unfaithful, but rather, paralyzed in awkwardness. He hadn’t flirted, dated or even considered mating with anyone else for decades.

But now here was Carla.

She seemed to like him, too–sometimes. It was rather odd. Some mornings he would come in and she would be bubbling and anxious to see him because she had a story to tell or a blessing to share. But when he had ventured to invite her to the church, she quickly changed the subject and started talking about her new duties of baking pastries.

He liked her. He knew deep in his heart that it would never go any further unless he let her know his sentiments, and set up something that didn’t involve playing the roles of customer and waitress.

It took about a month. One Wednesday morning, he cleaned up a little shinier, brushed his teeth a little harder, sprayed his cologne a little longer and headed off to have his usual morning repast–but this time, to finish with a tip and an invitation to dinner.

He was so excited. He was optimistic. He just knew she was going to say yes. There was a twinkle in her eye that let him know that in her private moments, she had considered the two of them together.

For the beauty of a woman is not in her ability to hide, but rather, in her great gift to reveal.

However, once he was at the cafe, some cowardice seeped in. So he took a long, long time chewing on his muffin, trying to work up the courage to ask Miss Carla for an evening of her company.

Finally, the little diner cleared out. She was busying herself cleaning off her last table when he called her to his side.

“Carla,” he said, “I know you know that I am a widower and that I’m the pastor of the church. I’ve really enjoyed our times together here…”

She suddenly interrupted him. “Oh, dear God, you’re not going to ask me out on a date, are you?”

Meningsbee’s left eye began to twitch uncontrollably. How should he respond?

Carla sat down in a chair near to him, patted his hand and said, “Listen. You’re fine and all. No, no. You’re probably better than fine. You just don’t understand.”

Meningsbee managed some speech. “What do you mean, I don’t understand? I don’t understand what?”

She quickly looked around the room to make sure nobody was listening. Assured that they were alone, she whispered, “I like you. I mean, I like you. But I can’t like you.”

Meningsbee must have looked very confused, because she inserted, “Oh, I don’t know how to explain it.”

She stood to her feet to walk away, and Meningsbee reached out and grabbed her apron, holding her in place. She pulled away as if struck by lightning.

A flash of fury came into her eyes. “Goddamnit, don’t you ever touch me!”

Meningsbee stood to comfort her and she pushed him back down. She pointed her finger in his face. “You have no right to touch someone! Do you understand that?”

He did, so he nodded.

She was obviously fighting back tears, and he realized he had unearthed some nasty piece of evil that bewitched her.

“I’m sorry,” he said.

“Don’t be sorry,” she replied. “I mean, don’t touch people unless they ask you to, but…Oh hell. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

“I just thought we could spend some time together,” said Meningsbee. “If that doesn’t work out, that’s fine.”

She sat back down and said, “But it might work out. And you see, it can’t. There’s a problem that exists between us that can’t be changed.”

“What is that?” said Meningsbee, making sure he maintained his distance.

“You’re a preacher, right?”

He nodded.

“You believe in God.”

He nodded again.

“Jesus?”

“Yeah,” Meningsbee said. “I guess it’s kind of a package deal.”

“You’re a Christian.”

“I am. Proudly.”

“Proudly.”

“Proudly,” she repeated louder. “You see, Reverend, that’s my problem. I’ll never be with a Christian. Because for four years, my husband proudly beat me every day … in Jesus’ name.”

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … September 23rd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2701)

PoHymn Anniversary September 23

Anniversary

45 years

Many good cheers

Started to date

Began to mate

Planted a seed

Created a need

Flew far away

Met at U of A

Decided to remain

Drove me insane

Changed your mind

In Buckeye we find

Gossip and chatter

Just doesn’t matter

Carolina bound

To confirm we’re sound

Started a coffeehouse

With my brand new spouse

Yet scared away

To New York that day

“Thou shalt not kill”

We changed our childish will

Birthed a son, then two

Three came before we knew

Music and dance

Take a chance

To the Bay we went

Running, not sent

Lost a son too soon

Born the last of June

So I took my maven

And started The Haven

Saw each state

Tempting the fate

Then came four

At Peoria’s door

Soon lads were men

And needed to begin

To Music City

Seemed quite pretty

Gained a daughter

To tote some water

Given another

Who married his brother

Welcomed a friend

Remains to the end

A flash of cash

Building a stash

Started a band

Blessed the land

Raised a quartet

Bayshore’s where we met

Music, movies and books

A festival of looks

Lost the family home

Time again to roam

Spreading the blessed news

Writing the daily views

We continue to this day

Seeking a better way

So I say to you from me

Happy Anniversary, E.G. C.

