Catchy (Sitting 6) The Boat Ashore … July 16th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Michael always hated the process of trying to get his ducks in a row. Unfortunately, if you follow a duck, it will eventually end up at the pond–but too often makes far too many detours.

Michael resorted to his logical nature. He decided to resign his position on the school board, and three months after Rachel’s departure, he sat down with young Alisa and Bernice and told them of their mother’s preference. Much to his surprise, the girls were infuriated with Mum, repulsed by the notion of the homosexuality and sympathetic to him for being treated so poorly.

Michael mused. What was he waiting for? It was time to share the story in the community, or at least leak it to the people who would do the gossiping for him. Let his conservative community draw their own conclusions, which certainly would be anti-lesbian and therefore, anti-Rachel. This would set him up for his next political adventure—senator in the state assembly in Columbus.

Sure enough, the good Buckeyes repudiated the actions of Rachel and Connie and sent messages of encouragement to the budding political Adonis.

Exactly three hundred and sixty-seven days after Rachel’s departure, Michael began to date a woman three years his senior. She was a handsome lady of means. She fell in love with his two young daughters, an affection they returned gratefully. Her name was Barbara–politically correct.

Two days before Michael and Barbara became the new Hinstons, he announced his campaign for state senator. Freshly married to a woman who showed little interest in her sexual similars, with two lovely daughters blooming with promise (on record with abstinence pledges), he was the H-E-R-O of O-H-I-O.

Toting his family and his Bible across central Ohio, he trumpeted his slogan: “Everyone Needs a Second Chance. Isn’t It Time for Yours?”

Michael was elected with a fourteen-point margin. He fulfilled two terms as a state senator, waiting for his dream job to open.

Then the oldest Congressman from the state of Ohio decided to retire for health reasons. Well, that’s one story. There was a rumor that he struck a deal with the District Attorney to step down instead of facing indictments for soliciting illegal donations for political favors. This was the reputation within the twelfth district–there were many industrial concerns in the borders–enterprises always trying to dodge federal regulations and desiring a champion in Washington to protect them.

So Michael Hinston ran for the Congressional seat and, in a very close race, lost. He was devastated in the grumpiest of ways. He threatened to quit politics until Coach Mack came along and reminded him of how many elections Old Abe Lincoln lost before gaining success. Michael liked being compared to Abraham Lincoln.

Meanwhile, the Hinstons started to have some marital problems. Barbara was like a 1974 Chevy Malibu that was just fine as long as you ran it, but when you kept it parked in a barn somewhere, it tended to wear out more quickly. Barbara felt that Michael had parked her in such a barn.

She felt abandoned. Michael had no interest in any other women, but had an ongoing love affair with his own aspirations. It had been months since they were sexually entwined and weeks since they had even touched. Barbara contended it had been a fortnight since he had even looked her way. She requested that they see a marriage counselor. Michael was terrified over the possible bad publicity.

He shared his dilemma with Mack, who said, “Go ahead and do it. Therapy and counseling are really ‘in things’ now. You know–uptown. People don’t look down on it anymore. It’s kind of hip and contemporary. Shows you give a damn. Just make sure you go to two different counselors—one a psychologist. And don’t be so stupid as to go to a psychiatrist. They’ll think you’re on medication. And you should also see your minister. Go through the motions, work it out, come to a resolution. It’s only gonna make points for you.”

Michael never advertised the conflict he was having with Barbara, but it was the state of Ohio and people do talk. Mack was right. The electorate expressed great admiration over the unfolding counseling sessions. Michael even found the interaction a bit more interesting than he had expected, and Barbara was greatly appeased.

Michael was grateful. Wife two was satisfied by some comforting words and book reading instead of lesbian love.

Then a tragedy.

Not really tragic for Michael, though propriety forced him to feign deep concern. The newly elected Congressman from the state of Ohio had a fatal heart attack on his way to Capitol Hill. A temporary replacement was put in the position. And at the next election, Michael ran for the office, and this time, on the strength of his previous campaign and his recent marital mending, won the seat handily.

He was a Congressman in Washington, D.C., from the state of Ohio, with a wife and two lovely daughters.

Two weeks later, while sitting at his desk, Michael opened an envelope from Caine Industrial, a prosperous concern from his district. The package was hand-delivered by courier, and contained a check for $50,000. Michael was breathless, bug-eyed and baffled.

The phone rang. Michael picked it up, still gazing at the huge amount printed on the face of the check.

“Mikey! This is God-guy!”

