Untotaled: Stepping 25 (March 12th, 1966) She Kissed Me … August 2, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

The romantic sex drive arrives before the license to drive.

At least it did for me.

This created a very uncomfortable situation–three times, I think–where my mother was the chauffeur for my date. It came down to the simple choice of whether to stifle my instincts, as an emerging young man, to be with a female, or to tolerate the primary female in my life–my mother–intervening with her prevalent personality.

On the first occasion of this collision of wills, I invited a young girl named Krissie out to a movie and a hamburger. Unfortunately, the drop-off was some twelve miles away, so we had to endure my mother’s attempts to be relevant to the younger generation. I did not realize there were so many derivations of the word “kids,” but in the process of the thirty-minute drive, Krissie and I were referred to as children, youngsters, teenies, child, students, kiddos and cuties.

Even though I was extraordinarily embarrassed, I was determined to endure the ordeal for the privilege of spending time with this young lady, who had decided I was worth at least one evening’s consideration.

I cannot tell you that the situation became much better after we were dropped off at the theater. I was so nervous that I can’t even remember what movie we went to, and was unable to finish my hamburger, which normally I would have done easily, with an extra one on the side.

The whole time I was trying to figure out if I was talking enough or talking too much. I can’t explain the gauntlet of pain I endured in an attempt to hold her hand.

But soon I realized that she was just as terrified as I was, because when I reached for her dainty fingers in the theater, what I grasped was similar to a wet sponge.

Questions popped into my mind:

  • Do I kiss her?
  • What would she think?
  • Do I know how to kiss?
  • How could I make sure my mother would not see?
  • Would Krissie laugh at me?
  • Would she make fun of me with her friends?
  • What if I don’t kiss her?

Well, my mother picked us up and took us back to the house, and fortunately, Krissie decided to take a detour to the back door of the home, where we would have more privacy from my mother’s purview. My knees were buckling and there was a tiny dribble of sweat careening down my leg.

We climbed the stoop, and before I could even consider my next move, Krissie leaned over and kissed me on the lips, pulled away for a brief second, and then came in and kissed me again.

I barely even noticed the onion from her hamburger.

Without another word, she disappeared into the house.

Rarely in my life have I experienced the euphoria that followed that divine piece of lip-lock. I felt a combination of gratitude along with a notification by mail that I was officially voted in as Master of the Universe.

I was even able to enjoy the ever-flowing conversation with my mother on the way home.

Krissie kissed me.

And like so many other wonderful women who have honored me with their presence, she saw my weakness and helped me turn it into a strength.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 2 (December 22nd, 1963) … February 15, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

It had been exactly one month since the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

I didn’t care.

The reason for my indifference was that my parents were antagonistic against the now-deceased President. Mom and Dad were staunch Republicans, always voting “a straight Party ticket.” Perhaps worse, their political leanings often came with a nasty side order of insults and insinuations.

Two of their favorite words when referring to “that other Party” were queer and Communist.

I was twelve years old–I didn’t know what either word meant. But I surmised that “Communist” meant attempting to overthrow all the good things in our society, including candy and ice cream, and “queer” had something to do with Hollywood stars hanging around the JFK/Camelot White House.

So when the announcer from CBS came on to give a report about what had transpired since the Dallas shooting, I realized that my parents were in the room and it was a great opportunity for me to make some brownie points with them. Christmas was coming up and I had asked for a transistor radio. I was at that awkward age when I wasn’t sure if Christmas gifts came from Father Christmas or Father Cring. I thought I might please Mom and Dad by making a derogatory comment about the late President when the report commemorating his death took a commercial break.

So when the announcer said that the President was killed just a month ago, I clapped my hands in glee and shouted, “Nice shot!”

I turned, smiling, expecting approval from my overseers. But instead, for some reason they frowned, gasped–and my dad walked over, slapped me in the head and ordered me to my room. I lodged a few half-sentence objections, but he was trailing behind me, literally pushing me toward my destination.

Once imprisoned in my bedroom, I sat in a chair, confused.

