Catchy (Sitting 44) A Very Slow Fast … April 15th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3643)

It was meant to be a very quiet arrival at Ronald Reagan Airport in Washington, D. C. Over the weekend, Jubal had contacted Matthew, explaining that he planned on returning on Wednesday afternoon at 2:15, and would appreciate a pickup, so he could get right back into the hunt of things. He had briefly updated Matthew on his journey.

Jubal had only spent four days with the Dalai Lama before traveling on to Japan, China, India, and ending up at a conference of rabbis and mullahs in Jerusalem. He had many stories and much adventure but he wanted to come home.

Matthew agreed to meet him in Washington, and contacted Soos to put together the “on-the-ground-plan.” Perhaps that was his mistake–because Soos decided that the return of Brother Carlos was good reason to have a national festival.

First she put the word out on social media, so there were five thousand screaming fans at the airport when he taxied down the runway. She also got hold of Mother Rolinda, who was still pastoring up in Baltimore, even though her burned-out church was being repaired and the local congregation was meeting in the park. Rolinda suggested they hire “The Angels”–fifty motor-cycle-riding dudes and lasses for God, who used to be part of the Hell’s Angels. Soos loved the idea and also thought a local high school marching band would be wonderful once they arrived in the middle of Washington, D. C.

As Matthew arrived at the airport, he became aware that he was once again part of an event. The past few weeks had changed him from a mere curmudgeon to a full-blown people-hater. He had “jailed himself” in Las Vegas for nearly a month. He drank, he slept, he gambled a bit, and he discussed with several prostitute friends whether lemon was necessary to add to the butter for a “good lobster-eatin’.”

So when Matthew drove up and saw all the people with banners and damnably sweet faces, he was tempted to turn around and pretend he had been waylaid in Nebraska due to a storm. (You could always count on Nebraska to provide you such a cover.) But he figured there was some member of the press who would identify him and foil his deception.

A beleaguered Matthew greeted a surprised Jubal Carlos, as they both headed to the parking lot and Jubal was offered a Harley Davidson to ride into Washington. (Matthew opted for the chauffeured Lincoln Town Car.)

Fifty motor-cycle disciples with shiny helmets were escorted into town by the police department as the fans roared and Jubal Carlos waved his fist in the air as if leading a charge at Gettysburg. The five miles into town were quickly covered, since there was such a smooth passage. As soon as the high school band saw Jubal, they burst into what sounded like a John Phillips Sousa march dipped in salsa. Jubal rolled up with his cohorts, jumped off his motorcycle and danced his way to a set of congas which were waiting for him and joined the band in sweet revelry.

Soos estimated there were probably ten thousand waiting for them in the Capitol Square. She had set up a microphone so Jubal could address the crowd and share about his journey.

After about ten minutes of music and everybody getting their fill of Nathan’s hot dogs, Jubal stepped onto the stage and walked up to the microphone. Matthew pushed closer–he wanted to both see and hear. He was curious. He had missed Jubal Carlos. Even though Matthew had no intention of bowing to a divinity, he still had deep admiration for Jubal’s convictions.

Jubal stood quietly for a minute, letting the crowd have its will. All at once, everyone fell silent. Jubal took the moment, added his own pause, and then spoke.

“I have been with the Dalai Lama, to Japan, China, the Ganges River in India, and Jerusalem, where Jesus was glorified.”

The crowd cheered. Jubal looked across the mass as if gazing upon a beautiful horizon. Then he started to laugh, pretended to wipe some sweat from his brow, leaned into the microphone and shouted: “But it sure is damn fine to be home!”

What followed was a scream that could have awakened all the stone monuments in the fair city. Matthew laughed. Jubal was very corny, somewhat predictable, fairly ordinary, and loved by all. Deep in his heart Matthew believed that he was much more clever than Mr. Carlos. Yet it was difficult for Matthew to get any affection, even from the bell-boy if he gave a particularly good tip. Jubal continued.

“I’m not gonna hold you here long, but I am going to tell you what’s next. I’m going to leave this stage, and I’m going to head to that building–”

He turned and pointed to the Capitol.

“Here’s what I’m going to do. Yesterday morning I began a fast. Actually, it’s rather simple. I’m drinking water, some electrolytes, and bottled fruit and vegetable juices. I just wanted you to know the truth before the press calls me a liar because they smell asparagus on my breath.”