Michael paused for a moment, trying to reconnoiter the voice. It didn’t take him long. There was only one person who had ever called him Mikey. He hated the name. But he loved the man, so he tolerated it.

It was Matthew Ransley.

“Mikey, listen. I got this problem. I got a billionaire who wants to give me two hundred fifty million dollars if I can find a way to make Jesus popular. I need your help, buddy. Here’s what I want you to do. . .”Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Good News and Better News … November 2nd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good news Better news Columbus

I drove to Columbus, Ohio, to assist one soul. 483 miles round trip.

It was a decision:

  • If I go, then I’ll know I went.
  • If I don’t, I leave all circumstances to time and chance.
  • If I come up with a good excuse to stay and not go, then I will need evidence I tried–some extraordinary measure that expresses my concern. More than “I’m praying for you.”
  • If I make the journey, I risk expense and exhaustion.

“If, then.”

It got me thinking.

If there is a God, then there is a heaven.

Cool. Covered. Taken care of.

If there is no God, we really still need a heaven.

What is heavenly?

That which promotes life instead of death.

That which allows for my happiness and the happiness of others.

“Love your neighbor” jumps out as an essential ingredient.

How about being “the salt of the earth and the light of the world?”

And let us not forget, “don’t judge people”–or become your neighborhood ass.

Makes sense.

If there is no government to help the poor, then my two dollars, given to the guy on the street, becomes the safety net.

If there is a safety net, I can use my two dollars to help someone who can’t find it.

If there is no solution, then we will need really good diversions to keep us happy.

If there are solutions, then perhaps our task is to make big, easy-to-read signs so people can find the possibilities more easily.

I am not a destination; I am a GPS.

“Where do you want to go?”

That’s what I ask.

“Let’s find a good route.”

If there is no eternity, then it is all happening now.

So perhaps we should just “enjoy the heaven” out of it.

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Untotaled: Stepping 65 (February 10th, 1971) Jon Russell…May 2nd, 2015

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2579) 

(Transcript)

Dollie woke me from a nap and told me that her water broke.

Still sleepy and also very ignorant, I patted her on the shoulder and said, “Don’t worry. We’ll get you some more.”

She hurriedly explained what she meant.

In no time at all, we found ourselves at Riverside Hospital in Columbus, Ohio and she was wheeled in on a gurney to a back room. I was told to wait in a small enclosure with two other fellows who were quickly informed of the arrival of their children and departed, leaving me all alone.

Hours passed.

I was completely unacquainted with hospitals and was afraid to ask many questions, so I just watched television.

At about 11:15 that night, a doctor came in and told me that I had a new son and asked me if I would like to see him.

Of course I did.

So I walked around the corner and there was a nurse with a mask, holding a bruised, bloody and misshapen mass of tissue which I could only guess was supposed to be my human son.

The doctor noted my shock, and explained that because my wife was under anesthetic, that they had to use forceps to get the baby out, and there had been some bruising–which would quickly heal.

As soon as he made this explanation he left the room, saying that in an hour or so I could see my wife. So I went back and sat down, trying to get my nineteen-year-old mind to understand that I was a father of some gelatin mass.

Johnny Carson was on TV with The Tonight Show. His guests were the Edwin Hawkins Singers, performing O Happy Day. As I listened to the music and the inspiration of the thought, I realized that I was very happy, in a deep, forlorn, frightened and devastated sort of way.

Sitting there that night I had no idea where the rest of my journey would take me:

Three more children of my own and three additional children I brought into my home and adopted as my sons.

I could never have envisioned the struggles, the thousands of miles, the victories and the defeats.

I was glad I was alone, because I cried.

I wept over the little boy who was dying–and also for the man who was trying to emerge and make his place.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 59 (September 9th, 1970) Welcome Home–NOT… March 21, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2538)

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(Transcript)

Troubled souls require a soft pillow on which to fall when their great plans bring them crashing to the earth.

There was no such cushion awaiting my girlfriend and myself when we landed in Columbus, Ohio, having hatched a plan to be together–to the chagrin or disapproval of all outsiders.

  • Her parents disowned her.
  • Our high school friends stopped calling.
  • And our church stood at an adequate, Biblical distance, careful not to pass along any semblance of support, while also insisting they were not “negative.”

We had obviously failed. We had broken the protocol.

For some, it was an issue of right and wrong. For others, it fell into the realm of proper or improper. But really, in the long run, the greatest fear of any small town is that actions are not “normal,” forcing them to be declared “weird.”

