A Green Hoodie and Pumpkin Ale

Another great Jonathon Brooks Blog!


The seasons change at midnight. Tomorrow is the first day of fall. I enjoy the temperatures of spring and fall more than the bitter cold of winter and the scorching heat of summer. I like my weather to be on the less extreme side. I am excited about this fall season!

With fall my hoodies are brought out from their closet once again. Also pumpkin ales are in the grocery and liquor stores. Then there’s the fancy pumpkin coffee beverages at the coffeehouses. And, of course, my father’s birthday lands in the late October country each year. Later arrives Thanksgiving break. The falling of the leaves from the trees in fall I also enjoy. Yes, fall is my kind of season.

In my life story I hope to be living in the season of summer. I turned 35 back in April. Summer seemed to begin around age 18 when I…

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Christmas @ Poor Boys

A Billy Bump Christmas!

The Jazz Man

Billy B.’s mother was insistent that she was not going to make a Christmas dinner that year…1969!  She proclaimed that she worked like a dog each Christmas to bring off a luxurious dinner and that this year…they were going out to eat!  Now, Demetrius, Billy’s step-father knew that there were no restaurant open on Christmas day, especially in the 1960’s!  He attempted to reason with Jane and assure her that they would be without dinner…if they did not make a dinner or if they were not invited to a Holiday feast.

Billy’s mom was dedicated to the proposition that she could not be bothered or troubled from Thanksgiving Day until Christmas Day…as there was simply to much work to be done in preparation for the yuletide revelers!  She hosted the annual Santa Claus extravaganza each year and her sisters, Vema and Guelda and Wanda attended…but not her brother Gene, who…

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My Pal, Bill V.

Have you ever met someone that you admired from the first time that you encountered them?  That would be the case with my first meeting of my friend, Bill Vanmetre!  I was the assistant superintendent of Building Service at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale and I was working late on the third shift to tour the buildings on that shift and meet the staff in each.

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Ken, the third shift foreman, was accompanying me though Morris Library when he introduced me to Bill Vanmetre.  I was immediately struck with Bill’s collegiality and wit!  When he spoke he exhibited a keen mind and a through understanding of the university and his mission in it.

Bill had a genuineness about him and I liked him and thought that he should be a candidate for promotion in the future.  He had a concern about people that impressed me and was very much along the lines of what I thought supervision and management should be about!

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Bill V. had grown-up in Carbondale and he understood the culture of SIUC in a manner that few others did.  He had known former SIU President, Delete Morris!

When times became rough at Building Services and a change in leadership was to soon occur in our department…Bill encouraged me that I was up to the challenge and that he had told the director of Plant and Service Operations that I was the right person for the job.

During my years as superintendent of Building Services, Bill was my sounding board for many difficult problems and dilemmas that I encountered.

Bill was dedicated to former SIUC chancellor, Dr. Jo Ann Argersinger!  No one was closer by my side than he…when the chancellor was unjustly terminated.  Bill was there for Jo Ann with encouraging words and support…and she loved him for his friendship and dedication!

When a HOPE Dinner, which was a support group for the fallen chancellor,  was being held a Lick Creek Restaurant and I did not have the funds for the tickets, which were $100.00 per person…Bill bought Mary Jane and my ticket because he wanted us to attend.

During his many years on campus…Bill V. was a leader that loved people…and without fanfare or acclaim….quietly helped countless members of the campus community.

For several years Bill V. would purchase an ornate flower arrangement for President Poshard and his lovely wife, Jo, for their holiday table…when they hosted the Board of Trustees of the University.  Bill insisted on placing my name alongside his on the card….although I never contributed a dime.

Bill V. not only never sought praise for his many contributions to the betterment of others on campus…but he insisted that I not reveal his good works, either!

Bill V. is such a kind professional that if he disagreed with you…..you would have to ponder for some time a to whether or not  he had indicated a differing of opinion?

Bill V., who was one of my closest advisors, and my continuing friend…was responsible for much of the success of Building Services during my years there.

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Friends Are Special

Friendship is special!

The Jazz Man

Billy Bump was thinking about his friend since first grade, Carl.  He had first noticed Carl when he entered the first grade classroom on the first day of class and proceeded to sit down at his desk, when the teacher had told him, ‘Carl take your hat off in the house…and hang it in the cloak room.’

hanged black and orange coats inside room Photo by Film Bros on Pexels.com

Soon, Billy discovered that he and Carl had the same last name, Bump.  Now, Bump was not a common name and Billy marveled that he had the same name as another of his classmates.  Billy determined, at that point, that he was going to get to know Carl, better.

