Not Long Tales … November 26th, 2019

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(4234)

16.

Falling Leaves

Clouds are just water vapor. They have no lining—certainly not a silver one.

This is probably the first thing any villager from Blanchport, Pennsylvania learns growing up near the West Virginia border, where eking out a surviving wage without hating your work is considered heaven.

Murtrand Gillogly was only seventeen years old when she met Benson. He was tall, muscular and worked in the coal mines, so had a little extra money—more than the average boy walking the streets or plowing the fields.

She fell in love. Well, at least enough to give herself over to him in the cab of his Ford pickup truck. They had only consummated their confirmation on three occasions when Murtrand found out that she had missed her time.

Not knowing what to do, she finally decided to go to the town doctor. “Murty,” he said. (That’s what all the locals called her.) “Murty, I want to tell you something real simple. You’re pregnant.” He peered at her. “I imagine that’s not good news for you, so I will grant you the privacy of keeping my mouth shut until you want to yap about it.”

The young girl was terrified but had enough sense to confess to her parents, her preacher and a few close friends. They all did the wrong thing—what often happens in small towns with small minds.

They condemned her.

It became especially problematic when after three-and-a-half months, the hospital, twenty-five miles away, confirmed that she was carrying twins. Benson, her boyfriend and baby-maker, had decided to hang around—until he received this latest news. There was something about two babies popping out that scared the living shit out of him.

He explained that because there was so much expense that needed to be covered, he was going on a “miracle journey.” That’s what he called it–a “miracle journey” to Las Vegas–to win enough money to take care of the family, for now and all time. Murty was suspicious—but still moved that he had the desire to be a breadwinner, even if the crumbs came from the gambling tables. She sweetly kissed him on the lips and promised to remain true.

That was the last time she ever saw him.

Six months later, by the ordination of nature and sheer will and purpose of the human body, Murty gave birth to two boys. Feeling particularly traditional and proud of herself, she decided to name one Clarence and one Cameron.

Concerning the community, no support and no real sense of acceptance came her way throughout the first part of the twins’ growing up time. For in Blanchport, Pennsylvania, once you sin, it’s not forgiven unless God shows up and does it Himself.

And He doesn’t come around very often.

So Murty did a little waitressing, telemarketing and even pumped gas down at the local convenience store, to keep shoes on four small feet and grits in three bellies.

She loved her boys.

She was really proud of Clarence. When he was only seven years old, he walked by the town bank and noticed that somebody had dropped a hundred-dollar bill. His first instinct was a good one. He took it inside and presented it to the bank president (or some fellow wearing a tie) and explained that he had found it just outside the door, so figured it might belong to somebody inside.

The banker patted him on the head, told him he was a good little gent, and said they would advertise, letting people know the money had been discovered.  But he added that if it wasn’t retrieved in the next thirty days, little Clarence could keep it.

He had a terrible time sleeping. He even picked himself up a giveaway calendar from down at the drug store and started marking off the days. The whole town was rooting for him. Matter of fact, he acquired a nickname. Instead of Clarence, they started calling him “C-note.” He liked it, even though he didn’t know what it meant. But when they explained that a hundred-dollar bill was called a C-note, he was flattered and overjoyed.

It was the twenty-ninth day of waiting to find out about the prize money when the banker called Clarence to his office. The little boy sat down, anticipating his hundred dollars—ready to scream just as loud as he could.

The banker smiled, cleared his throat and said, “Young man, I want to tell you how admirable it is that you brought the money in when you found it. Some boys would have run off to the candy store or hid it in a jar in the back yard. Unfortunately, I’m sorry to report that as it turns out, after the books have been budgeted and calculated, that hundred dollars belongs to the bank.”

Clarence cried. He tried not to do so. He tried to keep what the preacher always called a “stiff upper lip,” but even though his lips seemed quite all right, his eyes were pouring.

The banker came from behind his desk, put an arm around the boy and said, “Now, now. Don’t you cry. Because we at the bank have decided to give you five dollars as a finders fee.”

Now, it wasn’t much money. Certainly not a hundred. But it seemed to be enough encouragement to turn off the water faucets in his eyes.

He ran out of the bank with his five-dollar bill and down the street. He bought something for his brother, Cameron, something for his mother and something for himself. They had a wonderful night together, celebrating their sudden wealth and how much they loved each other.

