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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See the Forrest AND the Trees … June 22, 2013

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color churchSue. Jerry. Lee. Paul. Peg. Maxine. June. Tom. And Corrine.

This is the list of all the people who attended my concert last night in Forrest, Illinois.

It is not often that I’m able to actually jot down the entire passenger manifest on my “Good Ship SpiriTed’s” journey. Usually there would be too many people for such a compilation. But last night these fine folks showed up for the concert … minus others. It reminded me of the saying, you can’t see the forest for the trees.

Actually, that’s not the problem, is it? Most of the time, we can’t see the trees because we stand at a distance and observe them in huge clumps and call them forests. Our society is preoccupied with creating islands of humanity which are separated from the mainland of “Peopledom,” while simultaneously insisting that we are also individuals. We just can’t seem to make up our minds.

Are we a tree–or are we a forest?

I must tell you–it is unique to perform in front of nine people. They are not a forest. They are an array of individual trees. You can either complain about the fact that there’s no forest, or you can choose to enjoy the branches and leaves provided.

Over the years I have learned not to take things for granted. Those who do soon have nothing to take. So my approach, rather than being one of sharing with an audience, was more conversational, personal and interactive.

Several astounding things came out through the experience. Once the gathered souls got over the shock of being part of a “chosen few,” they warmed. Matter of fact, by the end, when I was leaving the building, I had more people helping to load my van than I do when the auditorium is packed.

They felt a part of it. They were convinced that they were MORE than a forest from Forrest, Illinois, but instead, had been recognized as “specialized trees.” I think it’s the idea the Bible wants to get across to us about God: even though He’s the master of the universe, He craves intimacy with every one of His creations.

It was plenty intimate. Matter of fact, there were moments that were so tender that you almost had to look away.

So I am torn between the normal ego-driven marketing schemes of wanting to get my work out to more and more people so as to make a greater and greater impact, versus the simple beauty of breaking bread with a tiny gathering in an upper room.

Yes, I believe the problem is not that we can’t see the forest for the trees. Rather, somewhere along the line, we’ve lost the ability to see the trees because we have dubbed them “forest.”

I want to thank the people of St. Paul Lutheran for coming out on a Friday night on the beginning of summer to see something that they certainly could not conceive of in their minds.

Because Sue, Jerry, Lee, Paul, Peg, Maxine, June, Tom and Corrine–you are not just a forest.

Each one of you is a beautiful tree.

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