Untotaled: Stepping 63 (October 18th, 1970) Three… April 18, 2015


 Jonathots Daily Blog



Jane, Mike and Diane.

Three people.

Please remember their names. I will get back to them shortly.

Leaving Buffalo, Dollie and I had much to talk about on our way to Ohio. We had decided not to abort our child, but that particular determination did not take away the problem we were facing upon our return.

How do you tell people who are already disapproving of your relationship that you’ve lied to them about a pregnancy, and that the baby is due in about 3 months?

We tried to be mature.

It was very difficult.

We wanted to pretend a little longer, hoping we could gain some acceptance, and then spring it on people at the last moment.

But we decided that the parents needed to know, and that we would let it flow from there.

We tried to get hold of Dollie’s parents but they refused to take the call. So we wrote them a letter, explaining that Dollie was pregnant.

When we sat down with my mother, she shook her head, whimpered a little bit, and then told us that “she figured there must be something like that going on.”

We then told the pastor and his wife, and once those floodgates were open, we tried to inform everybody we knew as quickly as possible–before it became the grist for the gossip mill.

It didn’t take long.

Within 4 days everyone in the community was aware that we were in the process of having a baby out-of-wedlock. (It didn’t seem to matter that we were now married and were trying to make the best of the situation.)

The general consensus was that “they already knew,” they wished us well, and they were pretty well certain that our relationship was doomed.

There were three folks who stepped out of the pack, and to this day I remember their courage.

Jane was a friend from school who decided to come over and give her support to us. I don’t know why.

Mike, one of the guys who used to be in my singing group, continued to talk to me at church, sing with me from time to time, and never gave up on our closeness.

And Diane, my sister-in-law, stepped in the gap and let Dollie know about a doctor to visit, who would help her through the final 3 months of the pregnancy and the birth.

They were shining lights in the presence of dimness.

I would never want to portray that the people of our community were mean, nor that they were wrong in their assessment of our situation. It’s just that their form of evaluation left us out in the cold, without the warmth we needed to find our escape from the iceberg we had created.

It was a lonely week. I shall never forget it.

It often comes to my mind whenever I am encouraged by others to alienate individuals who may have fallen from grace. Reminding errant souls of their sin is similar to going to a dermatologist for treatment for your acne, and having him repulsed by your complexion.

We needed more than mercy–we needed some human tenderness.

Had it not been for those three souls who stepped in the gap to be grace to us, we might have turned completely sour, never to return to faith again.

From that point on, I wanted to make sure that I always found myself as part of the “chosen three.”


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Untotaled: Sitting 60 (September 24th, 1970) A Spartan Start … March 28, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog



We figured $25.00 was going to be enough.

Actually, it had to be. That’s all the money we had left. My  girlfriend’s dad had closed the bank account in Arizona, poaching our nest egg.

We climbed into our old Chevy, which the guy at a local gas station told us had no chance of making it on a long trip, and set off for North Carolina, where people of our age were allowed to get married without a parent’s approval.

Along the way, we had a blow-out of one of our tires, which is what the old bald culprits do when they reach the end of their lives. So that took $5.00 we didn’t expect.

We crossed the border of North Carolina and the first town we came to was Sparta. We found a motel, which cost an additional $7.00, and accounting for the gasoline, brought our entire kitty down to a disconcerting $8.34.

We went to the United Methodist Church in town, where the pastor agreed to marry us and even brought his wife over to witness the event. So in a large sanctuary which echoed when we talked, the lady and myself became the traditional “husband and wife.”

I didn’t have any money to give to the preacher. I was embarrassed, but young enough to quickly get over it.

We had to eat, so we went to a local diner as newlyweds and ordered exactly $3.34 worth of food, including tax.

We shared with the waitress and the cook about our nuptials, and out of the kindness of their heart, they donated the meal to us.

We both cried. It seemed like a long time since we had felt a tickle of love from human fingers.

We went back to the motel, and for the first time as legal before God and Caesar, we made love.

We had decided on the drive down to North Carolina not to return to Ohio. We realized that sooner or later we were going to have to tell people that my new wife was pregnant–and we would just rather do that with a new batch of folks, who just might maintain some original politeness.

I had a friend in Kentucky who was starting a church after his Bible College experience. He invited us to come there and spend a week or so, and have…well, have our honeymoon.

So we drove up to Kentucky, spending our last 75 cents on gasoline about thirty miles from our destination, only to discover that there was a bridge which went across the river to the little town…that had a toll.

One dime.

We didn’t have it.

So I rolled up to the toll-keeper and explained our situation. The old man reached into his pocket, pulled out a dime and dropped it into the container and said, “Consider it a wedding gift. Good luck to you both.”

We crossed the bridge to our new life…on the grace and generosity of a stranger.


