Things I Learned from R. B. (May 24th, 2020)

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4419)

Episode 16

For nearly five months, I had been squirreling some money away, trying to fund an idea I believed needed to be pursued.

It was time.

Whatever inspiration had once possessed the soul of our family—to travel across the country, working, living and making music together—had gradually dissipated down to a stream of loyalty and an irritating question.

If we weren’t doing this, what in the hell would we do?

My wife mustered the energy to be happy, but certainly had lost the desire to schedule, travel and perform.

My sons were thrilled to be brothers, enjoined with me, but knew deep in their hearts that the “call of the mild” must replace the “call of the wild.”

They needed lives of their own.

This would take money.

I knew it was foolish to announce to the family my campaign. It just might make them fearful that if they ate an extra apricot, they were destroying our future.

So I kept it private.

After five months, I had a small sum I was grateful for—but knew it was nowhere in the ballpark of fulfilling the need.

We were traveling across the panhandle of Florida, heading toward Jacksonville when I said a very simple prayer.

“Dear Lord, I’ve painted myself into a corner. Either help the paint to dry quickly or direct me clearly on how to leap out of my predicament.”

Also, it had become more difficult to acquire schedulings. It takes a lot of passion to convince somebody of what you want to do—and honestly, people were not quite as open to being convinced.

So in late August, in boiling hot Jacksonville, we succeeded in getting one booking for the week–on the Sunday night.

One opportunity to pay our way.

One mission field.

One audience.

I came to a decision before we rolled up to our engagement.

“Whatever we have at the end of tonight I will use to set us up somewhere and give my sons the chance to launch their own lives.”

Yet I was discouraged when I arrived and realized we were at a church that only had fifty people on a Sunday night—a black church, which meant we might have to wade through some resistance.

It’s not that black churches were difficult, but sometimes, because of the nature of the South and memories of segregation, the parishioners wondered why a white family was coming to a black church instead of sharing their talents with white folk.

I put those thoughts out of my mind, making sure they were busy elsewhere. Instead, I took a count of my situation.

I felt I needed three thousand dollars to settle in.

With some amazing blessings from the previous two weeks, I had managed to collect $1434 in cash.

That night, when the pastor introduced me and I stepped in front of an audience of forty-two people, the calculator in my brain boiled over with frustration.

I needed to make about thirty-five dollars a person to get my nest egg.

Now, I am not negative by any stretch of the imagination but am also not a fool. I don’t know whether I could have pulled a gun and gotten thirty-five dollars a person out of the gathering. There were several souls who might have needed me to donate to them.

But no matter.

Whatever happened, I was going to take the whole family to our next destination and do the best we could.

We would no longer be “on the road again.”

Over the years I have experienced some magical nights, yet none to compare with the warmth and tenderness exchanged in that sanctuary.

About halfway through I realized that these strangers had decided to become one with us, and we, likewise, one with them.

We laughed.

We cried.

We sang nearly every song we could play.

At the end the pastor stood and took up the offering.

I was astounded when he handed me $1,433.

Now, I will not tell you that I should ever have taken my family on the road. I also will not lie to you and say that everything I did on that journey was well-thought-out or appropriate.

But the science of our music, the Mother Nature of what apparently was a good season, and the humanity of this congregation launched us to our new beginnings.

The next morning as I drove north, I explained what I envisioned for us to do as a family.

They were relieved.

They didn’t act that way—there were some tears of regret.

But there were also some shouts of “hallelujah” over the new possibility.

To avoid a motel room, we drove all the way into Nashville, Tennessee, and in just three hours, located a new apartment.

We spent that first night sleeping on the floor of our new home.

The next four days were nothing short of miraculous.

My sons got out, secured social security numbers, found jobs and set in motion getting drivers’ licenses.

It all fell in place—mainly because I felt as if I was no longer forcing the direction. Rather, the passions of my children were driving the solution.

I hooked up a phone—landline. Two hours later it rang.

It was R. B., calling from Tacoma.

I don’t know how he knew we were coming to Nashville or how he successfully tracked down our phone number so quickly.

He did a little hemming and he did a little hawing, and somewhere in between, I got the idea that he had hatched his own plan.

He needed his own miracle.

Sensing his frustration and his desperation, I said, “Hey, buddy, why don’t you just move to Nashville? It’s where you started. It’s where we met—and it’s where they make music. How can you lose?”

