Not Long Tales … August 13th, 2019

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We are overjoyed to announce the initiation of our weekly segment on Jonathots Daily Blog, entitled Not Long Tales. Each and every Tuesday, we’ll be offering you a short story for your enjoyment.

Mrs. Windermoot

Loneliness is a confinement requiring solitude, a commitment without companion.

It had been one year since Mrs. Windermoot had lost her beloved husband of forty-three years, Baris. Even though she had two grown sons who loved her, she found herself very lonely, like a bride left behind on the dock of the honeymoon cruise.

Her sons, Benett and Burgess, were responsive and certainly concerned for her health, but fell short of touching the tender spots of her well-being.

She was alone, which left her lonely. She’d never anticipated being quite so submerged in the sense of absence, but since she had moved into the much smaller two-bedroom townhouse just west of the city, she was constantly battling the pangs of self-pity and the ache of separation.

She did not know any of her neighbors. Several of them had made a visit—but they were all so much younger—and though they promised to return, none did.

Mrs. Windermoot tried to plan activities for herself—making a special dinner, watching a movie. She even scheduled a weekly tea, where she set out all the fixings, including a dozen of her famous chocolate chip cookies. Although it was somewhat entertaining, in no time at all, she was just an old woman sitting in a room nibbling treats.

She never reached the point of desperation—that being sharing her complaint with others. Most of the time she sat very still in her home, wondering whether it was too soon to have another nap.

One day she noticed that a city bus stopped right in front of her house. She had never paid any attention before, but on this particular morning, maybe the sun was shining just right, or she just happened to look out at the correct moment.

But there it was—big as life. 9:31 A. M. It was back again the next day, and faithfully returned the third morning.

So Mrs. Windermoot made a plan. On the fourth morning when the bus appeared, she would get on the bus, and ride as far as it went through the town, and at least have the ability to see other scenery—and maybe even converse with new people.

She dressed for the occasion—one of her best Sunday frocks, and made two dozen chocolate chip cookies, which she tucked away in her purse. She eased her way out the door at 9:15 so as not to miss the arrival and was standing there patiently when the bus pulled up. Not familiar with the route or process, she carefully climbed on as the driver impatiently waited for her to place her money in the slot, allowing her the privilege of being toted about.

She was smart enough to know to bring exact change, but her fingers were not very fast, and finally the bus driver, heaving a huge sigh, took the coins from her hand and completed the job.

Once legally paid for, she inched her way back four rows and sat down. There were only two other people on the bus, and she was nowhere near them, and felt foolish to be on a journey with no apparent purpose.

After a couple of stops, with additional people arriving, she felt better. When someone sat in the seat next to her, she finally worked up the courage to greet the stranger. Her words were met with a bit of kindness, so she offered the young man (obviously on his way to work, because of the uniform he was wearing) … well, she offered him a chocolate chip cookie. He was so grateful, explaining that he hadn’t eaten breakfast, and usually didn’t take the time for it.

At the next stop, while people were getting on, the bus driver walked back to Mrs. Windermoot. He seemed huge. His nametag read, “Mickey.” He leaned down to Mrs. Windermoot and whispered, “Listen, lady. I can’t have you giving out food on the bus. I don’t know where it came from. You may be a nice lady and all—you certainly seem alright—but I could get in a helluva lot of trouble if you were poisoning people.”

When Mrs. Windermoot heard the word “poison,” she flinched—a reflex. The whole idea of her being a sinister murderer seemed absolutely ludicrous, if not offensive. The young man who was still chomping on his cookie interrupted. “Listen, they taste great. You should try one.”

Before Mickey could consider the idea, Mrs. Windermoot was holding one to his nose. Beautiful chocolate chip cookie.

Maybe it was a desire to salve the old girl’s ego, or maybe it was Mickey taking responsibility—taste testing to ensure there was no danger. Or maybe Mickey had missed a breakfast, too. But he grabbed the cookie and chomped away. His expression changed from austere to delight.

Realizing that the bus driver was now eating chocolate chip cookies, which seemed to be coming from the frail lady sitting in the seat, three or four people made their way up the aisle to receive a treat of their own. Everybody was grateful, and the bus driver (still maintaining a bit of his authority) told Mrs. Windermoot that if she brought them again, to “make sure he could check them out before they got passed around.”

