Sammy and Jenny at the Eighth Grade Dance

Another Awesome Jonathon Brooks Blog, Enjoy!

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I invite you to read my latest flash fiction story.

Life is supposed to be lived with all or nothing courage. I kept this thought close to my heart when I walked up to Jenny at the dance. Sammy, play it cool. Play it cool, Sammy. This thought raced through my mind at a million miles per hour. It might’ve even been one billion miles an hour.

And there was Jenny in her beauty without a cup of punch. I wondered if she was a blue punch sort of lady or a red punch gal. I decided to ask her. “Jenny, what kind of lady are you?”

“Excuse me?” she said as her face turned the color of one of the punch options.

“Are you a blue punch lady or a red punch lady? I’d like to bring you a cup of punch, but I did not know whether you…

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A Christmas Miracle!

Santa Is Real!

The Jazz Man

Billy Bump was excited!  It was Friday after Thanksgiving and it was time to do all things Christmas!  Billy and his mom had just moved to West Street in El Dorado.

Times had been somewhat hard, financially, for Jane and Billy.  They were renting from Jane’s sister, Gertrude, and she was a good landlord!  Gertrude would often stop by with soda pop and some garden vegetables.  Billy enjoyed the pop and tolerated the veg!

However, Christmas was coming and all routine worries and cares melted away in the face of a visit from Santa Claus!  Now, Billy was a fan of Santa since his days in Chicago.  His mom and dad, before they moved and divorced, had given him a Laughing Santa for one of his first Christmases!  Billy loved Laughing Santa and when he came out of Christmas storage…everything was right again!

Laughing Santa had was about a foot…

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Six Months Until Christmas Eve!

Does it seem to you that Christmas Eve was a week or two ago?  Or at least not more that a month back?

We were talking about a trip to Maine during the last of May and the first of June…and now we have been and are looking forward to returning!

IMG_5044Little Wallace was with us and now he is gone!

IMG_4942And, so, 2019 scurries by…and waits for no one!

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I often wonder if time, as we understand it, is an illusion?  In our reality we are ruled by the clock and the calendar.  The hourglass is running!

Einstein believed that time was the fourth dimension.  He postulated that time was an illusion and that, in theory, time travel was possible.

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Regardless we live within the construct of time and it is imperative that we make the most of each day that is given to us.  Whether it be Christmas Eve or a trip to Maine or a loved one who needs to hear from us that we care!

This life is a bit like a rollercoaster or a fast moving locomotive, the European kind, and it does not pay to take your eye off of what is important to you…for to long.

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Babysitting…

Another fiction story from thejazzmanblog.home.blog

The Jazz Man

Billy Bump enjoyed Babysitting!  Now, he did not babysit…but he enjoyed being babysat by his cousin Linda!

Linda was Harry Hayes sister…and Billy’s favorite!  If the truth was revealed…he had a little crush on her!

Linda usually babysat Billy on Friday nights.  This was the night that Billy’s mom, Jane, liked to honky tonk!  Billy thought that honky tonk was a very unusual term for dancing and drinking slow gin fizzes…but it was a common vernacular in Billy’s day.

Billy and Linda and, often, Carl, would watch the Friday night Science Fiction Theatre.  It ran everything from the movies, This Island Earth, to the, Mole Men, and It Came From Outer Space.  Also, every other week it had horror movies such as, Dracula, and Frankenstein, and the, Curse of the Mummy, with Boris Karloff.

Dracula was one of Billy and Carl’s favorites and Billy had purchased a model of Dracula…

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Who Needs Jesus?

This morning in church, Pastor Kerry, preached to us about the demon possessed man that Jesus ministered to in the New Testament.

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‘When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him.  He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?  In God’s name don’t torture me!’  For Jesus had said to him, Come out of this man, you impure spirit!’

‘Then Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’

‘My name is legion,’  he replied, ‘for we are many.’  And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.’

‘A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside.  The demons begged Jesus, ‘Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.’  He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs.  The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.’    Mark 5: 6-11    NIV

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As Pastor Kerry went on to explain, whether you believe in demons or not…the people of Jesus time did.