Once we received such a cool reception from our community, we found it impossible to share that a baby was on the way, especially since such a revelation, in 1970, was just short of abomination and well within the realm of unforgivable sin.

We were scared. We were two people desperately in need of counsel. We found no consolation, only affixed stares.

So we decided to drive down to Nashville, Tennessee, using some of my girlfriend’s college money, to see what life was like outside our burg. Because we were gone for the entire weekend, people assumed we got married, and when we returned unhitched, the persecution increased.

I was informed that I was no longer welcome to be in charge of the coffee house, which had been my great affection all through my high school years.

I don’t want you to misunderstand me–I am not saying that the path we chose was conventional or even worthy of any type of praise.

We were just young.

We needed consideration instead of condemnation–and it was just easier for them to set us to the side than to take us aside and set us straight.

So because of all of this scrutiny, we decided that we needed to go somewhere in the deep South and find a state where we could get married as quickly as possible.

We were thrilled.

Everyone else pretended they didn’t notice.

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Untotaled: Stepping 54 (May 7th, 1970) Prom Motion…February 14, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2503)

 

 

(Transcript)

It was early afternoon on Wednesday, May 4th, 1970, before the word spread through our high school that four students had been killed at Kent State.

The response was odd.

For you see, half of our teachers were nearly in tears over the unnecessary loss of human life, and the other half basically had the attitude that “the kids got what they deserved” for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

So the school was split.

What made things even more difficult was that there had been riots all over the nation for weeks, and our senior prom was coming up on Saturday.

Having a myopic view of life at eighteen years of age, the shooting of the students at Kent State barely created a blip on my radar. I was thinking about the prom, romance, finally getting out of school and a big gospel concert I planned to attend with my date in the middle of the prom experience. Yes, we intended on leaving the prom for a few hours and going to the fairgrounds in Columbus to catch a musical show.

I was also excited because my girlfriend’s father told us we could use his Corvette for the prom. I would not say that her parents were in favor of our relationship–I think they were convinced it was merely a high school affair, and she would soon be in college and forget the hometown boy.

Prom night arrived. We went to the dinner, and then slipped off to the gospel concert, where we were confronted with a most bizarre situation.

Stationed at the fairgrounds were National Guard troops who were trying to keep order at Ohio State University. So as we walked around in our formal wear, there were soldiers not much older than us, carrying guns–dancing to the music with their rifles overhead.

After the concert we decided not to rejoin the prom activities but instead, went out, talked, made out, and ended up, just before dawn, on the long driveway leading to my girlfriend’s house.

We wanted it to be a memorable night so I took off my dress coat, placed it on the grass, and she laid down. I lifted her dress and she unbuckled my pants. We commenced to do things that we knew would be frowned on by anyone older than us.

Two weird things happened in the midst of this intimacy.

A horse my girlfriend owned came up to the nearby fence and stared at us. I couldn’t help thinking that he was critiquing my technique, And then, even more strange was that a nearby neighbor–a friend of my girlfriend’s father–pulled into the driveway with his pickup truck, sat for a minute and then backed out to depart.

We finished our fling and realized that it was unlikely that this intruding neighbor would keep his mouth shut. We were pretty confident that we had the horse’s silence.

So we drove the rest of the way up to the house and had breakfast–both of us realizing this was probably the last time there would be civility in her household over our relationship.

Not much happened after that.

Two weeks later, on graduation day, we both picked up our diplomas without much pomp and circumstance, with only one thing on our minds.

A time of the month had been missed–and we were afraid we were prematurely on our way to a grown-up world.

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Published in: on February 14, 2015 at 1:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Untotaled: Stepping 53 (October 27th, 1969) Drummond Park… February 7, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2496)

(Transcript)

Murray Gregory, a man with two first names,.

He was a deacon in our church, yet every once in a while he’d get himself an “alcohol rub” in his soul and go off two or three days binge-drinking and end up in the drunk tank in downtown Columbus.

Folks from the church would go bail him out and by Sunday morning he would be at the altar, crying his way back to Jesus. Everything would be fine until the next time he got the inclination to jump in the bottle.

My opinion was that he was a sloppy drunk and a mean deacon. I will tell you this–he didn’t like me at all.

I bring this up because the bikini friend I had begun dating the previous summer had become my girlfriend, and we were beginning to experiment with one another.

Neither one of us had learned the facts of life–I never told, and she confused by parents who were over-clinical. Health class in high school only served to stimulate our interest without truly explaining our “stimulators.”

The young lady and I were not sure of the depth of our commitment, but completely enthralled with the width of our passion.

