Reverend Meningsbee (Part 39) Indian Giver… January 29th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

During the swelling sweetness of satisfaction that settled into the souls of the Garsonville citizens, some surprising news came to the forefront.

USBN went bankrupt. (Well, at least some sort of business conclusion that’s too difficult to understand.)

The network had suffered severe financial losses due to litigation from civil suits, and was sold to another company which planned on dividing up office supplies and disbanding the whole idea.

The people of the town believed it was the hand of God–or at least the Almighty giving a finger.

They all felt redeemed, relieved and relaxed. There was a realization that reaching for the stars only makes you fall off the step-ladder.

It was about a month later that the Garsonville Church had visitors–two, to be exact–Buford Thomas Baxter and his wife, Harriet, both certainly in their mid-to-late seventies. They arrived dressed as televangelists, creatures roaming the Earth many decades ago.

Buford didn’t waste any time.

He asked for a private moment with Reverend Meningsbee and when that was acquired, he launched into his story. He explained that he had been teaching a Sunday School Class down at the Southern Baptist Church, and because the people did not want “the full Gospel,” and wanted to “hide their sins in secret places,” the pastor had requested that he leave and find other sheep to tend. So he had looked all over town to find the greatest need.

Buford hugged Reverend Meningsbee and said, “Even though I know you have a heart to do right, you have a wrong to achieve it. So I am here as your servant–to be used any way you see fit–to turn this congregation around in the direction of heaven’s portals.”

Meningsbee didn’t know what to say.

Deep in his heart he knew this was not a good fit, especially considering that during the coffee time after Sunday School, Buford and Harriet tag-teamed their way through the congregants, explaining how prayer was “more than talking to God.” It was “negotiating the deal through fasting, consecration and long bouts of seclusion.”

Buford was particularly intent on letting everybody know that he had once appeared on Gordon Gaines’ Gospel Gala during the season when the show had millions of viewers. (The ministry of Gordon Gaines had been terminated many years ago, when it was discovered that he was romantically linked to a large number of his staff. For a time, the scandal made for great TV, and brought sadness to those who believed in a simpler approach.)

By the end of the morning service, Buford and Harriet had succeeded in annoying nearly everybody, with many of the faithful whispering to Meningsbee that he needed to get them out of there as quickly as possible.

To do so, the pastor had to promise that he would meet with Buford on Tuesday for lunch.

So on Monday morning, Meningsbee prayed–probably not right, like Buford would have him do, but the best he knew how.

He came up with an idea. He rather liked it.

So at the Tuesday luncheon, he said to Buford (and Harriet, who came along for the chicken salad and tomato soup) that there was really no room in the Sunday schedule for anyone else to participate, since the congregation was already fanning out and covering a multitude of activities, but there was a lovely clearing of land just beyond the parking lot of the church, where he believed that Buford and Harriet should have the chance to set up some sort of tent, hold some meetings and see if God might bring them a gathering of souls.

Meningsbee finished his proposal and watched the wheels turn inside the mind of the aging man. There was a brief silence, when suddenly Harriet stepped in and gave her vote of confidence. She believed it was a tremendous opportunity, thanking Meningsbee for his openness.

So three weeks later, Buford and Harriet launched a tent revival on the far side of the Garsonville Church property, which ran for exactly four nights.

The first night there were seven people.

The second night, six.

The third night, five, if you counted the baby.

And the fourth night…one.

Yes, a Native American of the Pawnee tribe. He sat on a hard, wooden chair as Buford preached for a good, solid hour. Or at least, that’s how Meningsbee heard it.

The next morning, the Native American, a descendent of the chief, came to the church to talk to Reverend Meningsbee. He asked the parson if it would be all right to invite the Baxters to come and pastor a small congregation of four Native American families about thirty miles away.

Meningsbee wasn’t quite sure why he was asking permission, but he gave it freely.

So Buford and Harriet Baxter packed up all their belongings and went down the road to become the pastors of the Pawnee People’s Fellowship.

Meningsbee lost contact with Buford after that, but he never heard anything negative–or of a new uprising from the Pawnee Nation.

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Untotaled: Stepping 1 … February 8, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

December 18th, 1963.

It was my twelfth birthday. Twelve years of age is such an annoying station of life. You’re not a kid, not a teenager, not an adult, not … anything.

You are stuck in some sort of limbo between a former oblivion and what might be an emerging consciousness. This grants you the ignoble position of being invisible.

My mother gave me a birthday present of one pound of pickle pimento loaf, purchased from Dick’s Market. It was not a slight nor an insult, but rather, a gracious response to my request. I loved pickle pimento loaf. Sweet pickles, pimentos with red dots pretending to have taste, surrounded by bologna. And it was beautifully presented–white butcher paper with some holiday scotch tape holding the package together, sporting holly and bells. After all, it was the season to be jolly.

And for the next fifteen minutes of consumption of the delicious treat, I was. Jolly, that is. It was so good that I ate it all in one sitting.

It was a confirmation of both my birthday and for a lifestyle choice–to be a fat person. Yet I needed that present to prepare me–anesthetize me–for the arrive of Aunt Myrtle and Uncle Benny.

They were coming to celebrate my birthday. Actually, no such jubilation was possible. Aunt Myrtle didn’t like me–always displaying a half-smile pasted below her German nose, prepared to turn into a full-fledged snarl at any moment. Uncle Benny, on the other hand, had his emotional backbone removed decades earlier, and more recently, a similar operation snipping his vocal chords.

You see, Aunt Myrtle had a favorite word.

“Tidy.” To this day I hate that term–tidy. Up-tight and makes me want to die. Ti-dee.

She had three criticisms which she rattled off immediately upon seeing me.

  • Your shirt tail’s hanging out.
  • Your fingernails are too long.
  • Stop slouching.

But in commemoration of my birthday, she added a fourth complaint. Out of the great, cloudy sky of her demeanor, she suddenly asked me, “Do you use deoderant?”

She went on to explain that I was becoming “a little man” and that my body excreted odors displeasing to others. She offered to bring me a tube of her favorite roll-on the next time she came.

Something snapped inside me. I needed to get out of that room. I knew the best way to achieve the purpose was to become insolent, so that my parents would dismiss me. So I asked Aunt Myrtle, “Do you like me?”

Shocked, she replied, “Well, I love you.”

I didn’t miss a beat. “Aunt Myrtle, it would be better if you liked me.”

This simple exchange seemed to set the whole conclave ablaze with disapproval. I was quickly sent to my room, banished from any further proceedings. I feigned disappointmend and arriving in my cave of seclusion, I shut the door and leaned my back against it.

Still lying on my bed was that wonderful white butcher paper, torn asunder. I eased my way over and lay down next to the present. I sniffed the paper for its former contents.

“You are empty, butcher paper,” I said, cuddling closer.

And so am I.

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The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

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