Today we are surrounded with the homeless and the hungry and the forgotten of society.  They sit outside our restaurants and hotels and upscale businesses…and they seek a few coins for bread and substance to live another day.

The Gadarene man was certainly shunned by those who passed him by!  I can see him sitting on the ground and uttering bizarre epithets as the middle class and wealthy of his town passed him by.  He no doubt cursed and spit and stunk with the odor of not washing and the outlook of a brain on fire!

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Jesus did not pass him by!  The man was naked and he lived in the tombs…according to the scripture.

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A homeless woman attended our church for quite some time.  I talked with her, from time to time, and during one of our conversations she asked me if I was a rabbi?  When replied that I was not she then inquired if I was a minister…and I answered no.

I saw her outside one of our local supermarkets and she was bending over to pick up something that she had dropped.  When she looked at me…I said, ‘hi how are you?’

The lady responded, ‘F— You,’ and I proceeded on my way.  Now did I think that this lady that I had attended church with for a few years had suddenly decided to hate me…no I did not.  I considered that I would not want to fight the battles that she was engaged in!

I believe that humanity is all connected.  We are members of the same family!  It is a bit like the comic of the four people in a row boat and the two in the front of the boat rejoicing that the hole in the boat is in the back!

Each of us lives our short lives in different states of economic and societal status.  So often we do not comprehend the suffering that caused members of our family to be homeless and suffering and looking up with a pleading stare…for Jesus to pass by our way!

‘I Must Tell Jesus’    Crystal Lewis

‘I must tell Jesus’

‘I must tell Jesus’

‘I cannot bear these burdens alone’

‘I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus’

‘In my distress he kindly will help me.’

‘He ever loves and cares for his own’

And, so, perhaps the first face that I will see when death shuts my earthly eyes will be that homeless woman…welcoming me and asking to show me around!

 

 

Note: Photos of the Gadarene man and Jesus are courtesy of Google.

Marionettes!

Please follow thejazzmanblog.home.blog if you want to continue to follow the adventures of Billy Bump!

The Jazz Man

It was a stormy day in Sauk Village!  Billy Bump had not slept well though the night.  He had watched his favorite television show, The Twilight Zone, and had experienced a nightmare based on the scary episode.  The thirty minute program was titled, The Ventriloquist, and it’s theme stuck with him!

The, Ventriloquist, was about a ventriloquist and his dummy being extraordinarily successful in their Las Vegas programs.  The key to their success was the total immersive experience of listening to the ventriloquist ask the dummy, sitting on his knee with his wooden legs and feet lifeless on the lap of his master, questions and the wooden figure… appearing to speak extemporaneously without aid from his human counterpart!

As the show progressed it was increasingly apparent that the puppet was the boss and the human was the servant!  A chilling scene at the end of episode was the dummy asking…

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Future Author of the Year

Please enjoy a great Jonathon Brooks short story!

jonathonbrooks

I invite you to enjoy this flash fiction story of mine.

The boy received an old typewriter in honor of his twelfth birthday. He thought it to be the coolest present in the entire universe! This epic gift was from the 1940’s. Young Charles knew his older brother would have green jealous eyes and Charles did not give a hoot or a holler. Older brother could have his green envy monster and he would have his glorious typing machine from 46.

So the young author began plotting his first short story draft. There might be aliens or dinosaurs or or spacemen or space ladies or a mysterious volcano erupting in his home town. The possibilities were infinite! No one could stop the boy from pressing the keys and pressing on. The typewriter was a dream come true for Charles.

Young Charles had boyhood thoughts in his dreams and on his…

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Harry Loved Frankenstein!

Another entry from the Jazzman!

The Jazz Man

Harry Hayes had never seen a monster that he did not like! He was Billy’s cousin and several years older than him. His avocation and calling was to research the science fiction and monster movies of the 1950’s and the 60’s.

Harry had several magazines that were devoted to the horror movies of the day. He could speak extemporaneously regarding the make up and prosthetics that the actors used in various movies, such as; Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Creature From the Black Lagoon. He began collecting Monster Masks. Or rather…Monster Masks and Monster Hands! They aligned the walls of his bedroom and some cost upwards of $100 or more.

