Catchy (Sitting 39) And On the Third Day… March 11th, 2018


Jonathots Daily Blog

(3608)

Cassidy Templeton was a lineman for the electric company in Logan County, Oklahoma, which served the little town of Guthrie, population 11,000. Overnight, Guthrie went from being a quiet village of contented Sooners to a disaster area, as a tornado passed through, leaving behind a swath of destruction one mile wide and four miles long.

Cassidy was called in the middle of the night, and by the time he arrived and gathered his gear, the sun was peeking through, beginning to show the aftermath of a Mother Nature temper tantrum.

He was driving his truck on a county thoroughfare when he noticed a car stopped in the middle of the road. What was more disconcerting was the huge tree that was uprooted, sprawled across the electrical lines, pulling them down, closer and closer to the car below, as a heavy branch continued its descent.

Cassidy didn’t understand why the person in the vehicle didn’t back up to get away. He leaped out of his truck and ran up to the car, discovering a woman in her thirties, frozen in her ten o’clock/ two o’clock position, hands on the wheel.

He screamed but she didn’t respond. He looked in the back seat and saw three children buckled into position. He could hear the tree crackling above him, putting more and more weight on the lines, which were looming nearer and nearer to the car.

He just reacted. Instinctively–and stupidly–he ran and grabbed the wires to keep them from touching the car. He was struck down in the middle of the road with the full impact–electrocuted.

The woman regained her senses, backed her car up, put it in park, got out and dialed 911. Within three minutes there were firefighters and EMTs at the scene. But it was fruitless. Cassidy Templeton was dead.

They took him to the hospital, where after an hour of noble effort, he was officially declared DOA. His body was rolled into the morgue, his clothes were removed and a toe tag was attached so he could be autopsied later by the coroner.

That normally would have been the end of the story–except six hours later, a very dazed and confused Cassidy sat straight up.

Before he could realize his vulnerable position of nakedness, he got down from the table and strolled into the hallway, to the horror of the nursing staff. Fortunately, one of them noticed that he had a toe tag, and had emerged from the morgue.

He was gingerly led to a treatment room, where doctors examined him for four hours, only to discover that reports of his death were greatly exaggerated.

Cassidy was alive.

His hair was completely burned off his body and his hands were toasted, but all the other systems of his human anatomy seemed to be functioning at a high level. When friends and family arrived, frantically and joyfully, to see their loved one, they were all astounded at how mentally alert he was.

Cassidy had never been ignorant, but had eschewed most of the attributes of learning in favor of hunting. Now he sat in a chair and spoke with the articulation of a politician, without the accompanying lies. He explained to his family that something had changed. It wasn’t that he felt smarter–just that everything he had ever experienced seemed like fresh visions in his mind. He even remembered algebra.

In the midst of a horrific toll from the tornado, Cassidy’s story line was immediately picked up as a “feel good” closer for the nightly news.

Meanwhile, back at headquarters, Jubal Carlos decided to fly the whole troop into Guthrie for a noontime rally on the third day after the tornado. Matter of fact, it was the lunchtime of the morning that Cassidy was released from the hospital. The forty-six-year-old lineman went straight from his examination room to a stage in the middle of town, surrounded by about three thousand folks and the national press.

Jubal Carlos had no idea what Mr. Templeton was going to say at the rally. He had no time to prep him. Matter of fact, Cassidy arrived in a pick-up truck driven by his wife and accompanied by his son, got out, climbed up on stage, comically pounded on the congas for a few moments and then stepped toward the microphone.

Jubal spoke. “Well, I guess you know who this fella is. Around the team, we’ve started calling him “Lazman.” You remember–Lazarus, who Jesus raised from the dead?”

The crowd cheered and Cassidy giggled. There was a sweet, childlike quality to him that nearly startled Jubal, but he went on. “I have asked Mr. Templeton–can I call you Cassidy?”

Cassidy lit up a huge smile and nodded his head.

Jubal continued. “Anyway, I’ve asked Cassidy to come and speak to you all today, and he has literally just driven up from the hospital to be with us.”

Carlos glanced over at Cassidy, giving him a once up-and-down. “Damn, that’s the best-lookin’ dead man I’ve ever seen.”

Cassidy clapped his hands and the crowd roared with laughter and cheers. Jubal didn’t say anything else, just held out his hand, offering the platform.

Cassidy paused, glancing out at the crowd, exhibiting a few nervous twitches, and then slowly moved forward, stopped, and then spoke into the microphone, a bit surprised at how loud it was.