Only one problem arose from the situation: Cameron was pissed off that he didn’t have a nickname, too. After much deliberation and even a little bit of prayer, he decided that from that point on, he wanted to be known as Camo.

It didn’t have any meaning. Yet from that moment, the twins became known as C-note and Camo.

Their eighth year looked similar to their ninth. And the tenth year was marked by a brief visit to some friends in Harrisburg.

They went to school, they wore the clothes provided, they smiled at the right adults and when those grown-ups weren’t looking, they had their fun.

One of their favorite pastimes was climbing an old mulberry tree down by the railroad tracks. It was a huge one—about eight enormous branches going up to the sky. Each boy marked his courage by how high he was willing to go on the branches leading to heaven.

C-note had made it to the third branch. Camo was still sitting on the second one, mustering up the courage to shimmy up the tree.

One day, they foolishly invited their mother out to watch them climb. She was terrified. She almost forbade them to do it anymore, but after much pleading she made a compromise. “You can climb that, but no higher than that third branch,” she said, pointing it out to them. She made them point it out, too, so there wouldn’t be any misunderstanding.

But it is truly amazing how quickly a mother’s advice evaporates in the heat and enthusiasm of a climb.

On the Monday morning before Thanksgiving, C-note decided it was time to go to Level 4. Camo was scared—shaking like a leaf.

C-note mocked him for his cowardice. “If you’re gonna be a big boy, you’ve gotta do big things,” he said.

Having never reached for the fourth branch, knowing nothing about it, C-note was unaware that the fourth branch was broken. And even though he was a young boy, his weight was still enough that when he grabbed on, a big piece of branch broke off in his hands and he fell to the Earth. The fall seemed to last forever, as he stared up into the top of the tree and the world began to spin.

All at once he landed—flat on his back.

He waited for the pain. He was surprised he was still awake. Suddenly his ears opened, and he could hear Camo screaming. And then, the sounds of one, two, five, maybe ten people running in his direction. He was so scared he pooped his pants. Now he was dying and going to stink.

Something odd, though, was that he didn’t feel damaged. He didn’t think he was dead. And when the people began to gather around him, he could make out faces, which meant his brain was still working.

It took about five minutes, but the doctor arrived, and with the assistance of a couple other men and one woman, they moved him gently, and the doctor checked him over for broken bones, cuts, bruises—and found nothing.

Camo explained that C-note had fallen from the fourth branch, which was about twenty feet up in the air. Then one of the observers looked down, pointed, and said, “Look! That’s what saved you.”

C-note, now fully conscious and aware of what was going on, turned around and saw a mashed wild turkey, which had broken his fall—but had also broken its neck. It was lying on the ground, looking like…well, looking like an eighty-five-pound twelve-year-old boy had fallen twenty feet from the sky on top of it. The bird did not fare well.

C-note was pronounced sound of body.

The turkey was dead on arrival.

Everybody laughed, then cried. And then, when it occurred to them that they had experienced a bona fide miracle of supernatural intervention, they sat down under the tree and got real quiet. Here’s what they thought.

“How did a turkey end up at exactly that place at exactly that time, when a little boy was falling from the sky, unless God Himself plucked it from the woods and placed it there, granting it final purpose? And we all know–this is one of the more noble ways a turkey can die.”

C-note was mystified and angered by the whole situation. He shouldn’t have been climbing the tree—not that fourth branch. Why did a turkey have to die because he was disobedient? And why was God going around asking turkeys to help dumb little boys?

It just didn’t make sense.

By this time the city newspaper—even though Blanchport was not a city—had sent a photographer to the scene. As they carefully removed the carcass of the sacrificial fowl, the photographer asked if C-note would be willing to kind of “re-enact” what happened.

He shook his head. “I ain’t climbin’ that dumb tree and falling again just so you can get a picture.”

The photographer patted him on the shoulder. “No, no. I just want you to sprawl out on the ground there and pretend you’ve got a turkey under your back.”

C-note squinted. Mrs. Marlins stepped in and explained what the photographer was trying to communicate in more kid-like language. So C-note spread himself out like he’d just fallen from the tree. The newsman took two shots, which appeared in the newspaper three days later.

In the meantime it was the talk of the town—no, much more than that. It was the only thing anybody could think about.

The preacher down at the Pentecostal Church was certain it was a sign from God that little Clarence was a prophet.

Some of the more sensitive folks who dressed up their dogs in costumes—that type—had a memorial service for the turkey.

