Not Long Tales … August 20th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4142)

Underneath

Lance sat quietly staring at his hands.

They didn’t seem small—at least, he didn’t think so. But the bully who lived seven houses down on the right-hand side had made fun of them yesterday, in front of four or five guys, and worse, two girls.

It wasn’t easy being eleven years old, anyway you looked at it. But being ridiculed for your little hands in front of friends was more than humiliating. It was debilitating and left no recourse. After all, you couldn’t scream, “My hands are big!”

But Lance had anyway. And when he objected, everyone laughed at him. Because tears that were lurking in his eyes suddenly avalanched down his cheeks.

Lance hated summer vacation. As bad as school was—and it certainly had some really stinky things about it—at least your day was filled, and you didn’t have to try and figure out a reason for getting up in the first place.

It was especially difficult because Lance had a mother who insisted he “go out and play with the other kids.” She didn’t understand that he had just been targeted for having tiny paws.

Yes—he felt like a puppy being mocked by the big hound. He was afraid to leave his doorstep.

There was one friend who never deserted him—what you might call the saving face. His name was Jallus. Lance’s mother always referred to him as “the black boy” and Jallus’ mother called Lance “the white boy.” Sometimes the two buddies joked with each other, calling each other “black boy and white boy,” just to get the giggling going. Of course, it was ridiculous. Lance was the color of dirty sand and Jallus looked like chocolate milk diluted by water.

But the two boys needed each other, because the bully also told Jallus that his hands were puny. They found comfort in each other’s company.

But during this particular summer, Lance had discovered an escape. He hadn’t told anyone, not even his buddy, Jallus. In the back of the house, just underneath the steps, there was a piece of white lattice covering up the crawl space. There were a couple of screws missing from the top—just enough that Lance could pull it back, squeeze through and climb in beneath the house.

When he first discovered it, he was scared. His mind went crazy thinking about what might be in that crawl space, lurking to harm him. A rat, a snake—and most certainly, any variety of bugs made their homes in the sludge.

Yet it was so peaceful in there—especially on hot days, it was just a little cooler, and on rainy days it stayed dry, but gave Lance a front row seat on the beauty of the pelting rain. He adored the place.

He cleared it out a little bit. There was some trash—discarded bags of cement and rocks getting in the way of affording him total space. He sat in there for hours at a time thinking about life, small hands and his daddy. Lance had never actually met the fellow. He had departed before Lance had a full brain for knowing. His mother told him that his daddy probably loved him, but lived far, far away, in Mississippi. It made it nearly impossible to come and visit.

One day when he was snooping through his mother’s closet, he found a picture stuck in a box—a fellow sitting on a motorcycle, wearing a cowboy hat. He assumed it was his daddy. Sitting behind him on the bike was probably his mother, back when she was a girl.

Seeing that motorcycle reminded Lance of the time his mother said that his father had sent a birthday present of a bicycle. It came in a big, huge cardboard box, but it wasn’t put together. Mama had tried really hard to get all the bolts in the right places, but it was never right. So it just sat in the garage in a heap. Every once in a while, Lance would pull out a piece or two and play with the back wheel for a while. The bicycle was so much like the rest of his life—everything seemed to be there, but nothing came together.

But when Lance went underneath the house into his chamber of privacy, it was a whole different situation. He took a flashlight with him so he could keep an eye on the surroundings, in case he was invaded by one of nature’s uglies. He also found an old canteen in the garage, which he cleaned and filled with Kool-Aid, to sip on as time passed by. The Kool-Aid was so refreshing that the next time he brought a plastic bag of Gummi-bears. Goldfish crackers and M & M’s. It was so peaceful and satisfying.

Lance never thought he’d ever want peace. Being a boy, he was rather fond of chaos. But occasionally, he needed to feel like feeling was okay and nobody was staring, wondering what he was doing.

Sometimes he would lie on his back and listen to the floorboards creak—Mama preparing dinner in the kitchen. Sometimes she would sing. It made him feel so good when he heard her sing. Other times, she just talked to herself. He couldn’t hear what she said but could tell from the tone that it came from an unhappy place.

Summer persisted, as the summer sun often does.

Then one night, right before bedtime, sirens went off from the nearby town. Mama was frightened. She explained to Lance that the sirens meant there was a tornado coming. It didn’t take very long before great winds began to sweep by their house, rattling the windows and striking terror into their souls.

The two of them lived in a very simple house. There was no upstairs, no basement. Just the one floor—and Mama had no idea what to do. She was looking for a safe place for them to hide from the danger, but she couldn’t move. Her head turned, her eyes peering in all directions, as if waiting for someone to give her instructions.

All of a sudden, she prayed—no, nearly screeched, “Oh, Jesus! Help us!” Just about that time, a tree blew over in the front yard and landed on the top of the house, mashing in the roof.

Lance looked at his mother. He knew two things—she wasn’t going to move, and Jesus wasn’t going to stop the storm.

He took his Mama by the hand and started to walk toward the back door. She wouldn’t come. He pulled a little harder, but she resisted. Then, as if inspired by forces far beyond his understanding, Lance decided to run out the back door, figuring that Mama just might follow, terrified that Lance would be swallowed by the big twister.