“It is amazing that you have to die to find out how dead you were. At least, that’s the way it worked for me. I loved my wife, I loved my town. I thought I loved God. I loved to hunt and I loved the shotgun my Grandpa gave me. I loved sweet corn with lots of butter…”

Each time Cassidy mentioned an earthly delight, the crowd murmured approval. He continued.

“But that morning, when I saw the woman and her children in the car, about ready to be pressure-cooked–yes, I guess that’s a good way of puttin’ it–I realized in a breath of time that to do nothing was to be a coward. Oh, my God, I did not want to be a coward. I didn’t want to wait and then later tell people I was following protocol. I didn’t want to see them pull four dead bodies from the scene when one would be better.”

He chuckled. “Unfortunately, that was gonna be mine.”

The audience responded with nervous laughter.

“So everything I had ever been taught, seen, believed, experienced and hoped entered my legs and pushed me forward. My hands decided to give up my life. I’d like to tell you that I thought about it. I’d like to say I was trying to do the right thing, but actually, in that split second, my something-or-other believed it was the only thing.”

Some “amens” chorused from the audience.

“They tell me I was dead. I don’t know much about that. I suppose I could tell you I saw God, Jesus or maybe Elvis. I didn’t. The next thing I remember after grabbing for that wire was looking down at myself in the hallway, standing upright, without my boxer briefs. It almost killed me again.”

The audience roared.

Cassidy concluded. “So I’m not gonna take much more of your time. But I would encourage you to go out some place by yourself, sit for a spell–and check if you’re dead, so you don’t have to die.”

He finished, then slowly walked away from the microphone as a stillness fell over the crowd.

Jubal left the tender moment alone. Everybody stood in silence for a good solid minute.

Cassidy had time to walk off the stage–a makeshift-flatbed-trailer–and start ambling toward his truck. Suddenly the gathered erupted in applause and he was surrounded by people who just wanted to touch “the Lazman.”

That night, every network led with the story. Every newspaper in America carried the picture, an insight or an editorial, and nearly all the souls in America stole a moment to take their own pulse.

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Catchy (Sitting 8) Cleanly Rich … July 30th, 2017


Jonathots Daily Blog

(3384)

Paul didn’t waste any time.

Before blankets could be spread, cushions situated and all snacks and drinks divvied among the three, he had already begun to drone out his story. It could have been a very interesting tale, but Paul seemed unimpressed with his own reputation.

He had married three years after college–only the fourth lass he had ever seen naked. They had two children who apparently were soldiering on to do their best with the process of growing up to join the ranks of those in file. Paul did not have many hobbies–actually, Paul had no hobbies that he shared. But as he sipped on a bit of diet root beer, he popped off a question.

“Don’t you think there are better ways to spend two hundred and fifty million dollars than propagating the myths of Bedouins who seem to have nothing better to do than kill one another in the name of their mythical gods?”

Matthew chose not to answer. After all, it wasn’t a question. It was a statement of disbelief. Somewhere along the line, Paul Padwick had consumed a sour communion wafer and was still wincing from the experience. Realizing that he was the killjoy of the little airport soiree, Paul rolled over on his Cornhusker cushion and went soundly to sleep.

That left Jo-Jay and God-guy–otherwise known as Joanna and Matthew. The two of them had briefly been a number back in college–a three-week period when neither of them was sexually ravaging or being ravaged–so they cast a glance each other’s way. They made it all the way to the bedroom and even to breakfast the morning after, but then, without any treaty, discussion or negotiation, the accidental collision was never spoken of again by either party.

So Matthew was curious about what would initiate their chatting and was relieved to discover that Joanna had planned all the dialogue, with most of the lines written for herself. She launched into her story.

Two years after college, she met a young fellow who showed great promise–except when it came to keeping promises to her. He had been a rather quiet student in college, but once he got married and realized there were many vaginas in the world, like Columbus of old, he launched his ship to discover new worlds.

Jo-Jay put up with it for a while and then asked for a divorce. She was a little disheartened that he immediately agreed. Because of his unfaithful status, she was granted alimony.

So she tripped along and cavorted for a couple of years, even considering trying to transform herself into a lesbian–but found the experience rather distasteful.

Four years ago she met The Duke. Duke was not his nickname, but rather, his title. He was a Duke of Something-or-other that she could not remember–but it came with much bearing and money. He was thirty-two years her senior. She said that she didn’t really marry her father, but rather, his father.