And speaking of the turkey, something had to be done with it. It was suggested that it would be wonderful to pluck the bird, dress it and give it to Murty and her little family for Thanksgiving.

The grocer threw in some ‘taters, snap green beans, gravy and miscellaneous sweets to complete the deal. It was so thrilling.

The television station in Pittsburgh contacted the mayor and asked if they could bring in a camera crew to do an interview with C-note about the whole magical turkey event. (Although it never happened because some other more important news came along to delay them, the town felt important, always knowing they had been considered.)

It did nothing to calm the heart and soul-searching of Clarence.

He asked advice from his schoolteacher. Her words were, “Be grateful.”

He asked the oldest lady in the community—who everybody called Aunt Rachel—what she thought he should feel and do about the dead creature. She closed her eyes, looked like she was praying for a moment, and then said to C-note, “I just talked to the turkey in heaven…and he forgives you.”

Unimpressed with her response, C-note went to Deacon Connelly, who did a lot of hunting and had shot a turkey or two in his time. C-note wanted to discuss his feelings, but Deacon Connelly was so impressed with the fact that it was a clean kill and there was no need to remove buckshot from the carcass that he chattered away, unaware of the boy’s turmoil.

On his way home from Deacon Connelly, C-note ran across the drifter referred to as “the town drunk.” C-note was pretty sure his name was Mandrake. Mandrake was a nice enough fellow when he was sober, which was so in infrequent that nobody thought of him as a nice fellow.

But on this day, he’d only had a little bit of the juice. When C-note called to him, he answered, “Boy! I got a new name for you. They oughta call you ‘Fallin’ Leaves.’”

C-note was confused. He wanted to ignore Mandrake, but he kept going. “You see what I mean?” asked Mandrake. “You got yourself a dead turkey. You know why?”

C-note shrugged.

The drunk continued. “You have a dead turkey because that’s what your fallingleaves.”

Mandrake burst into laughter. C-note was not amused, even though he kind of understood the joke. It just seemed improper to be laughing so near the demise of his savior.

His brain popped up the word “savior” without him even thinking about it. It wasn’t like C-note thought the turkey was Jesus Christ. And even though Jesus might be saving his soul from hell, the turkey kept him from getting’ there.

It left him cold, a little frightened and humble.

When he got home and saw that his savior had been plucked, oiled and was heading for the oven, he burst into tears again.

Camo screamed at him. “Godammit, would you stop cryin’? Mama might decide not to cook it.”

His mother tried to comfort Clarence, but he just could not wrap his mind around eating his savior. He didn’t think he could even watch other people devour his protector.

About four hours later, Mama came into the room and found him in a fitful sleep. She gently woke him up, whispering, “Dinner’s ready.”

He just shook his head. He didn’t know what to say.

She hugged him real tight—the way mothers are supposed to do in those situations. He was expecting sympathy, but instead, he got the razor of her truth.

“There’s two things I want you to understand, Clarence.” (She had never gotten used to calling him C-note.) “The first thing I want you to understand is that in five minutes we’re gonna walk out of this room and gorge ourselves on turkey and fixings before it gets cold. I will not hear any more nonsense about trying to preserve a bird that’s already gobbled its way to glory.”

She paused, eyes glittering. “And the second thing is, you can honor this bird by learning from it. As you eat this meal that we did not expect to have, you can speak to the meat provided and say, ‘Thanks for catching me. I’m sorry it cost you your life. No disrespect, but may I say, you sure do taste good.’”

C-note didn’t want to listen to his mother’s counsel, but memories of the yardstick she kept in the closet and occasionally applied to his backside made him more pliable.

For the rest of his life, he never ate a turkey dinner without thinking about the one that rescued his life. The one that kept him going. And whether it was a miracle or not, the intervention was sweet.

For every creature on Earth will eventually experience a falling…

And only time will tell what it leaves.

Catchy (Sitting 31) Everything Butte That…January 14th, 2018

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Sitting on the tarmac in Butte, Montana, getting ready to lift off in the jet back to Las Vegas, Jubal Carlos desperately tried to capture pieces of his mind, seeming to float in his inner space.

The major question was very simple. What in the hell was he doing? He found himself interacting and working with people he hadn’t even known this time last year. They were nice enough, but a loneliness was settling into his soul–a yearning for purpose to join passion, to offer possibility.