Two weeks later, driving a car that should not even have been on the road, he arrived, found a small one-room apartment and settled in.

We were in the same community again, with even less in common.

Still, all in all, it was better for both of us than where we found ourselves short weeks before.

Drawing Attention (May 13th, 2020)

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(4408)

The Story of Us (Week 1)

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art by Clazzy

Music:  Improv 111

by Jonathan Richard Cring

 

Click here to visit the Clazzy Art website

 

Things I Learned from R. B. (May 10th, 2020)

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4406)

Episode 14

We stayed in Sacramento as long as Sacramento stayed with us.

Although I’m uncomfortable with the comparison, I must candidly admit that our family was a little bit like musical locusts. We moved into an area, found out who might be interested in having us share our talents, and after about six months, we established some lovely relationships—but had eaten through all the crop of possibilities.

Since we had decided to keep working at our mission instead of becoming merely “gainfully employed,” we had to make a decision.  Truthfully, our landlord was requesting that we give deep thought to the matter. It was tough.

The guys were a little older and it was time for them to be settling in somewhere to begin their own lives. One of my sons met a delightful lady whom he loved dearly—and has ended up being his wife for twenty-five years. He hardly wanted to leave her to go back to being a traveling man.

We talked it over as a family, voted as a family and we left our home in Sacramento as a family.

We weren’t sure where to go.

To the west was the Bay area of California—from where we had just come. Not many prospects there.

To the south was Los Angeles, where dreams go to die.

To the east was a lot of Rocky Mountains before arriving at a lot of rocky land.

Above us was the Pacific Northwest, where we had not spent much time.

Also, R. B. was there.

Communication with him after the Thanksgiving holiday had been spotty, but the vibrations from his spirit were tenuous, and sometimes even a bit frightening.

I made a decision on a whim and then convinced my family it was a great idea. I didn’t do that very often, but I thought Washington and Oregon would be good for us and our music—and we might be helpful and nurturing to R. B.

When I shared with R. B. that we would be coming up, he was less than enthusiastic. I understood why—he’d dug a hole for himself where he was partially comfortable but wouldn’t be happy for others to see him inside the tomb.

I went anyway.

However, R. B. did provide one immediate blessing.

A fellow he knew had a five-bedroom house on a cul-de-sac in Tacoma which he wanted to rent—and he would give it to us for only five hundred dollars a month.

It was beautiful—at least, to us.

For the first time in their whole growing-up period, my sons would have their own rooms. (Usually in motels, it was a corner with about two feet of space.)

We settled in, scheduled a few things and the money started rolling in our direction. We had decided to pay rent weekly, so every Monday morning, after our weekend’s adventure, we drove to our landlord’s house and gave him one hundred and twenty-five dollars.

He thought it was cute—but I knew it was wise. I was aware how quickly money disappears in a family of five.

Although my sons were disappointed to leave Sacramento, the prospect of this new home with a huge garage did ease the pain.

We wanted to stay for a while. We wanted to see if we could help R. B. escape his depression and loneliness.

For it had been a year-and-a-half since he had held a job. He was living off credit cards and finding that they, too, were much like the locusts.

We tried to love him, but R. B. was unwilling to see us very often. He was horrified at the prospect of us beholding his living situation.

We had come a long way to a foreign land—to have shelter but feel very foreign.

I did not know what was going to come of our quest, or if there was some doorway into the heart and life of R. B.

 

Drawing Attention … May 6th, 2020

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(4401)

Forest Fringe

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art by Clazzy

Music: 

Movement 2: Worry   Movement 3: Peace

from  Symprophecy ’03 by Jonathan Richard Cring

 

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Drawing Attention … January 15th, 2020

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(4290)

Clazzy Clefs (Week 2)

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art by Clazzy

Music:  Conversations

 by Jonathan Richard Cring


Published in: on January 15, 2020 at 8:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Drawing Attention … January 8th, 2020

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(4283)

Clazzy Clefs (Week 1)

(tap the picture to see the video)

art by Clazzy

Music:  The Christmas Encore

from the symphony, Crystalline, by Jonathan Richard Cring


Published in: on January 8, 2020 at 10:11 pm  Comments (1)  
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Drawing Attention … March 13th, 2019

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3983)

Wiggle Your Toes

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art by smarrttie pants

Music written and performed by Jonathan Richard Cring


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Published in: on March 13, 2019 at 8:31 pm  Comments (1)  
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