Untotaled: Stepping 10–December 31st, 1965 (The Watch Night) … April 19, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

There is certainly not much to do on New Year’s Eve in a little village of fifteen hundred people.

Some of the folks of our town would actually make the trip down to Columbus to take in a show and imbibe some alcohol, feeling as if they had flown to the moon and could disguise their drunken condition without fear of community scrutiny.

But most of the citizens of our little burg were devoid of entertainment or ideas for ringing in the New Year.

So our local church planned a Watch Night service, so as to prohibit–or at least impair–the possibility of the young kids falling victim to the beckonings of “demon rum.”

Watch Night services were a tradition of Dixie which had been transplanted to the Buckeye State via those who floated north. It was in four parts:

  • First there was eating–the best potluck of the year. Everyone tried to outdo one another both in culinary skills and appetites.
  • Then there were a couple of hours of gospel singing, featuring local talent (or at least local persons).
  • This trailed off into some preaching, warning all present of the dangers of increasing sin in our nation and the hopes that revival would break out in the coming 365 days provided..
  • And finally, the twelve o’clock hour offered the opportunity for hugs and handshakes.

This year I was thrilled. My group, The Gospels, a quartet of young teens, was going to participate in the singing portion of the evening. We had lobbied the previous year, and even auditioned for the church elders, were weighed in the balances and found wanting. This year, apparently we were in tune.

The ironic part of being welcomed into the songfest was that our group was about to break up. Actually I was breaking it up by kicking the Connelly brothers out of our team and replacing them with two of my friends who I liked better. This caused quite a stir in the church. Matter of fact, I was called in for a conference with the pastor’s wife, as she tried to explain that human beings had feelings and the Connelly brothers deserved better treatment.

I listened politely and then did what I always did. Ignored her. You see, the Connelly brothers didn’t mind. They sang their hearts out that night.

I don’t know if we sounded good or not, but we sure had fun. It was one of those times when I felt really grown-up, in charge and important. That’s hard to come by in a tiny town.

I thought a lot about what the pastor’s wife said on how to treat people and how to conduct your affairs in a way that would not upset anyone else. I came to the conclusion that this was going to be difficult.

I think many people thought I was a real dick when I was a teenager. But without being a little bit of a dick as a teenager, you can grow up to be a dickless adult.

So I decided to try to continually improve what I do and what I work with without upsetting people too much.

Yes, that should keep me really busy.Donate Button

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

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

When I Grow Up … January 25, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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IsabellaAs a teenager, one of the greatest horrors was having relatives visit, and feeling the need to communicate with me, they landed on one of two awkward questions:

  1. How’s school?
  2. What do you want to do when you grow up?

Concerning the first question, how’s school?–it’s similar to asking an inmate about his progress in the prison.

And the second question is a bear trap lest you answer incorrectly, with an occupation they deem unacceptable … well, you may end up becoming part of a beheading.

I finally got fed up with the inquiry and told my stuffy Presbyterian aunt that I had aspirations of becoming a Buddhist monk. Gasping, barely able to catch her breath, she turned to my parents in alarm and said, “Did you know about this?”

I quickly retracted my statement, explaining that although I had the waistline of the Buddha, I did not share his politics.

Now, I have a granddaughter who will become fifteen years old on Monday. A recent survey of fifteen-year-olds asked the question: what do you want to be when you grow up?  The top five answers: (1) Rich (2) Famous (3) Powerful (4) Beautiful (5) Sexy

So to my fifteen-year-old granddaughter, Isabella, let me say that when I grow up, I do want to be rich–possessing one more dollar than I need.

Certainly famous, in the sense of dazzling the handful sent my way.

Powerful? Yes. I fully intend to bring energy to wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, to make it more productive and joyful.

Now we come to beautiful. I guess  my definition of that would be to bring along a complete package of myself that makes people want to be with me.

And finally, sexy. Yes, it is truly sexy to find one person who continues to yearn for your touch.

I do not know whether it is possible for someone in their teen years to grasp all these concepts. Shoot, I don’t know whether I do.

  • But there are riches available–and they are more pleasurable with contentment.
  • And fame is not everybody knowing your name, but rather, in having your name bring something of integrity to those who know it.
  • Power is something we possess, not somewhere we are.
  • Beauty changes with time, but as long as it’s radiating from within, it maintains a certain consistency.
  • And I don’t know if there is anything sexier than someone who can carry on a good conversation, while inserting humor.

So there you go. That’s what I want to be when I grow up.

You can see why I decided not to be a Buddhist monk.

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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

Have Yourself a Mary Christmas… December 25, 2012

jon-in-red-hat

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1. Don’t be afraid. God really IS love.

Mary and Jesus

2. So therefore, God uses young and old alike. He picked a teenage chick and an old dame to birth two children of promise.

3. Your partner will come around. Don’t expect people to understand the seed that’s been planted inside your soul. If they love you, they’ll find you–and end up listening to an angel of their better natures.

4. Outsiders are critical. That’s why we call them “outsiders.” People who are frightened of change are either overly curious, jealous or prejudiced. It’s not that you can’t please everybody. If you’re trying to please people, you won’t end up with anybody.

5. It never happens the way you think. Everyone would love to birth their idea to great applause, notoriety and success. Yet every great idea has to spend its time stuck out in a barn somewhere.

6. Be prepared to travel. When your new idea of blessing and what you’ve birthed through your talent and faith is not immediately received by the hometown folks and is even attacked, you might want to slide on your shoes and see how you will fare in another locale. Remember, God never told you that what’s in your heart will be received by those who are closest to your heart. God just told you it’s important.

7. Leave a little bit of your own personality imbedded in the miracle. Sometimes we think that Mary was just a birthing chamber for Jesus. But she was his mother. So even though he had his Father’s soul and wit, the young Nazarene had his mother’s humor and determination.

If you believe that Mary of Nazareth was a one-hit wonder which will never be duplicated again, you will probably be willing to sit back and watch our generation flounder without the needed infusion of renewal, renovation and revival.

But if you realize that she was just a young girl who was willing to let the Spirit touch her in a unique way and then see it through instead of giving up, you can take a little bit of her spirit with you every day.

Yes, I have a little bit of Jesus in me–because of Mary. So on this beautiful day, when we celebrate the birthing of the Prince of Peace, let’s remember that his mother made it all possible.

So have yourself … a Mary Christmas.

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