The band he once loved was beginning to grumble and complain over the schedule, even though there was lots of money and a gentle atmosphere for the work. He cited to his mates that they were reaching people, but realized that they were becoming weary in all their well-doing.

The craziness of Washington, D.C. and the near-death experience of Jo-Jay hollowed out his insides.

But mostly, it was Butte, Montana. It was the most recently-selected little city to receive the noontime luncheon and show. Of the thirty-thousand-plus residents, a jubilant and warm-hearted five hundred came out to sit on the grass and “consider the lily.”

Shortly after the rally was over, Jubal excused himself and drove a rental car over to a nearby convenience store to buy snacks for the plane trip. In the parking lot he saw four young men sitting in the back of a pick-up truck, passing rifles back and forth.

It seemed fairly harmless.

Just before Jubal entered the store, one of the young men screamed across the distance, “So do you supposed to be Jesus?”

His comrades in the truck giggled.

Jubal just smiled, waved them off, and went into the store to acquire his delights. When he came out, the four fellows were gathered around his rental car. A shiver went down Jubal’s spine. Could be trouble. Yet small-town folks could just be curious, even though you’d swear it seemed threatening.

Jubal took a deep breath and walked to his car. He opened it, threw in his supplies and started to climb in himself when one of the young men grabbed his arm.

“You ain’t Jesus,” he said.

Jubal mustered his courage. “You sure are right. I’m not. No more Jesus than you are.”

“Well, I ain’t Jesus,” said another.

The boys showed no sign of being dangerous, but were certainly out on a lark, and Jubal realized that from their menacing profile, they could accidentally produce some mayhem.

A third one spoke. “We got all the Jesus we need here. What nationality are you anyway?”

Jubal smiled. “I don’t know. My mother died before I was two. My father split out after he found out I was gonna be born, and I don’t know where my grandparents are. So I usually have people guess. What nationality do you think I am?”

The fourth one piped up. “You look a little Korean.”

The other three laughed. “He ain’t no Korean,” said the second fellow. He was still holding his shotgun. The other three had leaned their weapons against the car, making Jubal’s departure more precarious.

The original fellow who had yelled across the parking lot offered, “I think he’s just a partially bleached-out nigger.”

“Now, Billy–you can’t say that word. It’s not proper,” laughed his friend.

“What? Bleached out?” said Billy, giggling.

Jubal decided it was time for him to use the gifts God had given him. “I could be bleached out,” he said. “You see, when I was a little boy, the foster home I was living in did laundry every Tuesday morning, and I wasn’t able to help much. So I sat on a stool nearby, watching all the grownups and older kids work on the clothes.”

Suddenly all four gentlemen were listening intently. Jubal continued. “Well, here’s what happened. Auntie Maria–that’s what we called her–well, she brought in a big bucket of bleach. And wouldn’t you know? I was so young and dumb I thought it was water. So when nobody was lookin’, I jumped in. I mean, the bucket was big enough to hold me, and I saw no reason to resist.”

There were a couple of snickers.

Jubal pressed on. “I wasn’t in the bleach very long. So I didn’t get totally bleached out, like you suggested. But word has it that before I went in that bleach, I was as black as an ace of spades.”

The young men stared at him curiously. Billy squinted. “So what you’re sayin’ is, you could be bleached out.”

“Maybe you are, too,” said Jubal.

Young Man Two jumped in, objecting. “No siree. I’ve been white all my life. I’ll live white and I’ll die white.”

“Well, I’ll probably die this color,” answered Jubal, “unless I get a hankering to jump in some more bleach.”

“You’re a dumbass,” said Billy flatly.

“Of course I am,” smiled Jubal. “What kind of idiot jumps in a bucket of bleach? So if you fine gentlemen will forgive me, I’ve got some friends waitin’ for me.”

There was a long pause as the group considered their options.They looked around the parking lot to see if they had gained any attention. There was a small crowd at the door, watching the events, since word had spread that the “Jesus fella” was in town and was picking himself up some Twinkies.

Billy peered at Jubal. “Do you think Jesus liked guns?” he challenged.

Jubal thought for a moment to make sure he portrayed that he was taking the question seriously. “I don’t know, Billy. I’m not real familiar with his feeling on firearms. But I do know that he loves people. And I do know he loves you fellas.”

They laughed him to scorn.

Billy turned to walk away, motioning to his friends to come on. “Like we were tellin’ you–we got plenty of Jesus here. You don’t need to come back.”