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Confessing… May 16th, 2015

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II.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

832 miles.

It was the entire round trip from our home to a tiny village in Tennessee, which had opened a coffee-house and kindly invited our fledgling music group to come and share.

They promised to give us dinner and to pass the hat for whatever audience might make its way to the 500-square-foot enclosure.

We jumped at the chance.

We were tired of rehearsing, and considered ourselves quite prepared for public consumption. We scraped together the money to get gasoline, a bag full of snacks and we took off.

It was exhausting, exhilarating, haphazard, crazy, silly, inspiring and probably dangerous.

We didn’t care about the peril. I was just 20 years old and had not yet received my shipment of good sense.

The drive down wore us out and after we finished our little show, the 18 souls who had gathered to hear us collected an offering of $31.22. We thought we had discovered Solomon’s gold.

So when we hopped back in the car to head toward home–with no plan whatsoever on how to actually get there–the first 100 miles zoomed by, as we buzzed with tales of our escapade.

But then, as if struck by a “sleep angel,” we all grew suddenly weary and were in grave danger of running off the road. So we decided to do something none of us had ever done before.

We stopped and took out a motel.

The young lady from our troupe who purchased the accommodations came out and explained that she bought the room for just one person, because if she had included all four of us, there wouldn’t have been enough money.

I had the opportunity at that point to object–or at least feign a concern–but I didn’t.

I felt if we got by with it, it must have been “God’s will.”

So half an hour later, when we were lounging around, getting ready to doze off, there was a sharp knock at the door. It was the innkeeper.

Three of us leaped up and hid in the shower stall behind the curtain while our single, legal member answered the door.

The innkeeper pushed his way in, walked into the bathroom, pulled back the disguise and there we were. He was infuriated.

He demanded that we immediately leave, refunding a fair portion of our money, pushing us out the door and into our car–where we departed, cursing him for what we considered to be his evil spirit.

Somehow or another we made it home.

Candidly, it never occurred to any of us that we were wrong. And if there was a bit of guilty conscience, it was swept away by what we considered to be the owner’s volatile personality.

I thought about that incident today.

I wondered if there was any of that 20-year-old boy still left in me, who thought that “the ends justified the means.”

I do know this–whenever we look for an easier or cheaper way, we open the door to a cheater’s path.

Is there any of that in me?

Is there any part of the grown man I am who would trust my own deceptive tongue instead of risking doing it the right way?

motel we count heads

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 43 (October 14th, 1968) No Joe… December 6, 2014

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(2435)

(Transcript)

A coffee-house.

I’m not talking about Starbucks.

In the fall of 1968, our church decided to start a coffee-house, where young people could gather under dim light, listen to music and become as contemplative as teenagers can get.

It was very popular for a season.

Ours was held in the church fellowship hall, which required a lot of decorating but still demanded tremendous batches of imagination.

I was put in charge of the event. I wanted to do something special.

So I drove into the city, went to Radio Shack and purchased a black light bulb. It wasn’t very powerful, but in a small area, it could make everything shine with brilliance.

I decided I was going to sing the song, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” and at the end of the tune, flip on the black light, illuminating a full-sized figure of Jesus.

I went to Bennett’s Department Store in our town–really just a little hole in the wall–and asked them if they had a mannequin. They did. It was a female one, but I felt if I put a beard on this chick, I could turn her into the Christ.

I also went across the street to the rich lady who was so wealthy that she bought all of her clothing through catalogs from New York, and acquired a long, brown wig.

I sewed–yes, sewed–a robe, and then donned the mannequin in the outfit, put on the wig and the beard–and to me it looked like Jesus. Maybe a metrosexual Jesus.

I was in the middle of preparations when the pastor and his wife came in, saw the mannequin and just about lost all of the Holy in their Ghost. They explained that I could not use the mannequin–not because it was feminine–but because the Bible says “we are not to make any graven images.”

I listened, using my most subservient profile, fully aware that after all this work, I would do it anyway.

Sure enough, when I finished the song at the coffee-house I turned on the black light bulb and it beautifully lit up my graven image, as gasps filled the room.

The small group of friends and attendees burst into applause. The response was so good that Mr. and Mrs. Pastor didn’t say anything to me. But from that point on, I was supposed to clear all activities through them.

I didn’t.

Now some people consider a stubborn, willful teenager to be a “criminal in training. ”

Other folks think such behavior is a sign of “budding promise.”

Since I am neither a criminal nor particularly “budding,” I just think that teenagers have the unique benefit of sniffing out stupid rules … and challenging them.

 

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