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An American Tale … December 12, 2011

In Melbourne, Florida


Muriel was sixteen years old–and she was pregnant. She was engaged to Jeremy, who had been off to State College for three months, beginning his studies to become an architect. The problem was that Muriel was only two months pregnant. The other problem was that she had never had sex with Jeremy–because he was nineteen years old and she was, as they call it, jail bait. They were in love–but desperately avoiding lust.

There was a third problem–Muriel also insisted that she’d never had sex before–with ANYONE. Some people laughed; others became infuriated. Why didn’t she just admit that she and Jeremy had lost control and the end result was a baby?

Now, Jeremy got a call from a friend about the conflict arising in the town over the issue. He left college and hurried home. He was greeted at the door by Muriel’s father … and the county sheriff. He was arrested on the spot for statutory rape. After all, there was no other explanation. A nineteen-year-old had gotten a sixteen-year-old pregnant and it was illegal.

Muriel pleaded her case, but to no avail. Some of Jeremy’s friends bailed him out of jail and he met secretly with Muriel. Jeremy was hurt. Muriel insisted that she had not had sex but that she was nonetheless pregnant. She further complicated the relationship by telling Jeremy that she’d had a dream and that she believed the baby was a gift from God. Jeremy cautioned her to not share this story with anyone lest she be considered “tetched” and sent to the booby-hatch.

But those professionals did show up, some of them suggesting that Muriel put the baby up for adoption after the birth. Matter of fact, arrangements could be made now for such a maneuver. One of the counselors from a local women’s organization recommended that she consider abortion because of her youth and inexperience. Muriel explained to them about her dream and that she had not been with anyone sexually, but of course, no one believed her.

Six agonizing months passed–of interference, critique, delayed court dates, morning sickness and public ridicule. Jeremy became concerned because Muriel was losing it. He decided to skip town–to run out on his bail money and take her to a cousin of his in a small town several states away. As they journeyed, a terrible blizzard hit and their car slid off the road. They were forced to seek refuge in a nearby bed and breakfast. It was full–and even if it hadn’t been, much too expensive for their meager substance. Jeremy asked the proprietor if there was anywhere they could stay. She replied no.  He explained to her that Muriel was pregnant and was about ready to give birth. The owner of the bed and breakfast became quite distraught and ordered them both off the property. Jeremy had to do something. On the land of the bed and breakfast there was a barn. He took Muriel and they went inside the barn to seek shelter for the evening.

Meanwhile, things were happening in the world. A bright, shining light had sprung up in the sky. Most people thought it was a new comet or perhaps even an asteroid heading towards earth, causing a great fear amongst the populace. But three astrologers from Iran suddenly appeared at an airport in New York City, explaining that they wanted to investigate the light and trace its source. They believed it was a foretelling of the arrival of a great leader. The three Iranians were stopped by customs and arrested, put into jail and interrogated for fear that they were terrorists.  After two weeks, it was decided to deport them back to Iran.

Meanwhile, back at the barn, Muriel went into labor and gave birth. Jeremy was frightened out of his mind. There seemed to be no escape for them. Suddenly, there was a soft knock on the barn door. Jeremy nervously and awkwardly called, “Come in.” He figured it would be the proprietor and that the jig was up. Instead, in walked four guys who had been out working on transformers and lighting poles in the middle of the storm to try to restore power to the neighborhood. They sheepishly explained that they had seen a vision in the sky, telling them to come to this specific barn–to see a baby that was going to become a king. Jeremy was suspicious.

As all this was going on, suddenly the barn door flung open and in walked the proprietor with the local sheriff. They were both shocked to discover that the young girl had given birth, so an ambulance was called to rush her to the hospital in the midst of the storm, where the two of them, Muriel and Jeremy, were separated into different rooms until a decision could be made about the future of their relationship and the child.

The four workmen were arrested for trespassing, but later released, as the proprietor chose not to press charges.

In the hospital, Jeremy desperately tried to see Muriel, but was unsuccessful. After several days of deliberation, it was determined that the newborn baby would be put into foster care and that Muriel, who persisted in her story of a dream and a non-sexual pregnancy, was placed into a twenty-eight-day program for rehabilitation and analysis. Jeremy was sent back to college with the threat that if he ever saw Muriel again, he would be arrested and the charges for statutory rape would be enforced. The Iranians, who had come to follow the light in the sky, tried to escape custody to continue their study. Two of them were shot and killed and the other returned to his homeland.

In a matter of three weeks, the whole event was over. Medals were given to Homeland Security for preventing what might surely have been an attack on the nation. The sheriff and the proprietor of the bed and breakfast were praised by the community for level-headed action and for protecting an infant from what most certainly was his disturbed mother.

And the little boy grew up and became an American “everybody.”

You see, there is an importance to timing. And there’s a value to those who have a courage in their conviction. Because in our American Tale, everything was done correctly.

Unfortunately, political correctness rarely has any touch of the grace of God.


Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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