G-Poppers … November 3rd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3479)

G-Pop has discovered that flipping through the history pages often provides a wind of discovery.

Even though in 1857 the telegraph was available in major towns throughout the United States, no one had a unit in their home–and certainly not in their children’s bedrooms.

Eventually the telephone became quite popular and was not just located in the midst of the community, but each person had one in their house. But rarely was it placed in any area but the living room or the kitchen.

Likewise, when the radio became the craze, there was a big family unit, usually located near the fireplace, where everyone would gather to listen to the shows, indulge in entertainment and giggle or shiver together. No one even thought about buying a radio just for Jimmy or Sally’s room.

The television set–what an advancement. Certainly there was disagreement among family members about what shows to watch, especially with the limited number of networks. Still, the new box remained in the family room, with very few people being able to afford a second unit elsewhere in the house.

We were locked into one another. Some people might even say “confined.” We were dependent–often inter-dependent with other families and communities. We were forced to have meals together because the possibility of having the instant gratification of fast food or warming something in a microwave was decades away.

And then came the cell phone. At first it was a novelty used for emergencies. But as the Internet came floating into the Cloud, a merger was formed in which the cell phone could become a computer and bring the Web into anybody’s possession who held the magic piece in his or her hands.

At this point, for some reason or another, we made a major decision that it was wrong to prevent any family member from having his or her own communication device. We decided we didn’t need to share anymore. We concluded that being privately entertained or informed was adequate. We have now reached the point that children of seven or eight years just assume they should have their own.

We lament that folks seem to be glued to their tiny screens, never making eye contact with one another. We even have television specials which suggest that we’re losing personal contact with our fellow humans.

But most of us never see those shows or hear the reports. We can quickly tune away from them to something much more intriguing.

G-Pop knows that if he were to suggest that we’ve actually hampered our ability to understand one another through our cell phones, he would be considered an old fogey–except that the term “old fogey” is also out-dated.

G-Pop supposes he could become adamant or evangelical to see cell phone use tamed to such an extent that human communication would once again be possible.

But he realizes there’s no need to fuss about it.

Sooner or later we will need each other, and a text, a YouTube, an Instagram, a Pinterest or a Tweet will just not cut it.

 

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 17) Parking Lotsa… August 21st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3040)

Reverend Meningsbee

It was apparently the Sunday that would never end.

As Meningsbee headed out the door of the church, evicted from the House of God by Sister Matrisse, standing next to his car was a smiling Sammy Collins, with all the jovial attributes of a freshly pardoned Thanksgiving turkey.

Sammy rushed toward him, vigorously shook the pastor’s hand, and gave him a huge “Day of Pentecost” bear hug–the kind that leaves you torn between appreciation and embarrassment.

Releasing his grip, Sammy blurted, “Are you prepared to take in about fifty ready-to-go souls who already know where the exits are and the location of the bathrooms?”

With this he laughed–very pleased with his joke, which he obviously had rehearsed.

Meningsbee crinkled his face. This gave Brother Collins permission to continue.

“Whoo-ee! We had a big blow-up this morning down at the church at the Holiday Inn Express–so much so that the front desk lady came and told us to tone it down. We were bothering the other guests who were still enjoying their continental breakfast.”

“What was the problem?” said Meningsbee, concerned.

“I confronted him,” said Sammy. “Yes, I confronted Patrick Swanson about what he said to you in my living room the night I invited you over to fellowship in my home.”

“You heard?” asked Meningsbee.

“Yes. I snuck in the dark room where my kids keep their toys–nearly tripped over a Tonka truck–but I was curious why Patrick wanted to talk to you. Never one to be shy, I decided that since it was my home, I had the right to know.”

“So you’re the one who told everybody in the church about our conversation.”

“Absolutely.”

“Well, he thought it was me,” cited Meningsbee.

“Sorry about that, but I had to let him think that way until I could get all the friends and neighbors organized for the revolt, and the opportunity to return to the Garsonville Church–our home church. Preacher, most of my kin is buried out there in the back section of the property. I could show you their gravestones. This is my church. This is where I want to live. This is where I want to die. So we’re comin’ back.”

Meningsbee stood quietly. The joy on Sammy’s face had disappeared quickly as he told his tale of dissension and vengeance. He was now flushed and also a bit bewildered about why the good reverend was not jumping up and down for the chance to include more sheep and coffer stuffing.

Meningsbee realized he had to say something. “Sammy, Sammy, Sammy. I love ya’. But the church is not a club, though it might seem that way since we collect weekly dues. It’s not a game. The choices we make are often life and death. You must believe me when I tell you that the church also is not a family reunion, though we are all part of the same bloodline. God knows, it’s not a political party. We’ve already chosen our leader. Sammy, well…it’s an adventure. Or maybe a competition. Yes, it’s an adventurous competition, to see who can love their neighbor as themselves the most and still remain deliriously happy.”

Sammy’s dark cloud burst. “Listen, Meningsbee, I didn’t come for a sermon.”