Thus began a ritual. Four times a week—Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday—the lonely woman climbed on the bus with her chocolate chip cookies and rode around town, sharing treats and meeting new folks, turning Bus #572 into a friendly wagon of confection.

Once Mrs. Windermoot realized the chocolate chip cookies were a hit, she brought some little finger sandwiches, Rice Krispies treats—well, almost anything that came to her mind that she could make quickly for at least fifty people. Yes—it didn’t take long for the sweet old woman to gain a congregation of fifty admirers for all of her offerings.

A week passed. Two weeks. A month. Two months. Gradually, Mrs. Windermoot learned the story of Mickey, what the young man she originally met was hoping for his future, and the life stories of a dozen or more fellow travelers. It actually seemed that the bus was beginning to grow in attendance, if such a thing were possible. And everyone always seemed to be in a better mood once they boarded Bus #572 and headed off to pursue their responsibilities.

Then one morning, Mickey pulled the bus in front of her house and Mrs. Windermoot was not there. It was Wednesday. Mickey knew it was the right day. He was concerned, as were four or five other people, who stared out their windows, desperate to see the old lady emerge with her kindness and generosity.

But she was nowhere in sight.

Mickey was on a schedule, but his curiosity overwhelmed him. Where was she? Then his imagination went wild. Why wouldn’t she be out there? Was she alright? Did the old lady die?

It was right after this last question crossed his mind that Mickey decided to climb off the bus and go knock on her door. He did not notice that three or four other people joined him, apparently feeling a similar concern. Mickey knocked, and he knocked again. He peered in the window. There was no movement.

He reached over, tried the doorknob, and it opened. How foolish of the old lady not to lock her door, he thought.

But motioning to those who had trailed behind to “stay back!” he stepped into the house to investigate. Human nature being what it is, of course nobody listened to him, and they followed him through the door like a little train of detectives.

Inside there was an eerie silence. No sound.

There was one light on in the house, which appeared to be coming from the kitchen. Mickey inched toward the light, listening carefully for any movement. He was frightened—afraid of what he might find. He turned to those following, holding a finger to his lips, demanding that they remain quiet. He walked slowly to the opening of the kitchen, and as he rounded the corner he looked. There she was. It was Mrs. Windermoot.

She was sitting in a chair, peeling eggs.

She turned around, surprised to see Mickey in her home, and gasped. “What are you doing?” she demanded.

A good question. He didn’t know how to explain that he was expecting to find a body, not an egg peeler. “When you weren’t out there for the bus, I got scared, so I decided to check on you.”

Mrs. Windermoot glanced over at the clock that sat on the stove. “Well, you’re two hours early,” she explained.

Mickey looked at the same clock. It read 7:40. Leaning down and peering at it, he reported, “Ma’am, for some reason, the clock stopped. It’s 9:37,” he said, looking at his watch.

Mrs. Windermoot turned red with embarrassment. She looked behind Mickey and saw that there were six other people in the house, staring at her.

“I’m so sorry,” she said. “I thought I was ahead of my time! You see, I got up this morning deciding to boil eggs to make egg salad for our trip today. I wasn’t sure whether to hard boil them or soft boil them, so I decided to go in-between. But when I got to the in-between time, I thought how terrible it would be if they were runny, so I boiled them again.”

There was a pause, then everyone laughed.

Mrs. Windermoot was not certain why she was so hilarious, but she appreciated the affirmation. Mickey patted her on the shoulder and asked, “How long would it take you to finish your project?”

Mrs. Windermoot crinkled her brow, thinking intensely, as if pondering the national debt. “I should be ready in twenty minutes,” she said.

Mickey looked back at the passengers in the room, cleared his throat and said, “Well, I’ll tell you what. I shouldn’t do this, but there’s no reason why I can’t make four or five more stops, and then come back around on Johnson Street and pick you up—as long as NO ONE TELLS ON ME.” He raised his voice at the end.

Everybody nodded their heads in agreement. Mrs. Windermoot looked up at Mickey and said, “I’m sorry to have been so much trouble.”

Mickey patted her on the shoulder. “You’re no trouble at all. Matter of fact, a lot of trouble has left since you came along.”