More uproarious laughter, leaving Matthew shaking his head. Jubal waited for the giggles to die down, and went on.

“I’m going to sit in the rotunda of that Capitol and stay there, fasting, until this country passes a bill. I think we should call it ‘The National Action of Kindness.’ I know people will say it’s meaningless, but it is time for the United States to lead the world forward by using kindness–before we bury each other in a grave of nuclear ash.”

A chorus of “amens” and a few “hallelujahs” skirted across the gathered. Jubal spoke on.

“I do not know if I will be allowed to stay in the Capitol, and I certainly don’t plan on being any trouble. In other words, I will find my own corner and brighten it. But until we Americans realize that everything we do–every law we pass, every decision we make–has to be run through the concept of kindness, we will continue to hurt one another, destroy our young people and fail to be the shining light to the world. I’m not asking you to join me in the fast. I’m not doing it because I feel like I’m special. No one likes to eat like your Brother Carlos. So pray with me that those fat-cat-politicians will hurry up and do something, so I can get back to continuing my burrito addiction.”

And yes…more laughter.

Jubal stepped away. He didn’t even stop to talk to Soos, Rolinda or Matthew. He slow-jogged his way toward the Capitol, where in a very few minutes, he came to the door and was refused entrance.

By this time, many from the crowd had followed, including all the staffers. They stood on the steps and shouted at the Capitol above them. “Let him in! Let him in!”

Jubal did not say anything at all, but stepped back four paces, crossed his arms and stood his ground. All at once the doors opened, and the guards moved to the side.

Ninety-year-old Medero Fairchild, the oldest sitting Senator, slowly stepped out and embraced Jubal. He put his arm around him and walked toward the guards. They stepped forward to prevent Jubal from entering the Capitol Building. The old man lifted his hand and spoke to them.

“This is my friend. He’s here at my request. You young gentlemen do a fine job guarding us, but now Mr. Jubal and I need to get inside and catch up on things.”

The austere protectors looked at one another and realized that it was foolishness for them to argue with the “Old Eagle of Liberty” (one of Fairchild’s nicknames).

Jubal Carlos stepped inside the Congress with his arm around a ninety-year-old senator from the state of Tennessee. The crowd went wild, and the guards broke form and style and waved at them.

Matthew shook his head. He raced to the car, hurried to the airport, and flew back as quickly as he could to his cave of protection.

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Bink … September 15, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2007)

harleyHe came rolling up on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, dressed all in leather, with a black curly beard that lay on his chest as if it was resting from priestly duties. He climbed off, walked over, shook my hand and told me his name was Bink.

I was a little intimidated, so awkwardly, I asked him if Bink was short for anything. He explained it was the nickname his little nephew had given him because the tyke didn’t know how to say “bike” and instead, called him “Bink.” It was so cute and silly that I normally would have made fun of it, but looking at the motorcycle and the intimidating tattoos, I passed.

I began to wonder how I ended up with my two female cohorts at this particular gig. it was 1973 and I was only a couple of years out of high school. The dampness behind my ears was still drying. I had driven all the way to Detroit in my beat-up van, inserting a quart of oil every 100 miles ritualistically–just so the engine wouldn’t blow up.

The two girls with me didn’t know what to wear, so they each brought a prom dress for the occasion. Seeing Bink, I realized we were a bit overdressed. Matter of fact, some of the teenagers who were arriving for the evening bare-footed and in blue jeans began to peer at us and laugh.

Bink put an arm around me and led us inside, helping us set up our equipment. So when it came time for him to introduce us to his rather Bohemian brotherhood, he said the following:

“Listen, you scoundrels, I don’t want you laughing at these folks. They’ve come a long way to talk to us about Jesus. Maybe you don’t think they’re cool, but maybe you don’t know what God thinks is cool. So maybe you oughta just shut your mouths up, sit back and let your minds be blown. Because you know me–I’m Bink. And I’m tellin’ you … they’re beautiful dudes.”

With this, he held out his hand and welcomed us to come and do our thing. The gathering of young humans burst into applause, welcoming us. It was an amazing night–our girls in their prom dresses, hugging young women in the audience in hemp blouses, sporting long greasy hair.

I thought about that tonight as I made my way to Mount Clemens to set up for tomorrow’s gig. I thought about how civilized we think we have all become by finding compartments for every little piece of our lives, alienating off anything that doesn’t quite fit into the box.