“Oh, you’ve gotta forgive me,” said the pastor. “I didn’t get to preach one today so I guess I felt a little cheated.”

Sammy frowned like a frowning man frowns when frowning is in order. “So you don’t want us?”

“I don’t get to choose,” said Meningsbee. “I was just explaining to you how we view the kingdom of God.”

So … Sammy Collins turned on his heel and walked back to his car sadly because he was very religious.

 

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Good News and Better News … October 19th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2727)

Good News Edgerton

Many years ago, I sensed a voice within me, encouraging me to go out and share my heart and abilities with the world. Some people would say it was the voice of God, while others would probably insist that it was just me, declaring my own bidding.

I don’t care.

I heeded the call, and that decision has taken me on an exotic adventure.

  • You can usually find a pretty decent place to stay.
  • If you pursue the pep for pepperoni, pizza parlors are pretty plentiful.
  • Almost always there’s a park nearby for sitting and viewing.
  • And grocery stores prosper in all 50 states.

What you occasionally may feel you lack as a traveling troubadour, is encouragement.

I don’t offer this as a lamentation, but rather, a statement of fact–that folks who live in towns often want to promote their lifestyles to the detriment of those who travel about. After all, gypsies are still considered “tramps and thieves.”

I share this candidly with you. Even though you may feel you’re on a mission or that you have something of value you would like to share, this does not always come with appreciation.

But in the midst of every threatening pity party comes the grace of God, to bolster your ego before it collapses in on your determination.

That’s how I would describe my stay in Edgerton, Wisconsin.

Afforded the blessing of three sharings at a church, I was touched by the openness of the local newspaper–which not only advertised our appearances, but offering second-mile enthusiasm in doing so.

When I arrived at the church for setup, a fine fellow named Jim, who just happened to be the pastor, found himself in the position of being the sole carrier of our equipment, since others did not make the scene. He not only had a servant’s heart, but also a mule’s will to tackle the deed without complaint.

Before I left for the presentations that day, I opened up my email and there was a note from a gentleman I hadn’t thought of for nearly thirty years. He remembered some special words I had shared with him which continued to influence his life.

Already my heart was full.

It overflowed after the first show, when another fine fellow who had seen me four years earlier, launched into further conversation about specifics regarding my books, which had enriched his life.

But it didn’t stop there.

One after another, the fine souls who attended this Edgerton church were not only kind, generous and open, but seemed determined to make me and my dear partner feel as if we were long-time residents, or even kin.

They did something amazing. They let us in.

Even though they are warned by a 24-hour news cycle to be suspicious and even angry, they stepped away from that ridiculous counsel and allowed us to be part of them for a brief season.

Matter of fact, one dear woman scurried to my table and asked me if she could hug me.

Yes, you can hug me–if you don’t mind me taking some of the love and energy you’re offering, and sticking it in my soul for lonelier days ahead.

It was our last day in Wisconsin after spending 91 of them “badgering” the locals with our message: no one is better than anyone else.

Thank you, Wisconsin, and a special thank-you to Edgerton.

I leave you with only one word of advice. If you want to draw people to yourselves and see lives changed, let them in to your living room, to see who you really are. Because people are not turned off by your weakness … unless you insist that you’re always strong.

 

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Staring Out the Window… November 15, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2068)

logI sent my two sons out into a nearby woods to look for a huge log. They were exhilarated because I had explained to them the concept of a yule log, placed on the fire to burn all night on Christmas Eve.

Honestly, I didn’t expect them to find such a piece of wood just lying on the ground in the forest, but I thought it would be quite an adventure for them, and I just really wanted to be alone.

For the past year and a half, I had settled into a situation that was unsatisfying. There was plenty of money. Everything seemed fine. But I had quietly walked away from my calling, my talent and my aspirations. Oh, I still occasionally wrote something, or sang a song, just to remind myself of former days. But I had swallowed up domestication while allowing myself to be swallowed.

It was a strange series of events which brought me to this little duplex in Sacramento. (Actually, it was Citrus Heights. We were thrilled because our address was on Orange Avenue in Citrus Heights. Isn’t that cool? We thought it was.) Even though our lodge was humble and simple, it was the best thing we’d had as a home for a long time. It had a fireplace, a sunken living room, a dining room and enough bedrooms that you didn’t have to hear another family member snore.

So on this day, as the boys made the trek into the woods, I stared out the window into the cold December grayness. It was so beautiful.

It was also terrific to be moving forward. The sensation was overwhelming and brought tears to my eyes and a resolution to my spirit. I would truly never allow myself to be surrounded by mediocrity again.

As I stared into the distance, I closed my eyes and reopened them like a shutter on a camera, taking a picture. I wanted to make sure I would never forget the morning–surrounded by silence, chilled to the bone by joy and at peace with myself.

It was so beautiful.

All at once, coming toward me in the distance were my two boys. Between them was a large log they found in their quest. I had to laugh. They had performed the impossible. They had done something unexpected.

May we all be so blessed.

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