With a smooth, choreographed motion, Jubal slid into the car, shut the door and rolled down the power window. “Tell you what. Maybe I’ll just come back and see you guys. Thanks for the conversation. By the way, you didn’t ask me what I think about guns.”

Billy paused, turned around and frowned. “Well, that’s true.”

“You see?” said Jubal. “I’ve already got a reason to come back.”

He rolled up the window, started the car, backed up and drove away.

As Jubal sat on the plane, he realized that even though the moment in the Butte parking lot had been fraught with some danger, he loved it.

He loved the opportunity to meet people and see if he could sweeten their spirits and motivate their minds.

Off to Vegas.

Another three hours in the air, when he should be sleeping.

But his thoughts held him captive.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … December 26th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2794)

Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Man,

I do need another choice.

Something between independent and dependent is what I’m looking for. I don’t know about you. Independent sounds stupid. What’s the whole purpose of a relationship then? It also makes me sound bratty.

Dependent, on the other hand… Well, I don’t even know where to start with that.

It just seems to me that what we end up needing makes us needy and then eventually frustrates us because we don’t ever seem to get as much as we need.

 

Dear Woman,

Do you think it’s any different for me? If I don’t act independent, all my friends say I’m pussy whipped. Yet if I become dependent, hang around more often or become interested in something that is deemed “feminine,” my masculinity is in question.

 

Dear Man,

So do you think this is normal?

 

Dear Woman,

Well, if it is normal, it’s pretty unpleasant. You see, I don’t even know if I can use the word “unpleasant.” It challenges my macho. But if I acted macho you’d cry.

 

Dear Man,

Do you think I like to cry? I just started crying when I was a little kid.

 

Dear Woman,

So did I. But somewhere along the line, an adult picked me up and said, “You’re a big boy, now. Be tough. Don’t cry.”

But my eyes still water if I shut my thumb in the door.

 

Dear Man,

So you’re saying you want to cry and you don’t?

 

Dear Woman,

I’m saying I don’t know. There’s so much expected of me that I can’t tell the difference between what is real and what is programmed. For instance, since we’re being honest, I don’t like spiders either.

 

Dear Man,

So why didn’t you say something?

 

Dear Woman,

Because you’re scared of them and it’s my job to come to the rescue and… I don’t know. Slay the damn thing.

 

Dear Man,

Aren’t there guys who don’t mind killing spiders?

 

Dear Woman,

I don’t know because we wouldn’t be allowed to say. I just think that some guys get used to doing it with their hands and other guys grab a tissue, wishing they can use their foot. It just sucks.

 

Dear Man,

So for me, when I’m too independent you look weak. When I’m too dependent, I feel weak.

 

Dear Woman,

And when you’re too independent, I feel like I should be supportive, but I feel left out. And when you’re too dependent, I wonder if I have enough energy, courage and faith to carry the both of us.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 33 (March 12th, 1967) Charley … September 27, 2014

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(2364)

(Transcript)

Charley loved to run.

Not me.

I had chubby legs that seemed to be made out of cotton candy, generating the gait of a circus elephant.

In one of the brief fits of verbosity that possessed his soul, Charley once shared with me that running faster and faster made him feel that his feet were leaving the ground and he was soaring into the heavens to dance with the angels.

Pretty articulate for a Midwest kid.

I decided to go out for track and field more or less because I didn’t have anything else to do. Since I could not run or jump, they asked me to try out on the shot put. I did.

I was unimpressed, so I fell back into my acquired nature of quitting. But even though I departed the team, I found myself during study hall sitting at the table with these athletes, and when the monitor left the room, Randy spoke up and gave us a juicy piece of gossip. (Randy was also a runner but never quite as fast as Charley.)

Randy explained that Charley was a “gypsy type.” Now, I do not know what the origin of that phrase was in our community, but I knew that “gypsy type” meant that Charley was–well, dangerous. The adults had other terms for Charley’s problem when they were alone and away from the children.

  • “Effeminate.”
  • “Queer.”
  • “Sodomite.”

Although I had no personal experience with Charley demonstrating such bizarre behavior, in 1967 just the mention of the situation caused your skin to crawl, making you want to avoid any contact with such perverted beings.

Randy knew this. In other words, it didn’t have to be true–just spoken. The gossip mill and bigotry would do the rest.

No one drew close to Charley after that.

He ate alone, he ran alone, he walked alone, he talked alone.