Mickey corralled all the souls and they headed out the door. As they streamed back to the bus, Mickey realized he was taking a big chance by changing the schedule. What if someone noticed? What if there was a new customer who complained to the company about the delay? What if this was one of those weeks when there was a spy on the bus, evaluating his ability and performance?

As he reached the steps to climb into the bus, he scratched his head. He glanced back at the house, wondering if he should run and tell the old lady that he had changed his mind. Then…

Mickey shook his head and chuckled. “What the hell,” he said to himself. “No one’s gonna care. And I sure do love a good egg salad sandwich.”

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The W Word … July 9th, 2019

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THE

Related image

WORD


The W word that should never be spoken or written again is:

WORRY

It is a self-proclamation of great concern that has been hollowed out by the need to feel important, even when others require the greater attention.

It is often spoken as a prayer, but never contains belief.

It is delivered with tears, but rarely lifts a finger to help.

It insists on something being done while languishing in self-pity.

It is irrelevant—mainly because it fails to acknowledge that to do nothing is to get nothing.

It is ignorant.

It pretends to be involved—but proves “to study nothing is to learn nothing.”

And it is arrogant.

Feel nothing.

Be nothing.

It is nothing surrounded by sentiment.

It is fear in a climate that demands love.

It is a series of carefully worded statements that never form a legitimate thought.

A great man once said that we should never worry. He also went on to say (and I paraphrase):

“Don’t worry about tomorrow. Hell, today will probably kill you.”

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Sit Down Comedy …March 8th, 2019

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I recently moved, abandoning my old fortress of solitude for new digs, which I now comfortably call home.

In my whole life I have done this process twelve times. I was a little surprised to discover that this is statistically average.

Whenever I move, the first thing I do is go out and buy a box of garbage bags. Why? Because I’m going to give away a whole lot of stuff. These are the materials that crept into my life, were used temporarily, and ended up being stored in my closet or corners, where I intentionally forgot them.

It’s a very easy evaluation process. As I begin to pack things, I look at each item and ask myself the following three questions:

  1. Have I used this in the past three months?
  2. Will I use it a lot in the next three months?
  3. Is there someone who would really like to use it right now?

It makes things so easy. I not only end up moving but am able to bless a whole bunch of people who get the rejects I’ve been keeping around out of sentimentality mingled with laziness.

But you see, likewise, every once in a while, when something in my life needs to be moved, shifted or rearranged, I will dare to enter my closet of emotions and see what might be in there that is unnecessary.

There are three main culprits:

A. Worry

It gets shuffled to the rear and pretends it’s not there until you glance at it and then, the apprehension surfaces.

B. Pride

It always likes to be hung up high where it can be seen but does nothing to enhance my being except puff up my ego and is quickly deflated by reality.

C. And finally, self-pity

This one really likes to hide, like a cockroach surprised by turning on the light in the middle of the night. It likes to pretend it doesn’t exist, but self-pity literally “bugs me.”

When I look at these emotions—worry, pride and self-pity—I know deep in my heart that they’re worthless, but I keep them around for those times when others are not concerned, praising me—or they might even be ignoring me.

They suck. Yes, these fretting emotions literally suck the life out of me.

Because when I pose the three questions to them, which need to be asked of any emotion, they always fail. The three questions are:

  • Is this emotion making me money?
  • Is this emotion making me friends?
  • Is this emotion making me smarter?

Honestly, I do not feel old, but I am too ancient to waste time worrying pridefully in a puddle of self-pity. I need things in my life that make me money, friends and turn me into a smarter being.

So will you join me in grabbing a sack, finding your worry, your pride and your self-pity, bagging it up and giving it away for Goodwill?

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … June 20th, 2018

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Fly Girl

by Jonathan Richard Cring

I want to apologize to you

For feeling so sorry for me

It’s just that everything is new

Not used to being free

 

Do I enjoy feeling pain

So I can nurse the sore?

Flirting with a hurtful insane

Sitting in the dark on the floor

 

Do I understand I was wrong

Remember the twist in my mind?

I finally feel like I belong

With a heart, generous and kind

 

My hands are strong

My mind is clear

It took so long

To calm my fear

 

Yet I yearn for grace once again

Embarrassed to feel so weak

At the mercy of my lingering sin

Still inheriting with the meek

 

As a girl I dreamed of flying

Across the sky, crystal blue

Lying, sighing, trying and crying

A seeker without a clue

 

Lord, give me wings like a bird

So I can finally see

The beauty of your heart and word

And all your love for me

 

Fly… fly… fly

Try… try… try

Fly girl.