I don’t know if a guy like Bink could exist today. Maybe he would be too specialized in his work and ministry to ever accept some fresh-faced novices from Ohio. But if that is the case, we’ve lost something.

And until we find it, we’re just a bunch of cynics on a fruitless search …  for an open-minded God.

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Transitions … November 18, 2011

(1,334)

Live, outdoors in Ambler, PA

 
I met a young woman.

When I was a kid, that phrase conjured images of the first day of school, discovering I had a new teacher to deal with who didn’t seem young at all to me, but rather, old and stern, reeking of musty books, with a diabolical stare. I remember praying, “I hope my new young-woman-teacher is pretty … or even nice.” Unfortunately, the normal was just … pretty nice.

I met a young woman.

Time progresses and I’m twelve years old. Why is it that God has us discover the greater potentials of our body below the waist before we uncover the mysteries and intricacies of what lies above the neck? I would assume, for His amusement. Anyway, I’m only twelve years old, but those girls of sixteen and seventeen sure look good. But all I can get them to do is ruffle my hair, pat me on the back and treat me like a little brother. Still, the touch of their fingertips registers in areas that I shan’t share. But none of them notice me. I’m too young.

I met a young woman.

Time marches on. I am no longer theorizing, but am in the midst of full evolution and those wonderfully gorgeous young girls are now my age, but because I have a bit of the look of the predator, they’re afraid of me and I must find ways to flirt with them without being overtly obvious about my intentions. Dating. Oh, how I wish it were as easy as shimmying up a palm tree to acquire fruit. There’s nothing easy about it–and the payoff is often not worth the effort. But that doesn’t stop me from pursuing it.

I met a young woman.

Actually, I ended up marrying her. I was engorged with passion, overwhelmed with anticipation and greedy for the pleasures of what relationship could bring. Even sometimes, conversation. I am a young, married man who suddenly notices that all the women around me are all at once attracted my way because I am “taken” and seemingly, no longer a threat. They are all my age, all of them beautiful, it seems, and of course … all of them forbidden. My turmoiled consciousness presses on, desperately trying to keep myself out of situations where I might slip and “fall on purpose” and have to come up with a reason why it was accidental.

I met a young woman.

Older now, settled. Lost some of my hair, but not my vigor, if you know what I mean. All those luscious women are now about ten years younger than me and they think I’m an old man, but I know differently. I want to wink and flirt, but such overtures are met with uncomfortable silences or giddy laughs from the lasses, saying things like, “Oh, sir … you’re so silly.”  Yes, I am silly. I am an aging, silly young man who has not yet discovered that I’m getting gradually decrepit. It is depressing but still well worth living–and viewing. All of these young women have become temptresses. (Gee whiz. I didn’t even know there was a plural for temptress.) But there sure is in my consciouness. I have become too old to be considered, too young to retire, too vibrant to give up and too many birthdays to still keep my candle lit.

I met a young woman. 

Just yesterday. I am so glad that age has afforded me the benefit of looking at this human being before me as a person–really, a daughter. I don’t even notice her physical virtues because I’ve grown old enough now that I actually see through her eyes, down into her soul that is so confused because she is looking for a knight in shining armor, riding a Harley Davidson, chewing tobacco, stopping every fifteen or twenty minutes to read a poem by Shelley or Keats underneath a juniper tree. (My God, he also might be a vampire.) Obviously, such a creature does not exist, but in her innocence, she still dreams.  I am glad to be free of such foolishness.  I am glad I am still viable, but not under the spell of the variable of lustfulness. We talked. I was her father and she was my daughter.  So much more pleasant. So much easier.

I met a young woman.

It will not be long before all the fair maidens of the land will be my granddaughters, running up to assist me to rise from my chair, to come as quickly as I can to see their new cars or their new boyfriends, or to give my wise and seasoned opinion on the materials for a wedding dress. I will be the sage who survived all age to turn a new page to be the oracle for all wisdom.  Will it even cross their minds that I was once as young as they are, filled with the vim, vigor and vitality of pure insanity?

I met a young woman.

Yes, she is coming this morning to anoint my body with spices and ointments for burial. It is over.

Wait! … perhaps I have one bit of magic still left in me.  Maybe I can surprise her … and resurrect.

***************

Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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