When he asked me why I was not sharing with him anymore, I clumsily replied, “I’ve been busy.”

One day we came to school and he was gone. No one even asked where he was or if he was coming back. Charley was soon forgotten, and the quest for other “gypsy types” was set in motion with renewed scrutiny.

It was many years later that Randy, the accuser of his running friend, came out of the closet, admitting that he was gay. (“Gypsy type” was no longer acceptable terminology.) Randy was lauded for his courage. He was embraced by his friends. Matter of fact, he was set apart as an example of someone who had endured a silent persecution and now was set free.

Mustering some boldness, I asked Randy about Charley. He said he didn’t remember much about Charley.

He paused and then added, “Oh, wasn’t Charley that good-looking kid that was really fast?”

I just smiled, and said, “Yeah. That’s him.”

I walked away from that encounter realizing that there is no such thing as a “righteous” judgment.

It’s all just crapping on people.

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Friends With Benefits… October 14, 2013

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I do believe she was a little peeved with me, even though her cordiality remained intact during our entire exchange.

She questioned an assertion I had made during my presentation, about Jesus wanting to make us all “look good.” The premise of my statement was based on the feeding of the five thousand, when the disciples were unable to muster either courage or faith for the experience, but Jesus granted them a tender leniency and came up with a plan to involve them–even though at first they were reluctant participants.

She said she was baffled at the notion that Jesus would want to make anyone “look good.” I think she believed that being the son of God, he had an agenda of a divine nature which superseded all temporary relationships or slack that one might cut to a companion during a weaker moment.

I was sympathetic. I understand that our religious system conveys that God stomps around heaven, frustrated that His will is not being done. Unfortunately, I could never worship such a Being. Why would I be interested in a God who is not as friendly to me, sensitive to me or as willing to adjust to me as one of my friends?

If He truly has the power of being all-knowing, why can’t He know that sometimes I’m weak without being angry about it? And on those occasions, I could really use Him to be tender instead of full of commandments and wrath.

Yes, I believe that Jesus came to earth so that we would understand that our relationship with God is “friends with benefits.”

Not only do we gain a friend who is our Father, our Companion, and our Giver of grace, but the story also tells us that at the end of this excursion of relationship, we get to go to heaven.

Why would I worship a God who does not want to make me look good, but is so intent on His own mission that He doesn’t even take a second to factor in my frailties?

I shared this with her but I don’t think she was convinced. Some folks need a God of rigorous principle, so that by toeing the line they can feel empowered. And when they fall short they can fearfully repent, hoping to achieve His mercy.

Honestly, if that’s the way God really is, I am literally in a helluva lot of trouble.imaginary friend

Bill Maher often jokes that people who believe in God are just pursuing an “imaginary friend.” Okay, let’s play along.

What if He IS an imaginary friend? At least He’s a friend, right? He’s not out to smite me with fire and brimstone, decimating my house for all generations. And considering the fact that the average therapist costs somewhere between $150 and $10000 an hour, it is certainly a cost-saver to have an imaginary friend to listen to your lamentations.

Also, if He ends up being imaginary, what did I lose? So I die and find out there’s nothing. Of course, I jest, because I wouldn’t even find out, would I?

On the other hand, if it does end up being some rendition of what I believe, then I get to meet the Person who understood every step of my journey, relished my foibles by showing His wisdom to my betterment, and stayed closer than a brother.

Perhaps my Friend is imaginary. I don’t think so–but I do know this: He is a Friend.

And as a Friend … He is intent on making me look good.

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The Day After… July 5, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1934)

The day after I was born, I was a squalling, moody, pink blob of pending poop.

The day after my first kindergarten class, I was confused by the ABC’s, hoping and praying we would spend more time with round-tipped scissors and delicious paste.

The day after puberty began, I was greatly enamored with my abilities and appearance while frightened that I had five more years of school and celibacy.

The day after I graduated from high school, I was shocked by how little the world cared.

The day after I got married, I realized that my wife needed a man, and I had no idea whatsoever where to find one.

The day after my first son was born, I was surprised that no one would let me be a child with him.

The day after I nearly died, I concluded that life is brief and unsympathetic to the procrastinator.

And …

The day after they signed the Declaration of Independence, very frightened patriots probably wished they could take it back.

Fear is what intelligent people do to buy some time to gain courage.

The day after I die, I will know if what I believe is real–or just a bunch of crap.

Scary.

Lord, grant me the time … to muster bravery.

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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