PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … June 21st, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3344)

Standing There

I was just seventeen

Trying not to be mean

When I saw her standing there

Is she terrified?

I am

I brushed my teeth four times

Back and forth, side to side

Even upside down

Yet the foul is returning

My deodorant is so damn unpredictable

Was that a whiff of skunk?

I’m sweating

It’s not hot

She is

I’m not

Does she know that I’m plain?

Yes, plain

Dry toast without butter

Marshmallow minus cream

They say women are from Venus

I, supposedly, am from Mars

Could someone build a spaceship?

Maybe we could date on the moon

And gradually come down to Earth

That sounds romantic

No, wait. Corny

Corny is bad

Like my deteriorating breath

She is fidgeting

Or maybe just exercising

I am not athletic

I bounce the ball

And then watch it roll away from me in disgust

Yes, the ball had an opinion

It mocked my efforts to participate

Doesn’t she do most of the stuff I do?

Just not as noisy or smelly

Is there common ground?

Why are we on the ground?

Many magnificent wonders

I want to talk to her

No, I don’t

Talking is dangerous

It demands sentences

Verbs connecting nouns

Yet I need to communicate with her

Hand signals are out of the question.

And unfortunately, spontaneous making out is rare

Some sort of interaction is required

I wish my dog was prettier

Forget I said that

No, promise you forgot

I like girls

Even when they’re women

I just don’t want a mother

I have one

I will savor the unique experience

Why doesn’t she talk to me?

Maybe she can’t talk

A deaf mute

Why does that interest me?

Did she just check her breath?

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Dudley … March 9th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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DUDLEY

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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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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … October 23rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3102)

Dear Man Dear Woman

Man: I was thinking about Donald Trump.

 

Woman: What a coincidence. Because I was thinking about Hillary. What brought Donald to your mind?

 

Man: There’s such an uproar about him and the things he says. I was just wondering…well, I guess, wishing I would have had the chance to know him when he was young.

 

Woman: That’s so weird. I was thinking the same about Hillary. Yes, I would love to have had a chance to know her before there was a Bill Clinton, or all this political barbed wire that tries to cage her up as a villain.

 

Man: What I was thinking about is that when we’re young, there are three things that happen to all of us, in some form, that shape us. Three things that expose us to everyone around us, and we develop our sense of security or frustration.

 

Woman: That’s interesting. What are the three things?

 

Man: Well, you can probably think of your own, but I find the three things to be the locker room, camp and dating. That’s when we are suddenly taken out of the comfort of our zone, and we fall under the scrutiny of other people’s judgment.

 

Woman: Wow. That’s heavy. So I guess what I’m saying is that I would like to have met Hillary in the locker room.

 

Man: Now, that does sound a little bit odd.

 

Woman: No more odd than you wanting to meet Donald in the locker room.

 

Man: So what would you have said to Hillary?

 

Woman: “Relax. Some people look more endowed, more blessed, more athletic, but in the long run, it all comes to the surface and they are less advantaged in other areas. Don’t try to be the prettiest and the best or feel cheated because you aren’t.”

 

Man: Exactly. “Donald, stop worrying about your hands, or anything else that protrudes from your body. Just realize that you have gifts and they will come to the forefront when it’s time.”

 

Woman: Do you think he learned to be a bully in the locker room?

 

Man: Do you think she acquired some of her insecurity there?

 

Woman: Camp–the first time the lights are turned off in the cabin, and you’re with a group of girls and you can talk about what scares you, why you think your hips are too big and who you really like…

 

Man: Yes, I wonder if Donald ever actually sat in a log cabin somewhere in the woods with a bunch of guys who were at ease, and truth started slipping out because the room was just dark enough that you’re not afraid about how you sound.

 

Woman: You can tell by the fact that these two people choose lying lying that they were horribly misinformed about life.

 

Man: It is the truth that makes us free. But to allow for that freedom, we need to at least be around someone who allows the truth to come forth without criticizing us.

 

Woman: And then there’s dating. Isn’t that the third thing you mentioned?

 

Man: Absolutely. It’s terrifying.