What had happened? Wasn’t I just repeating what they had said all the previous weeks? Didn’t I hear them point out that he had brought this on himself? That he was the cause of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs and the rising cost of hamburger? What did I do wrong?

You see, what I was not privy to was the fact that my parents, over that thirty-day period, had repented of their narrow-mindedness and realized that a very interesting but flawed man had been brutally murdered in a country where such foolishness should be forbidden.

They had changed their minds about some things without telling me.

So when my dad struck out at me, he was really attacking his own prejudices, which were now speaking back at him, taunting him for his nasty opinions.

I was the victim of his own repentance.

But what really bothered me was whether this would jeopardize my transistor radio at Christmas. I was so relieved three days later when it was under the tree and I was given access to the rest of the world that existed beyond Letts Avenue.

Yes, my tiny radio became my “ear to the queer.” All the things I had not been allowed to listen to, consider or wonder about were suddenly being piped to me through a little speaker.

As I look back at it I feel shame–not because I was a stupid kid saying something ridiculous, but because it took me too many years after that irresponsible day to finally learn how to think for myself.

It was too long before I comprehended what really happened in Dallas on that horrible afternoon. It had nothing to do with politics. It was stupidity, arrogance and prejudice … given a gun.

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While I’m Looking … February 5, 2013

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eyeballWhile I’m looking for a happy millionaire, a cool cat, a pleasant planner, a thoughtful thinker, a Christian Christian and a content God, I do believe it would be a good idea to pursue some of the things I’ve learned while trying to uncover these treasures.

For instance, I have discovered that the best way to be happy is to show up with your own batch of good cheer instead of assuming it will be provided upon your arrival.

The best way to be a cool cat? Be aware of the world around you, care about what people are saying–and only share when you know it’s going to edify and help someone.

Even though people exchange pleasantries all the time, I have learned that the best way to come across pleasant is to always lead with a smile–even if a frown is thrown back in your face.

And in this era of knowledge being pushed constantly, with tons of statistics backing up every point, I like to flush my brain out and become the thoughtful human being I need to be by living out a simple principle: whatsoever things are good, think on those things. There are people who may accuse me of having my head in the sand, but I think that’s preferable to tossing my mind in the gutter.

To honor the beauty of the word “Christian,” I have selected the following profile: I always imagine that Jesus has asked me to keep an eye on his house while he’s out of town. If my neighbor did that, I would be conscientious. If my neighbor asked me to watch his home, I would take care of it the way I know that HE takes care of it. And if my friend trusted me enough to watch over his abode, I would make sure that when he returns, it’s just the way he likes it. Jesus loved people, hated pretense and was not terribly interested in religious practice. He’s left us in charge of his roof and doorstep. We might want to respect his wishes.

And finally, while I’m looking for a content God, I am going to choose to believe that God most certainly must be more gracious, merciful and nicer than me. It amazes me that some people worship a divine being who is NOT as courteous and loving as they themselves. I do not know why I would want to give my devotion to a spirit which I would not want to spend ten minutes with, sharing a McDonald’s hamburger. Yes–most certainly God has to be better than me. Otherwise, I’m sorry–He doesn’t get to be God.

I figure these practices and initiatives are gonna keep me busy–and also, might prevent me from becoming cynical about my quest for finding these particular individuals. Because who knows? Maybe they don’t even exist. But if they don’t, my world does not become better by knowing that. So I will continue to look for…

  • a happy millionaire
  • a cool cat
  • a pleasant planner
  • a thoughtful thinker
  • a Christian Christian
  • and a content God.

After all, it’s not that painful to go around and investigate. Truth be told, I’m having the time of my life.

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A Chili Reception … February 20, 2012

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Suddenly it all made sense.
 
As I gazed into the container tenderly caressing my luncheon possibility, I realized how it all came to be. For you see, this weekend I found myself in Rose Hill, Texas, during the annual, nearly world-famous chili dinner, which also featured everyone wearing western clothing and cowboy hats–and of course, in addition, Janet and I were there performing. (I don’t say this as a lamentation. For after all, even third billing does get you into the party.)
 