Carl was a quiet boy.  He was was a bit heavy in body…in a day that most American children were not, and he wore thick, what were called in the early 1960’s, coke rimmed lenses!  Carl welcomed Billy…

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A Trip To The Vineyard

We had a wonderful visit with Ira Kaye and Ron, yesterday!  We made a pilgrimage to two of our local wineries, Von Jakob and Owl Creek.  Both were resplendent in welcoming winery mode!

It had been awhile since we had had the opportunity of visit and it was such a joy to spend time with them both!

Ira Kaye brought me a present…a Teddy Bear…which I collect…he and I hit it off immediately!

IMG_3636The older I become, 62 next month, the more that I realize how important family and friends are!

Von Jakob’s has a wonderful Schnitzel.  It is to die for!  That along with their stellar wine and beer and majestic view…. is an abundance of riches!

There were not many at Von Jakob when we were there, but there was the nicest young couple that offered us a plate of vegetables.  They were going to visit several of the wineries and they both had the day off and the husband told us that his mother-in-law was babysitting the kids.  I admonished him to stay until closing time…and he agreed!

As we were leaving I was attempting to get our party together for a group photo…when a gentleman asked if we would like for him to take a photo of all of us.

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Then it was on to Owl Creek that has a much larger venue than the last time that I visited there in 2011.

Now, Owl Creek not only has delicious wines to choose from but a specialization in cider of many different varieties.

IMG_0896 2There is a special pleasure in having long standing friendships whereby there is a language that you speak with each other that is not only friendly but understood by all parties.

I must reflect once again on the young couple that we met at Von Jakob.  I thought of the many times that Mary Jane and I had taken a day off to enjoy some relaxation time or even just a change of scenery from working hard every day and taking care of the plethora of home duties that ensue with family commitments.  I think that we must renew our enjoyment of the joys of retirement and free time and doing what you want to do!

IMG_0895 2Life is unique…and it is special….and it is short….we must enjoy every day…and diversify our areas of happiness….to drink in all of the abundance that God has given as a gift to us!


The Journey

‘Time is the progression of events from the past into the future.’

‘Time moves only in one direction.  It is possible to move forward in time, but not backward.’

‘Scientist believe memory formation is the basis for human perception of time.’    ThoughtCo.

Time has been described as the progression of entropy and the increasing of knowledge.

‘As for backwards time travel, it is possible to find solutions in general relativity that allow for it, but the solutions require conditions that may not be physically possible.’ Wikipedia

IMG_9983 2Admittedly, time seems a bit ethereal…when you have experienced a lot of it!  It seems that it was yesterday that I was beginning my career at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale and wondering what working at the University had in store for me…and I turned around once or maybe twice…and I have been retired almost nine years!

Yesterday I met the daughter-in-law of my step-father’s brother’s daughter.  I pondered how that Bridgett is older than Denise…when I first met her in the 1960’s!

I enjoy visiting with my good friends, Ryan and Elizabeth, and I consider that they are the age that I was when I became the superintendent of Building Services…and I thought that I was old.

There is a bit of a theatrical performance to life.  A minister and author from San Antonio, Texas, Rev. Millard Hazelip, said, ‘We are all playing a part on the stage of life…play your part well!’

I walked through the Campus Lake Woods today and considered how short and ephemeral our human lives are.

‘Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more.  It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.’

Macbeth, William Shakespeare

IMG_2661 2What if before we were born….we were all family?  We all were looking forward to our limited time on Earth…and what we could accomplish and who we could help…and the difference we could make in a segment of God’s creation?  But when we were born we discovered…to our complete dismay that we were different colors and we spoke different languages and that we were members of different tribes….and that our flesh and bone and blood bodies were subject to lust and greed and avarice and jealousy….


As we grew into adulthood we could not help but notice that the human family settles their disagreements and disputes through violence and destruction and death!

I watched an extremely interesting documentary on HBO last night utilizing actual film footage of the British and Germans in in World War I.  Much of the extraordinary documentary film had been colorized and actors did voice-over work to portray what the actual veterans were saying in the old film.

If any of the political planners of War had to go and fight the war that they were planning….there would be no more war!

If life continues after death….what will be revealed to us and what will we understand more fully…in 100 years?

Beautiful Campus!

IMG_5388As Jonathon and I were walking the campus of Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale I  was humbled by the embarrassment of riches that our natural surroundings provide!

IMG_1531Having been affiliated with SIUC for 41 years…I never tire of it’s intricate wonders!