As he ran toward the door and opened it, the screen flew back, broke off and landed on the ground. He hurried down the steps and when he reached the landing, he looked back. Sure enough, there was his mama, faithful lady that she was, chasing him.

He slid around the steps and over to the lattice, pulling back as hard as he could, to make room for him and also his mother to get in. He climbed into his precious space. She trailed, peeking inside. “What are you doing?” she asked.

Lance realized there was no time to explain, so he whispered. “Trust me, Mama. Trust me.”

She stared at him for a moment, trying to make out his image in the darkened space, and then wiggled forward as he grabbed her hands and pulled her down to sit next to him. As soon as she was seated, they heard a cracking—breaking glass and horrible thumps coming from all directions. They sat in the dark, holding each other and breathing heavily, hoping…hoping there would be a life left for them, since they would still be living.

Then, as quickly as it began, it was over. There was just the sound of rain splashing against the broken lattice. Mama shivered. Both of them were afraid to move.

Lance thought his mom would eventually release her grip, but she stayed where she was, squeezing him. He could hear her heart pounding. Finally, after a few moments, she relaxed. Her arms came free, and she wrapped them around her knees. She took four, maybe five, deep breaths.

He watched her. Either there was more light or his eyes had adjusted, because he could see her face clearly. She looked like a little girl. After all, that’s what bad storms do—they turn us all into children.

He leaned over and stroked her hair. “Mama,” he said, “what do you think about my place? I call it ‘Underneath.’”

Her eyes filled with tears as she looked around with her limited view and managed, “I like what you’ve done with it.”

She started to move, as if she was going to head out of the protection. Lance grabbed her arm. “Let’s not,” he said. “There’s no need for us to find out anything right now. You see, if we don’t know, then we don’t know.”

He offered her a drink from the canteen and some Gummi-bears. She accepted, putting a Gummi in her mouth and then taking a swig from the canteen. She emitted a tiny giggle.

Lance reached over and grabbed her hand. “Mama, this is where I come to get away from all my storms.”

Her face brightened, with a glint of understanding. She scooted across on her bottom, pulled him close to her and hugged like she had never hugged before.

The two just stayed there, hugging, crying and breathing in unison…

Underneath.

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3 Things … May 16th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4041)


That Can Steal Your Great Potential

  1. Unspoken fears that scream in your heart

 

  1. Silly rage that escapes its cage

 

  1. Silence of your desire, betraying your needed purpose Donate Button

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … December 20th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3528)

 

Tabletop

Sitting quietly at the table

Surrounded by those I love

I hear what they think of me

I listen to the story they speak

What do I mean to these pilgrims

Who journey with me, yet separate

How do they view my soul

As it sweetly creeps into their space?

Am I a blessing

An insertion of purpose

Or an intrusion of clumsy repetition?

Arriving, I stumble into each human place

Endangering the human race

Did I speak into their silence

Or bring solitude from their terror

Am I humor for the sadness

Clarity in the madness

Goodness through the badness

What do they think?

Converse to me of being free

And the wishes of each heart

I will listen patiently

And pray to learn what’s smart

Whisper your desires before I scream

Shout and I will be still

I am yours as you are mine

From vacant to full may we truly refine

The secret words that unleash the power

The minutes that truly grant the hour

Your hour, my hour,

Joined magnificently

In power

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … April 5th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3268)

Crumbling Dream

Hot temper, bitter words

Flying insults, dirty birds

Pent-up snarl from the soul

Heard the half, now here’s the whole

Feelings raw from being hidden

Hell erupts as pain is bidden

To share the anguish of being slighted

Fussy memories, unrequited

Shocked to perceive and be accused

Vehemently denying, yet still refused

Layer upon layer, vicious sound

As our home burns to the ground

Can’t we cease this devastation

And abandon all retaliation?

Or must we struggle to the end

And watch the truth gradually descend

To overwrought exaggeration

White noise buzzing from every station

If no one listens, how can we hear?

Violence threatens, we tremble in fear

Stop the madness, no logic impresses

By ranting about the current messes

I need breath–just some air

You’re so mean, completely unfair

I once loved you with all my heart

So much damage–where can we start?

Yet in the midst of the emotional debris

I still desire a way to be

Your heart again, sweet and real

A tender caress, a path to feel

God forgive us as we scream

And help us save our crumbling dream. 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … April 27th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2917)

PoHymn Amazing Grace

Nexus

Crazy, loony, mixed-up clan

Tears apart the family of man

treble clef gifAmazing grace, how sweet the sound

Rape my heart, tear my soul

Leave me with an empty hole

treble clef gif

That saved a wretch like me

I will scream in belief

Send a beam of light’s relief

treble clef gif

I once was lost but now I’m found

Now I sense a welcoming nod

From the mercy of a loving God

Releasing the fear that smothers my breath

Atoning my sin of a sentence of death

treble clef gif

Was blind but now I see

Dispel the night

Hope in sight

AmazingDonate Button

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