The people I met were fantastic. Now, I do understand that the word “fantastic” doesn’t really mean anything, similar to such other descriptions as “wonderful,” “really great,” “neat,” “interesting” and one of my favorites–“appropriate.”  So let me tell you what I mean by fantastic.
 
I discovered that the people of Rose Hill,Texas, made a great pot of people, so it should have come as no surprise that they concocted an equally inspired pot of chili. And what struck a chord in the music of my heart was how much the ingredients that go into being good chili-makers are also necessary in the process of generating good human beings.
 
Because when I arrived at my motel room to enjoy the chili I had purchased from the establishment, I immediately recognized three outstanding attributes of the concoction:
1.  It was obviously put together by humans who possessed willingness. How do I know that? Because of the way it was presented, the flavor and the texture. Somewhere along the line in “Chili Making,  One,” somebody turned to all the constituents and said, “Listen, we’re going to take this first year and learn what everybody likes, and we darned tootin’ better be willing to change.” My dear, sweet friends–don’t ever forget that willingness may be the most important ingredient that goes into making either chili or people. Because if you’re not willing to change, you’re going to end up digging your heels in and having only friends who are related to you and are therefore stuck with you, and serving a pot of chili that no one likes but you and yours. I say this to you because this particular batch of chili that was given to me was so thick with meat that it could have passed for Sloppy Joe or good barbecue. Somebody told these folks that the best part of chili is the hamburger meat, and rather than arguing with their customers, they decided to comply.
2. The second thing I noticed about my delicious lunch was that they separated the beans from the rest of the chili, placing them in a different container, just in case you didn’t like beans with your chili. You could put in as many beans as you wanted to, and adjust it to your liking. A chill went down my spine as I reveled in the knowledge that I was in the presence of people with awareness. Because after you have a willingness and you know there may be a need to change, you must have the awareness to acknowledge and follow through on the better choice. After all, we all know people who tell you what they should be doing, yet we are fully cognizant that they have no intentions of ever doing it. Not the good folks of Rose Hill. They separated their beans from their chili. So if you wanted chili with beans, you could stir them in to your heart’s content. And if you wanted it more “meaty” than “beany,” you could keep your beans on the side and nibble like a hamster. It also amazed me that the chili just had a little zing to it, but not enough pepper in the pot to scare away novices and those of delicate palate. You can always add more hot sauce, but it’s difficult to take it away. I was almost tearful about the amount of awareness the good folks of Rose Hill had put into their recipe. They had a wilingness to change and an awareness of the better choices.
3. And finally, as I sat there and ate my chili in utter delight (with a FORK, may I add–that’s how thick it was), I realized that some absolutely enlightened people had put a tremendous amount of affection into each and every bowl. Now, what is affection? “I will love myself enough to love you. I will not serve you a bowl of chili that I would not want to gulp down myself. I will put the best of what I have into what I do in order to guarantee a smile on your face.” And my grin was made even broader by the fact that the amount of food they gave me was enough to turn into a second meal sometime later in the week–due to their generous concept of a serving.
 
I so appreciated the folks in Rose Hill, because as we worshipped God together, they had a willingness–knowing that all of us need to change. They fostered an awareness. In other words, if you gave them a better choice, they were ready to move in that direction. And they generated legitimate affection–they loved themselves enough to include me.
 
And the beautiful thing is, it even showed up in their chili.
 
So as I finish my stay in this part of Texas, I will always remember the “chili reception” I received in Rose Hill–certainly not in the sense of being given the cold shoulder, but because fine folks had the willingness, awareness and affection to receive my message–and also to put the same loving kindness in their chili.
 
So if you ever come to this area of Texas, don’t forget to enjoy some Rose Hill chili. It is tried, tested and proven to be people-friendly. And let’s be honest–if we’re not people-friendly, it’s very difficult to get God’s approval anyway.
   
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Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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