Our guest reader is Angy, entrepreneur, wife, mother of two daughters, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

 

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G-Poppers … February 16th, 2018

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There’s no upside to horror.

After seventeen bodies lay in a schoolyard, riddled with bullets, any attempt to assign valor, purpose or mission to such a scene of mayhem is sacrilegious.

G-Pop insists that three things should never be stated:

A. “They’re in a better place.”

No mortal can say such a thing for certain. Since we have not navigated the oceans of eternity, we should be careful touting our knowledge from our port of bewilderment.

B. “There were heroes.”

There are no heroes in a murder spree. There are people who die, people who intelligently run and people who feel compelled in the moment to step in and try to stop the craziness. All of them are victims.

C. “No one saw it coming.”

Liars.

Rather than getting worked up into a froth over gun control, sit down and understand the process of what causes someone to reach a point where they unleash bullets into the bodies of their brothers and sisters.

There is a fourteen-step process. Yes, at any point in the fourteen steps, these killers can be stopped.

1. “I’m disturbed.”

You know the crazies in your family. Take care of them.

2. “I’m disturbing others.”

Disturbed people are not satisfied with a solitude of pain. They want notice, attention and to inflict heartache on others.

3. “I insist on being the victim.”

Disturbed people who are disturbing others will accuse them of bullying and mistreatment.

4. “I threaten.”

This is the first sign that the soul of the human in front of you is beginning to disintegrate.

5. “I am drenched in self-pity.”

Look for lack of hygiene, wearing dark clothes, smelling bad on purpose, grimacing and hiding away.

6. “I plot.”

Not the final plot–just ways to communicate that everyone is crazy and he is misunderstood.

7. “I intimidate.”

Sometimes it’s animals. Sometimes a next-door little boy, but they always go through this phase of domination.

8. “I write warnings.”

Read their Facebook. See the journal they scribble in. It will be filled with rancor and hate.

9. “I purchase a weapon.”

10. “I practice.”

11. “I am arrogant and brag about my gun.”

12. “I wait for the right moment, which will seem logical to me for committing my insane action.”

13. “I warn.”

There’s always someone who’s told.

14. “I kill.”

Pursuing gun control is a piece of liberal propaganda to pass the responsibility for the poor mental health of many of our young people on to the National Rifle Association.

You can’t tell grown-ups in America what they can’t have or do.

But you realize that disturbed people go through a definitive process before they kill. The children in Parkland knew who the shooter was long before anyone told them. Why weren’t the grown-ups listening?

Every young person in America, along with his or her SAT scores, should have to pass a basic mental health exam before going to high school and then college. Maybe before high school.

It is not an intrusion–it is an inclusion which will protect them and those around them from the screaming demons that want to release hell.

 

 

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Reverend Meningsbee (Part 36) A Rebuking Hour… January 8th, 2017

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Reverend Meningsbee

About twenty-five miles outside Garsonville, Meningsbee pulled his vehicle onto the side of the road because the tears in his eyes had become so overwhelming that he couldn’t see to drive anymore.

He didn’t know why he was crying.

Certainly there was a lot of incrimination and anguish behind the tears–but something else was emptying his well of discontent. He didn’t know what it was and he didn’t want to think about it–he just wanted to get back to Garsonville.

Home.

Was it home?

Or was it really just a place he had inserted himself to make some theological point? It certainly seemed to have grown beyond that. He had a very tender heart for the people he served.

After a few minutes, some good old-fashioned thinking dried up the gushers in his eyes and he headed toward the parsonage.

He arrived there on Saturday evening, about nine o’clock. There was just enough time to put together some notes for the next day, crawl into bed and collapse from exhaustion.

The next morning, he purposely arrived a little later so he wouldn’t have to field a series of “narthex questions,” leading to stymied silences.

The congregation was already seated and singing “Sweet Hour of Prayer” as he made his way down the aisle to the front, turned and waited for them to finish the beautiful hymn.

He took a pause, not trying to be dramatic, but staring at the people, searching for words. He began.

