He was scrawny to my fatso, black to my white, smoker to my smokeless and Southern to my Mid-West. Yet he made his way to the window of my van to ask about the conversion aspect of my vehicle and to inquire whether it came “with a bed.”
Always glad to attempt the art of small talk, even when it seems to have microscopic possibilities, I explained all about my vehicle, including the fact that I purchased it with a bed, but I removed it so I could store equipment.
After a few questions about gas mileage, engine size and ride on the road, he finally arrived at his primary concern. “Do most of these conversion vans have beds in the back?”
I told him I believed they did–and he smiled. (When he smiled, I discovered that he was minus a few teeth.)
He then launched into a discourse on the beauty, the power, the glory and the availability of “pepper pots.” (Now, it really wasn’t pepper pots, but for the sake of keeping my jonathots free of questionable language, I will insert this euphemism.)
It very quickly became clear that my new conversation friend loved pepper pots. Matter of fact, he wanted to buy a van so he could climb into the back, onto the bed and discover all the intricacies and inner workings of pepper pots.
Honestly, I was a bit startled with the transition–from talking about front disc brakes to pepper pots–but I decided to hang in there so as not to appear judgmental, naive or discourteous. Little did I know that pepper pots was one of his favorite topics of conversation.
Also somewhere along the line, in elaborating about pepper pots, he decided to start talking about “salt mounds” (once again, a euphemism.)
He yammered and yammered and yammered about the subject. I think I saw a tear come to his eye when he discussed the gorgeous nature of pepper pots and salt mounds joining together to perform the action that God intended.
All at once, he mentioned the fact that his wife had died six years earlier. I seized that moment to change the subject to his dearly departed, to find out a little more about her. He softened as he explained that he had been married to her for twenty-three years, had stayed faithful and had never visited another pepper pot as long as she lived. It was a sweet moment.
But then he noticed my I-pad sitting in my lap and wondered if I had been watching X-rated movies. Reassuring him that I hadn’t, he went on to explain that if I WAS looking for such entertainment, there was a wonderful video store just down the street that had some of the finest flicks available–and also some side rooms where you could improv with the scenes you had just beheld.
I was certainly out of my element–but honestly did not want to come across like a prude or some sort of evangelist out to save his soul or … well, I really just didn’t know how to get out of the entanglement.
He stayed and he stayed and he stayed. Several times I reached out to shake his hand, to bring finality to our excursion, which he gladly shook–and then continued on with his tales.
I believe he took every angle on the pepper pots and salt mounds that was humanly possible.
I listened. Why? Because I knew this stranger was lonely.
Sometimes we’re very critical of people and refer to them as “carnal” because they only pursue matters of the flesh. We never stop to realize that this kind of odyssey ends up your day with skin and goo. Nothing much ever gets inside.
But here I was–a fella sittin’ in front of him, about his age–and I was listening.
We must have talked for forty minutes–so much so that any additional dialogue about pepper pots and salt mounds would not be necessary for me for at least a couple of years.
At length, I realized I could not get rid of the fellow unless I told him I had to go. Fortunately for me, it happened to be the truth. I excused myself and he asked me where I was heading.
I said, “I have to go pick up my friends.”
“Pepper pots?” he asked.
“And much more,” I replied.
I squeezed his hand and looked into his eyes. There was a living soul there. There was a lot of passion there. There was a lot of belief in life that would not necessarily be acceptable in normal liturgy on a Sunday morning.
This man worshiped one part of creation–honestly, a very small part. Yet getting him to believe in the true nature Creator would be much easier to do than some hardened Bible thumper who was convinced that he was already redeemed.
I think this is why Jesus said that God is very willing to leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness to go after the one that’s lost. Sometimes you get tired of tending the sheep and you want to chase down a wild one. You know–folks who talk about pepper pots and salt mounds.
I told him I’d be thinking about him … and “God bless you.”
He was sad to see me go.
I read somewhere that a carnal mind is the enemy of God. It’s not because God is prissy. It’s because when all you can think about is fleshy things, you often end up alone.
And I also read: “It’s just not good for a man to be alone.”
The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity
Jonathan’s thinking–every day–in a sentence or two …
Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event