But he was gentle. He was kind. Generous to a fault, if such a thing is possible. And just about the time Jo-Jay’s hormones were beginning to itch for a scratch outside the mansion, he just up and died, leaving all of his earthly goods to a very earthly Joanna Lawrence. She was actually very surprised at how much she missed him.

She decided to play a game with herself. Every time she withdrew a stack of one-hundred dollar bills from the bank, she pretended it was his face instead of Benjamin Franklin’s.

“So you’re filthy rich,” said Matthew with a tinge of sarcasm.

Jo-Jay smiled. “Actually, I’m clean rich. The difference is, when you’re clean rich, you enjoy the money but you’re constantly trying to do penance by giving much of it away, to apologize for being financially over-nourished.”

All the time that Jo-Jay was sharing, it appeared that she was becoming more intoxicated (though she was gulping nothing more than club soda and orange juice). She was an exciting person. She had the quality of a young girl–the kind of little miss you know isn’t very attractive right now, but someday would be a hellcat.

Finally, Jo-Jay wound down. Or at least, Matthew assumed she did–because he passed out on his cushion in exhaustion.

The next afternoon, the Lincoln airport was opened. Matthew looked for Paul, who apparently had already departed.

So he reached over to hug Jo-Jay and asked, “Where are you off to?”

“San Francisco,” she replied.

Matthew crinkled his brow. “Well, that’s where I’m going.”

Jo-Jay jumped up and down like a little girl and said, “I know, I know. I bought the seat next to you.”

“Don’t you have somewhere to go?” asked Matthew.

“Now I do,” said Jo-Jay. “You see, one of the things about my Duke is that he had a fascination about the Galilean.”

“Galilean?” asked Matthew.

“Jesus,” replied Jo-Jay. “He never called him Jesus. He referred to him as the Galilean because most of his life was spent near the Sea of Galilee. The Duke believed that this Galilean had the solution to mankind’s problems because he refused to let us escape the philosophical juggernaut statement, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Matthew peered at her. “So you’re coming with me to. . .?”

“To. . .” Jo-Jay paused also. “To see where it goes.”

Matthew gave her a quick hug, then pulled back, admiring her like she was a kid sister. “So here’s to wherever the hell it goes.”

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Dudley … June 29th, 2017


 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3352)

DUDLEY

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Published in: on June 29, 2017 at 12:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … July 22nd, 2015


 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2640)

PoHymn July 22

At Least (A Saga)

He said he was hungry

I thought he might be lazy

But I can’t make him work

I can help him eat

I can

The little boy was dripping with sweat

His tongue hanging out as he panted

Hot day–he should hydrate

He knows that

Not my problem

I could give him one of my cold bottles of water

But if he’s thirsty, why doesn’t he drink?

Maybe too tired

I can offer

I can

 

The family looks lost

I don’t know them

Don’t want to be pushy

God forbid I should interfere

But seems they could use a friendly word

I’m embarrassed, a chicken

A timid hen

They appear rejected

I might say something

Awkward

Still, I can be nice

I can

 

How did I end up here?

The guys from work wanted to go to a strip joint

Pardon–Gentlemen’s Club

Look at her

She is so naked

I mean, disrobed of her identity

Men poking, leering and groping

Let me outta here

Buy her a drink?

Offer her my coat and a chance to talk?

Too weird

Too naked

I can be a man instead of a boy

I can

 

Sick people make me sick

I get sick looking at them

Germs

Got to stay healthy

But being sick is so sickly

Feeling bad makes you think bad

I can visit

I can

 

Law breakers

Get what they deserve

Jail birds, but we clip their wings

Maybe they want more

A second chance

How lonely is prison?

I could come to see someone

Especially since my nephew is in there

What would I say?

Maybe nothing

I can sit and listen

I can

 

I can do much more

Than stand outside the door

And wonder what’s within

Hope, joy, faith or sin

Will I risk being odd

To find the touch of God?

Yes, my soul deserves a feast

So I can go…

At least.

 

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“Ifing” Way: Part 1… October 20, 2014


Jonathots Daily Blog

(2387)

If bigger

What if a voice of sanity had risen up at various stages in the story of human history, to offer a challenging view when craziness was about to win the day?

If …

It was the third night in a row she had returned home from work brooding. It wasn’t that she was always a sparkling conversationalist, but now a sadness had etched its way onto her features, making her apppear continually unhappy, which left him a little disgruntled, feeling that he was somehow at fault.