“Jesus once preached a sermon that was so pungent, pointed, relevant and convicting that the Bible says everybody left. At least five thousand people.

Jesus was saddened. He turned to his disciples and said, ‘Are you going to go away, too?'”

All at once, Meningsbee was interrupted by a woman in her forties, standing to her feet.

“Reverend, my name is Sarah–Sarah Rothchild. I don’t go to this church. I don’t go to any church. But I came here today because this church found a way, through its message and love, to permeate through the doors and windows of my home and reach me–even without my attendance. We haven ‘t left you, sir. There aren’t five thousand disciples marching away, grumbling about your ministry. You keep leaving us. You keep running away. You came here to do something magnificent–different–personal–and dare I say, human. And then because some critics have come along to challenge you, you scurry away like a little spider to quietly spin your web of self-pity. We need you. But most of all, we need you not to run away. I don’t know if I’ll join this church, but I do know this town is better since you came here. And I decided to dress up and join you folks today so I could rebuke you. Isn’t that a Bible word? If it isn’t, it should be. I’m here to rebuke you for being a coward.”

One of the ushers stepped forward with the intention of leading Sarah out of the church. Meningsbee held up a hand, motioning for him sit back down. The pastor turned back to Sarah to listen. Sensing that she was finding disfavor, Sarah became defensive.

“I didn’t come to make trouble. I just believe that the only way you can prove what you say is to stick around after people disagree with you. I think it’s time for you to either pack your bags, leave Garsonville and admit this was just a game to you. Or else hang in here with us and see if we can’t make it through these problems–especially getting out of the condemnation from these horrible shows on TV.”

Sarah looked around the room for some sign of support. Everybody was afraid to move. So she reached down, grabbed her purse, turned around and was ready to dash out of the sanctuary.

Meningsbee stepped forward, stopping her.

“By the way, Sarah, that is officially called a rebuke. And you helped me discover what I was crying about last night as I drove into town. I am a coward. Not something you’re really able to say about yourself, until you hear somebody else accuse you of it. I’m scared. I’m not scared of being wrong. I’m scared of being right…and all alone. So if you’ll forgive me and give me another chance, I would like to try to do better. I would like to try…”

Meningsbee stopped.

He didn’t know what to say and had probably already said too much. He bowed his head.

One after another, the congregation members rose, walked up and gave Meningsbee their rendition of Christian greeting, love and hugs.

The last one to come to him was Sarah, his rebuker. She started to say she was sorry, but before she could speak, Meningsbee erupted with a revival of tears.

He fell on her shoulder and cried like a little boy who had just skinned his knee. She patted his back, weeping along with him. The Garsonville elect stood back and watched, like little children seeing a deer in the forest for the first time.

At length, everybody headed out of the church.

But as the first congregant opened the door, standing there was Kitty, Hapsy’s mom.

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Ask Jonathots … December 8th, 2016

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What do you think about the idea that people get depressed during the holidays? Do you believe in “Blue Christmas?”

The diagnosis of depression is applied to everything from copouts to extreme physiological disorders. It is a shame that such a legitimate concern is rendered questionable by people who simply want to feel sorry for themselves.

So when we talk about depression, we’re referring to three different regions of human behavior:

  1. Fear of the afar
  2. Fear of our surroundings
  3. Fear borne from a chemical imbalance within

So when dear hearts come to us and say they’re in no mood to celebrate Christmas because it leaves them sad, it is important that we listen to them and decide if they’re expressing some apprehension about the world around them, some feeling of a lack of appreciation by those they interact with, or whether the recent concern about the holidays is aggravating what seems to be an ongoing thread in their lives.

Those who are involved in conspiracy theories or worry about what’s going on in our world can often be comforted with good cheer, a sense of well-being and the knowledge that someone cares for them.

Others who are disappointed by their surroundings or who have been subjected to mistreatment are often healed right before our eyes by a spirit of gentleness and kindness.

And those who have physiological roots for their depression need our encouragement to see a doctor so they can feel better.

So during this holiday season, when you run across people who are expressing misgivings, start with some good cheer and give them a listening ear, and see if that doesn’t lift their spirits.

If it does, you are like the angels on high, who declared “peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

But if your attempts at healing still leave them feeling empty, you might use your holiday joy to encourage them to seek an answer and find out the source of their depression within.

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