So there were a bunch of little parks that speckled the Central Ohio area, which had nothing more than a few picnic tables, an outhouse, and of course, a place to park.

One Indian summer afternoon, my girlfriend’s father allowed us to use his Corvette, and we, feeling that we ruled the world, ended up at Drummond Park, and decided to probe one another’s private parts. We had no intention of “going all the way.” That was un-Christian. But eyeballing the “land of promise” did seem within Biblical proportions.

So we studied each other with a fervor we had not had for education since discovering the glories of construction paper and paste in kindergarten.

Meanwhile, back at Drummond Park, we had just finished up one of these sessions. She had returned to her seat and I had restarted the engine, when Deacon Gregory came walking by the Corvette. We both had no idea where he had come from; he did not speak to us, just headed to the outhouse to do his business.

I did not wait for him to come out to find out what he had seen–or heard, for that matter–but made my exit as quickly as possible. We drove home, trying to figure out what trouble we were in.

I always felt like he was following us. I had no proof. But it did give us plenty to think about.

But the juices that were squeezed that day in Drummond Park released a drug in our systems, of human sexuality. Once it has been injected, it is very difficult to stop being a user and very easy to become addicted.

And as far as I know … there is no rehab. 

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Untotaled: Stepping 42 (August 27th, 1967) Driven… November 29, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2428)

(Transcript)

I woke up in one of those adolescent grumpy moods, staring at the ceiling, disgusted with my life.

It was nearly time for school to start again and I felt like I had squandered my entire summer, worrying about how little summer I had left.

Even the things I had done which seemed enjoyable had passed too quickly, and now it was time to go back to school–to pretend to be a student and memorize a bunch of information which would give me a good grade on a test, knowing in my heart that I would soon forget the knowledge, yet knowing that somewhere in the future, I would be expected to remember it.

I had acquired three dollars yesterday by finally mowing the lawn, which had grown so high that one of the neighbors had complained to my parents, fearing that varmaints or snakes might dwell within. I reluctantly did the job and was rewarded with the remuneration.

So I woke up with a scratch I needed to itch. That’s the way it is when you’re a teenager–it’s not really an itch you need to scratch, but rather, an ongoing scratching sensation and needing an itch to justify it.

I got in my car and headed over to Katie’s house. She was the highlight of my summer. We had come together to search for pop bottles we could turn in for deposit to get gas money so we could drive around, talk and be silly.

There was nothing romantic involved, though candidly, I would have jumped her at the slightest invitation. She just thought I was funny.

When I picked her up that day, she had two dollars she had earned by picking blackberries on her grandma’s farm. Between us we had five dollars, three candy bars and some leftover tuna sandwiches her mother had foisted on her as she departed.

Katie explained that she needed to be home by three o’clock in the afternoon, and since it was already ten-thirty, our time would be shortened.

I told her that since we had enough money to buy fifteen gallons of gasoline, that we should drive three hours somewhere, talk, laugh and turn around to drive three hours back.

She was cool with it so we took off for Columbus.

Driving on I-71, we reached the south end of Columbus. Then that scratch that needed an itch suddenly raised its head. So I said, “Let’s keep going.”

She was nervous but agreed–and before too long we passed through Washington Court House, Wilmington and suddenly found ourselves on the outskirts of Cincinnati. It was deliciously naughty, filled with wild abandon and irresponsibility.

A sign read that the Ohio River was four miles ahead. I had never seen the Ohio River, and Katie had only passed over it in a car with her parents while being sound asleep in the back seat. So I said, let’s do it.

We crossed the river into Kentucky.

We felt like fugitives. It was similar to trying to make our way into the Soviet Union through the Iron Curtain (they had that back then).

Everything on the other side of the river, including a town named Covington, looked so different. We felt like Christopher Columbus eyeballing the New World.

Suddenly, Katie looked down at her watch and it was two o’clock in the afternoon, and she realized there was no way she would be able to get back in time. There also were no cell phones or texting, and pay phones were out of the question because we had used all of our money for petrol.

So knowing we were going to get in trouble, we turned the car around and headed back the way we came. It was the strangest combination of fear, jubilance, independence, anxiety and nervous bowel twinges that I’ve ever experienced in my life.

Strangely enough, when we arrived home, people really didn’t say much about us being late–just that we should never do it again.

Katie and I knew that was impossible.

Something changed that day.

I no longer felt bound to a small home on a tiny street in a little village. I realized there was a big world out there–and the only way I would ever get to it and be myself was to survive a couple more years of provincial schooling … to finally be able to point my life in my own direction.

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