 

Woman: Why do you think it’s so terrifying? Let me answer my own question. For me, it brought every fear and inadequacy to the forefront–like I was certain the person I was going out with was completely aware of all the stubble hair in my armpits.

 

Man: Could you ever eat enough Tic-Tacs to be confident about your breath? So what would you tell Hillary about that?

 

Woman: I would say, “Hillary, you’re going to meet a lot of men you’re going to love and who would be willing to love you. But you won’t meet many who give you a love that you can trust in.”

 

Man: I would say to Donald, “Even though you grew up in a neighborhood with a family which felt that bullying, being forceful and mean was viable, the best way to prove your strength is to not use it all the time. It’s all right to lose as long as you learn from it, and it’s certainly necessary to apologize if you want to be forgiven.”

 

Woman: I would love to have known Hillary when she was young. I would love to have caught her before she ended up with a cheater, believing it was the best she could get.

 

Man: And I would love to have known Donald when he still had a chance to believe in the power of kindness mingled with ingenuity instead of trying to control through domination.

 

Woman: Too bad we weren’t there.

 

Man: Actually, I’m grateful there was someone there for me so I don’t have to constantly prove my masculinity by pushing my way through.

 

Woman: And I’m glad that I feel confident in myself, and just include others for the joy of it instead of the need.

 

Man: Do you think we really could have made a difference?

 

Woman: Probably not. We were just learning the stuff ourselves.

 

Man: Maybe we can just help the young Donalds and Hillarys around us, who have not yet decided to give up and use deceit instead of talent.

 

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Ask Jonathots … November 12th, 2015

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I’m a fourteen-year-old girl and I’ve been playing soccer since I was six. I have a really good kick, and I want to try out for kicker on the high school football team next spring. Everyone has an opinion about it. My parents are afraid I’ll get hurt, and also that I won’t get asked out on dates by boys. My soccer girlfriends are upset because the schedule means I can’t play soccer. I’m a little scared myself, but more about my physicality–I’m really good, but will I get better, like a boy would? Any advice–both about the physical part and the social part?

There is only one great gift we can give to ourselves: tell the truth.

Honestly, if you don’t tell anybody else the truth, you can still find peace of mind if you know that you’re being completely honest. What destroys us is when we create a lie and spend a lot of time convincing ourselves it’s the truth.

I tell you that because the most important question facing you is: why do you want to kick for the high school football team?

The question is not whether you should or whether boys will want to date you–the greatest attraction boys and girls have for each other is success. In other words, if you’re a successful high school kicker, boys will be drawn to you.

Don’t get me wrong–I’m not saying you are lying.  As long as your reason for wanting to kick on the high school football team is because you’re good enough to kick on the high school football team, and  you’re sure it’s the next step in your progress as an athlete, then by all means, go ahead.

So how do you know if your own heart is truthful, and that your reasons for doing this are based on your own desire?

1. If it weren’t unusual, would you still want to do it?

In other words, if you were a boy, would you still want to kick on the football team? If the answer is yes, then what’s the difference in being a girl? The goal is to make the kick–not whether it’s done by a girl or a boy.

2. Can you do this with belief in your heart, realizing that criticism will come, but it won’t change your mind?

You will have to have some determination. If it’s worth it, then determination will come.

3. And finally, if it doesn’t go well, will you still be glad you did it?

Simply put, is this valuable enough to you that if you fail at it, you will still be glad you tried because it’s what you needed to do?

This is all about you.

It’s not about what other people think and it certainly is not about avoiding trying to do it because you’re afraid of what people will feel.

I believe in you.

I wouldn’t care if you were a girl or a boy.

I would just want to know that it’s your dream…and you’re going to do it well. 

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Confessing … September 5th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2683)

XVIII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

She was married and so was I–but not to each other.

She loved my mind.

I, hers.

We were connected in heart and soul.

From the first day, she sat and listened to my compositions, and I told her I wanted to record them and put them out, while starting my own music group to travel the country, sharing.

She was there.

She signed up.