IMG_4279 5I am so very proud of the work that my friend and former colleague, Elizabeth Cheek, has accomplished to facilitate SIUC being named the highest accredited university arboretum in Illinois!

‘Southern Illinois University Carbondale has long been known for its beautiful campus and its commitment to nurturing forested area and incorporating educational components recently earned national recognition.’    SIU News

‘SIU is the first university in the state to earn Level II Arboretum Accreditation from the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and SIU in now featured in the Morton Register of Arboreta.  This is the only global initiative that officially recognizes arboreta for development, capacity and professionalism.’    SIU News

As the years role by I have focused more on what matters…what is enduring?  I think that we are, perhaps, renters, of the glories of our planet and its magnificent bounty. I have found Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale to be a peaceful oasis in a world of disruption.  In the majesty of Little Egypt there is a way station that all are welcome at.  Whatever your nationality or religion…or no religion…you are welcome to drink of the fount of knowledge and to enjoy the unparalleled wonders of nature!

IMG_2173 2There is an ethereal quality to the SIUC campus that calms the emotions and focuses the mind and spirit.  Many who have traveled to Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale…have chosen to never leave…it is difficult to leave Nirvana!

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Autumn Mysteries III

An alternate reality mystery!

The Jazz Man

So, the weirdness of looking like Frankenstein and the Creature from the Black Lagoon…subsided…some!  Our classmates still wanted to have their pictures taken with us…especially Polaroids!  Our moms and dads did not seem to notice or care, as Carl’s dad, Carol, said…it is just a phase that they are going through.  And we got free movie tickets…every Friday night…to the Orpheum Theatre to see the weekly horror movie!


It was a bit more challenging taking a bath, as the poor kids in El Dorado did not have a shower, and the masks felt like real skin!  Billy B. and Carl both wondered if they were dreaming or if they had taken a side road into the Twilight Zone.

Carl’s dog, Tramp, did not like the the Frankenstein visage and repeatedly barked at Carl when he was home.  Billy B. was a bit of a comedian by nature and attempted to…

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‘Sleepwalking, also know as somnambulism or noctambulism, is a phenomenon of combined sleep and wakefulness.  It is classified as a sleep disorder belonging to the parsomnia family.’    Wikipedia


‘Although sleepwalking cases generally consist of simple, repeated behaviors, there are occasionally reports of people performing complex behaviors while asleep, although their legitimacy is often disputed.’    Wikipedia


Have you ever driven an often utilized route only to discover that you can not recall if you have been through a town on the route?  This often happened to me when I was working the second or third shift at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale.  There is a little town called DeSoto that was almost exactly in the middle between my home in Elkville and my work destination of Carbondale.  Many times I would have to peer through the headlights on my way home to identify a landmark to ascertain where on the well driven route…that I was!


Many times we want to accomplish more or something that seems a little bit scary or daunting or we wonder if we are equipped for the challenge.  In reality life is all about challenges!  Rather than say let, Joe or Pete or Sally of Ann…do it….why not say, ‘here I am Lord…send me?’

When I travel I receive numerous inspirational ideas and motivational thoughts!  At times we have to shake up our routine a little.  The sameness of life has a somnambulant affect on us.  It is easy to get on the train track of work to home…and back again…with little time for vision beyond the survival of the week and the month and the year!


Disappointments that we experience have the tendency of shaping our world view.  We all to easily accept that if colleagues or family or, supposed friends, have criticized us we must return to the mediocrity of their flatline expectations and cooperate with others limited view of our potential!

I literally relish…and love…and feel humbled and honored to exceed the expectations that others have set for me!

man ripping finish line strap

Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU on Pexels.com

Is there someone in your life that you are not seeing?  Is there a colleague or a family member or a friend…or more…that you are not seeing…are you sleepwalking?

You may be surrounded by people that care about you…and you have not awakened?

high angle view of lying down on grass

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


Note: Sleepwalking photos are courtesy of Google search.

The Secret to Making Friends

Please enjoy a blog from Jonathon Brooks!


A great thing to become is a good friend. People want loyal, or good, friends. We want others to accept and love us just as we are. We want others to laugh and share joy with. If we are in a mental institution or a prison we want our friends to show up and be there for us. If we are depressed we want somebody who’ll stick by our side or offer an encouraging word. If we are drowning we need a brave soul to jump ship and save our helpless selves. People need one another; people need loyal friends.

Do we know how to be a loyal friend? Is it better to be a good friend or to have another be a good friend to us? There is truly so little I have control over in this world. I do not have the skills to make anyone be my…

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