Tired of being uncertain of her feelings and attitudes, he broached the issue.

“What’s wrong — and before you tell me nothing, let me tell you that I know there is something, so let’s work with it from that angle.”

She looked surprised.

He laughed. “So now you’re gonna act surprised,” he said. “I know you’re not surprised. You probably just don’t want to talk about it.”

She took a long pause–so lengthy that he almost inserted another opinion, but restrained himself to allow her space.

“I have something to tell you,” she began, tears forming in her eyes.

He squelched an internal flinch, wondering how this could end up with anything good.

She continued. “You know that tree we were supposed to avoid?”

He thought for a second, then remembered and nodded.

She went on with her tale. “Well, I was a little confused about it. Maybe even a little frustrated. So I spent some time down there, just checking it out. I immediately discovered it wasn’t that different from any other tree on our land. Matter of fact, it was rather pleasant looking. Appealing.”

He resisted the instinct to interrupt and just nodded again.

“Well, long story short, I got tempted, maybe even urged, to eat the fruit. And ever since then, I’ve felt guilty and naked.”

“What do you mean by naked?” he inquired.

She squinted. “You know. Without being covered.”

“Covered with what?” he asked, frowning.

“I don’t know. This is why I didn’t want to tell you. I knew you wouldn’t understand. You are so much a man…”

“Now I am confused,” he inserted. “We’ve never talked like this before. It was never ‘man’ and ‘woman.’ Just us. What’s going on?”

“I ate the goddamned fruit,” she screamed. “There! You’ve got it.”

Adam took a deep breath. He knew the next thing he would say was crucial. “So that’s why you feel bad?”

“No!” she said emphatically. “I feel good! Alive! Alert. Just confused. Maybe if you ate the fruit with me and shared in the experience we could work it out together. Aren’t you self-conscious about being naked?”

“Actually,” he replied, “I’m baffled about the concept. I just thought this is the way we came.”

She sighed, frowned, hissed and grumbled all at the same time. At length she spoke.

“So are you gonna eat the fruit with me or not?”

He took her by the shoulders, pulled her close and kissed her on the forehead.

“No. What we’re going to do is take you to our Creator and explain what happened.”

She pulled back in horror. “No damn way! He’s gonna kill me. Isn’t that what He said? If you eat the fruit you’ll die?”

“Yes,” said Adam. “But I didn’t know what it meant, so I just kind of ignored it.”

“I don’t want to die,” said Eve.

“I don’t want to lose you,” said Adam. “But … I don’t want to lose Him either. Don’t make me choose.”

She burst into tears. He embraced her and held her close.

“Listen,” he said. “If He loved us enough to make us, He sure can love us enough to forgive us.”

“Us?” she questioned.

“Yes. We’re in this together. And together, let’s go talk to Him.”

 

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The Sermon on the Mount in music and story. Click the mountain!

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G-20: Life or Knowledge … April 18, 2014


Jonathots Daily Blog

(2206)

tree of lifeRight there in the middle.

It’s hard to miss. It’s not hiding from us.

It’s called life.

And life is where ability, faith and our daily bread of situations merge together.

  • It’s meant to be abundant.
  • It is intended to be fascinating.
  • It is not free of hassle, yet within the struggle is a great learning gift which further enriches our experience.

Anything that deters us from eating of the Tree of Life and gaining strength, wisdom and energy is counter-productive to our humanity and destructive to our character.

So as the story goes, God placed this gift of life right in the middle of all the activity. It wasn’t hidden at all. Like every other possibility in the Garden of Eden, it was “good for food and pleasant to the eyes.”

Yet is was absent of distraction. That particular misleading element was found in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And this tree was useless to our human escapade because knowing what’s evil does not give us the function of improving our situation. After all, since we are not gods and do not control our Olympus, we end up being at the mercy of despair.

God offers one piece of advice to his free-will creatures: having the knowledge of good and evil, which appears to offer elements of being wise, only introduces futility, which makes us exhausted to partake of life in the middle of our existence.

Adam and Even didn’t get it.

They listened to the voices screaming for self-improvement and pursued a knowledge which made them feel they were naked and vacant of the capacity to change their situation for the better.

Though many of my friends and even family members argue with me continually about television shows, movies, books and even blue-tinted comedy routines which offer a view on the bleak side of life, insisting that this is an element of maturity lending itself to greater understanding, I have to shake my head and say that the knowledge of evil does not make me a god.

It makes me a victim.