Harry modeled these, semi-profesional masks for Billy Bump and his buddy, Carl. Carl thought that they were fascinating and began, regularly, asking Billy when they could go over to Harry’s house to look at his masks?

Now, Billy considered the masks…

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A Trip To The Fair!

Another Billy Bump adventure on thejazzmanblog.home.blog

The Jazz Man

Finally the long awaited summer holiday from school had arrived! Billy had been wiling away the hours at three primary haunts; the Orpheum theatre, Pounds Hollow swimming hole, or the Pool Hall.

Billy also enjoyed visiting his buddy Carl and playing cowboys with Carl’s Daniel Boone action figure and, the new army action figure, G.I. Joe. Although Billy thought that the Daniel Boone figure was the coolest…Carl insisted on playing with the image of the television actor, Fess Parker, exclusively.

During that summer Billy’s mom’s friend, Francis, asked her if Billy could spend some time with her son Johnny and travel to Clarksville, Tennessee with them for an overnight stay. Johnny was an only child, as was Billy, and Francis was a single mother. Rumor had it that for a price Francis would be a gentleman’s friend for a night…when he was lonely and needed company. These thoughts were a…

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Good Management Requires Hard Discussions!

‘Management By Walking Around,’ was popular in the 1980’s.  I became a manager of a large housekeeping department in the 80’s.  The bedrock principle of the theory was that the, ‘best supervision takes place where the work is being done.’

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I set my cap to talk with and bond with everyone that was in my department, which had over 400 people at that time!

My staff was a group of nine foreman, who each managed five or more Sub-Foreman and their custodial crews which were made up of Building Service Worker I’s and student custodial staff.  We were responsible for the cleaning of almost 200 university buildings which included two satellite areas.

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I was amazed at the openess of the people that I spoke with!  I did not have the feeling that they were speaking to me with a hidden agenda or that they were misleading me.  I had worked alongside of many of them, just a few months before!

During my discussions, that were unhurried and substantive, I discovered a plethora  of oversights that management had failed to address!  Some were easily fixed and some were major policy change needs!

I had staff tell me that it appeared that I and the Superintendent, I was the assistant superintendent, were hell bent on assuring that the department was contracted out! I had others tell me of illness in their family…and chronic illnesses that they were battling.  Others told me that, at times, they became so stressed that they had considered suicide!

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Our student staff told me of their experiences at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale…and how that their custodial crew colleagues were some of the first, or perhaps only, representatives of the university that had shown an interest in them.  Our international students, of which we had many, told me of their home and their culture and the loneliness that they felt…so far away from home!

I discovered that some of our Sub-Foreman had been incorrect in the management of their student staff and that some had terminated them…without cause!  I discovered that my perspective was, vastly, different than some of my Foreman regarding certain individuals and that bias had clouded their managerial judgement.

As I spoke with my, precious, colleagues…I found that the majority of them lived and died for their SIU job!  They loved the students of our campus…they loved the faculty and staff…and they loved and treated the buildings that they were responsible for like their own home!

My friends and colleagues did not want to see me every day…but they appreciated that I was not only available to everyone of them…but that I would hear their concerns and act upon issues that needed to be addressed!

I have come away from many meetings with my tail between my legs and wondering how I could have been so inept as to not have known what was going on with a trusted technician that was being bullied or abused or teated shabbily!

A member of the university community berated me for nearly an hour as to the poor management style that I had and a basket full of concerns that she had regarding the cleanliness of her building.  She ended the conversation by extolling me that, ‘I could be better!’

I told the irate customer that I agreed with her and that I was going to hang up the phone and proceed to work on the project that she suggested.

Support of my mangers did not equal, no matter what wrong that they had perpetrated on their staff, was alright with me, but it mean’t unwavering support as long as they were seeking the two goals of my management doctrine…always treat you colleagues with respect and dignity….and produce clean university buildings!

Many managers and administrators and supervisors are in a hurry to ‘lower the boom’ on their transgressing staff.  My motto was that if we err let us err on the side of mercy!