For eight years, she stayed devoted to the dream as we crossed the nation, appeared on the PTL Club, the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, recorded at Johnny Cash’s studio, and even, in some cities, hit the gospel music charts.

We were close.

She was happy.

I wanted more.

I misinterpreted her consecration and faith in me for romance. I pushed. She pulled back, so I pushed some more.

She didn’t want to lose our friendship and mission, so she would occasionally give in to some awkward situations. Yes, she pretended to be interested.

She wasn’t.

I knew it.

This sometimes made me fussy and mean. We argued.

I turned something spiritual into a carnal nightmare. We never did anything. Honestly, if she had opened up to the boy-girl thing, I probably would have run like a frightened school child. She tried to reason with me.

Then her husband had an affair. She was broken and anguished. They divorced.

But rather than being a friend to her, I was just another source of conflict. She thought about dating, and because we were such good friends she asked me about it, but I discouraged her because of my raging jealousy.

She was so unhappy.But she still stayed as long as she could because she loved the music.

I drove her away–and when she left, she felt like we couldn’t be friends anymore without errupting the volcano of dissatisfaction.

We should have great memories.

We should be contacting each other frequently with updates on our lives.

But you see, I wasn’t happy with mere happiness. I wanted a “more” that I couldn’t explain but still tried to pursue.

I was young, foolish and self-centered.

I am sorry.

I had her full love, deep respect and tremendous honor–and lost it in pursuit of her flesh.

Love isn’t crazy.

I am crazy to have lost a living love … for the prospect of a temporary connection.

 

Confressing red microphone

 

 

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Confessing … July 11th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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X.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

Her name was Sherry.

She lived ten miles from my home town. She liked me.

I knew this–the way an eighteen-year-old boy is aware that a girl is attracted to him because she’s awkward and nervous, while still persisting in hanging around.

I met her from Bible League. Bible League is a little hard to explain, but just envision Jeopardy! on scriptural steroids. I competed against her church and we struck up a conversation a time or two, and she made it clear that she was very interested in me by listening to my stories long after they possessed any intrigue.

I got my girlfriend pregnant my senior year in high school. Being good Ohio boys and girls, we decided to get married. She went off to Europe on a summer vacation and never wrote me.

This was not the plan. Of course, I was convinced she was carousing with every young French boy who knew where the back stairs were to the Eiffel Tower. I was upset.

I was moping around the house one day when my brother suggested I invite another girl on a date just to get my mind off of it. It seemed unfaithful, but when he offered his car and twenty dollars for the excursion, all my defenses broke down.

So I thought of Sherry. I was not in the mood to ask a girl out and get a no, and I was fully aware that she would say yes. She did. Matter of fact, it was an enthusiastic affirmative.

I got directions to her house–a long driveway leading back to a beat-up mobile home surrounded by trash and enough dogs for a junk yard.

We got in the car, went on the date, and she tried so hard to be perfect. Matter of fact, we ended up parking somewhere and necking for a while.

But it was romance by default and affection by revenge. I knew I was never going to be interested in Sherry.

She seemed oblivious to my indifference and shared her life story with me. She was poor, mistreated and even abused by her alcoholic father.

Damn. I should have cared.

I didn’t. I was smarting from my own little crisis.

About halfway through the date she made it clear that she wanted to see me again, and also sent out a signal that she was prepared to go further romantically on this date if I was interested.

I wasn’t interested, and fortunately, didn’t take advantage of her.

As I dropped her off, I kissed her goodnight, knowing that I would never see her again.

One week later I received a letter from her in the mail, sharing how much she had enjoyed our time and hoping that her vulnerability and living situation had not been a turnoff to me.

I didn’t respond.

Sherry deserved so much more than my selfish leaping into a fling. She was wounded and I accidentally dribbled some salt water into it.

I wasn’t vicious. I wasn’t unloving. But I was one of the worst possible additions to her life. In her mind’s eye I was a nice boy who took her out on a date and never called again, proving to her that she was just white trash.

I don’t know what became of Sherry, but I learned very clearly that night, that a temporary need or a piercing yearning does not give us permission to use another person to comfort our woes.

confessing trailer home

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