Jesus told us we should “be as little children.” So anything that comes before my eyes and into my heart which is not suitable for a child of eight years only ends up pointing out to me the deficit in my society, the weakness of my character and the vacancy in my soul.

Just like Eve, we are pressured into believing that we are deprived of experience by a God who refuses to allow us to explore our sensibilities.

But all that Adam and Eve achieved was a weirded-out feeling–that the things they had been participating in and enjoying were now somewhat dirty, nasty and needed to be hidden.

“Why do you think you’re naked?” says God to a frightened Adam.

Who told you and me that it’s “adult” to watch men beating up women? Or solid citizens losing their minds and becoming criminals? Or sexuality being reduced to the mere visualization of humping?

Yet this is what is chosen.

So on that day, whether completely truthful or partially a metaphor, when man and woman chose knowledge over life, two things became evident: (1) we, as a species, have to learn to escape evil to find the good and munch on life; and (2) a plan of salvation to light up the road to that discovery would be necessary.

Yes, Good Friday was a bad thing that happened because human beings thought it was possible to become gods through knowledge.

It is life that makes us powerful.

It is life that welcomes intelligence.

And life is always right there … in the middle of what we’re doing. 

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A Barn Yarn… August 18, 2013


Jonathots Daily Blog

(1979)

barnMany years ago a music group of which I was a member in fair standing was invited to a rustic resort in Western Minnesota to put on a concert. The brochure provided to explain the services of this facility were very enticing.

  • Gorgeous cabins.
  • Swimming pools.
  • Hiking for those inclined.
  • And buffet lines, stacked with freshly grilled hamburgers, and sweet corn— steaming, salted and buttered.

Needless to say, this music group of which I was a part was very excited to go to the facility, which was offered to believers who had grown tired of worldly toil, and who wanted to escape the rigors of a demented society and spend three days listening to Christian music, with public speakers brought in from all over the country to fill them with spirit.

The joint was aptly named Christian Retreat.

unfortunately, upon arrival we discovered that the cabins had been booked up and all they had available was one small compartment, which would not be acceptable for three–especially since I was a male intruder. So the girls skipped off to their living quarters and I was escorted … to a barn.

Now, when they told me I would be staying in a barn, I assumed it was a euphemism for a rustic facility, but one still worthy of human habitation. Climbing the crest of a hill, what I beheld was actually a barn–an Amish cathedral–complete with hay, stalls, John Deere tractors and cattle with their south ends pointed to my north.

I did not complain. I found an area they had set aside for human occupation which included straw beds and a shower they had rigged with a spigot protruding from a pipe and a wooden frame to stand upon and a hole dug to drain the excess watery parts from people like me.

I was sitting on a bale of hay when I was interrupted by the arrival of another gent. He started talking. I point this out because from the point that he commenced speech, he never stopped. He explained that he was a farm hand. He told me how difficult his day had been. Within three minutes, I had the full description of his mother’s nasty divorce from her abusive husband which left him with a single mom, working very hard, but still on food stamps.

All during the discourse he was disrobing in front of me, preparing to take his nightly shower, with no embarrassment whatsoever, and was eventually standing buck naked from the curly top of his head and simultaneously beneath.

I am not comfortable around naked people. Matter of fact, I prefer “lights off romance.” If I were a nudist, I would constantly be apologizing, making excuses and informing everyone that I planned on starting a weight loss regimen next week.

Not this fellow. He turned on the spigot, climbed up on the boards and proceeded to suds himself repeatedly.

I did not know where to look, so I stared down at my shoes. When he asked me what I was doing, I explained that I was an amateur cobbler and that I was considering taking the steps to repair my own footwear.

At this point he climbed down from the boards, fully foamy, and walked over to eyeball my shoes, to see if he might be able to assist in the cobbling

I made eye contact–not because someone in a seminar told me to, but more or less for emotional survival. He made some suggestions which I cannot remember, turned the other cheek, climbed back up on the boards and resumed his bubbly process.

I finally had enough and excused myself, explaining that I needed to go set up for the concert–and I instinctively grabbed my gym bag on the way out, knowing that unlike Douglas MacArthur, I had no intention of returning.

After the program that evening, I headed towards our beat-up van, climbed into the back, put together a make-shift pillow and stretched out to go to sleep. My partners in music were concerned, and asked me why I wasn’t going back to my accommodations.

I thought about telling them about my encounter with the farmer’s son,” but instead replied, “I discovered I really DO have hay fever and don’t get along well with barn animals–especially when they talk.”

 

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