Monthly Archives: February, 2021

A Light Bulb Victory — The Jazz Man

It is very slick outside. Everything is covered with a sheet of ice. Our Black Lab slipped and slides across the front yard looking for a proper place for a morning constitutional. Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale has closed for the day due to the inclement weather. This is something that rarely occurs. Since I […]

A Light Bulb Victory — The Jazz Man

A Hard Road to Travel

Please enjoy a wonderful blog from Jonathon Brooks.


For many years I have sought after light. I need light to guide and to save me. I need it to chase away the darkness. Light is necessary for love to enter my soul. I’ve read both of the testaments the Holy Bible has to offer. There’s much talk of darkness and light contained in its pages. The struggle for me to behave and become a child of the light has been an epic battle.

When I think of heaven I imagine a country of light where all my sins and all of my sorrows are no more. I imagine no more bipolar disorder and no more mistakes that are deadly to my heart and soul. It can be difficult to travel the Christian’s path. A great hope of mine is that I am heading in the right direction.

What are some aspects of life that defy the darkness? When…

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Seeking the New Path

Life changes. It is changing all around us and we often are oblivious to the disruption. Have you ever observed an old man flirting with a young woman? His life has changed and he is not aware of the alteration that is obvious to everyone who is watching his sophomoric antics! We grow older without effort…we do not grow wiser without concerted effort… When I left Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale over 10 years ago…I knew that the University would change…I just did not realize how much. A decade is a long period of time in a human life. While physical changes are transpiring daily and cultural norms are morphing into something new…we often stay rooted in what we learned 40 years ago. Change is hard! When we embrace change we depart our comfort zone. We admit that although we are old…we do not know it all. In fact in the long history of humanity our knowledge and understating is but a blip on the radar of time.

I have always been fascinated by paths and roads and train tracks and, as the great poet Robert Frost wrote, ‘The path less traveled.’ ‘Two roads diverged in a wood and I – took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.’ Robert Frost

So, we are all seeking our new path for our new normal. Perhaps you have not been walking for your health like you did 20 years ago…why not take the new/old path? Could it be that you used to rely on the help of your friends and neighbors…why not humble yourself again and receive the love of those who are concerned about your health and welfare?

As we seek the path that is most appropriate of us at the stage of life that we are currently occupying…we must be willing to change and alter our lifestyle to accommodate God’s will for the stage of life that we are in. Perhaps we need to walk or exercise more for our optimal life? It could be that we need to be less judgmental and more accepting of others that are different than we are? The path may begin as a winter path…and transform to a spring path as we follow the turns and twists and valleys and hills of our journey…

Our path changes and sometimes we are not aware of the change. Sometimes we are walking the path and we encounter brambles and thorns and steep ruts and holes that you could hide a car in…and we do not realize what has gone wrong. We need to have ears for the still small voice of the turtle dove and whisper in the wind. We need to listen to those who like us…simply for us and not for our money or what we can do for them. We need to seek the path that the deer frequent and the squirrels and the cardinal and the blue jay. The path that is sought by God’s beautiful creation…

Ice Storm

The sleet is falling heavily and steadily. It is 25 degrees and it feels like 16 degrees. Driving is treacherous. Southern Illinois has decided to experience some winter…which does not always happen in our Global Warming climate. Needless to say my 10 thousand steps…today… will be taken in what I call the House Walk. I thoroughly like the House Walk as I enter rooms that I seldom visit. I see art and statues that I almost forgot that we had. It is a bit like a new world. Although I believe that all of us have become more acquainted with our homes over the past year. One of my Facebook friend’s birthday is today. When I wished her a happy birthday she mentioned, ‘What a wild year the past ride has been!’ I could not agree more. The past year has given us a new normal. Our thought patterns have changed in an attempt to adjust to the fear and restrictions of our 2020/2021 Pandemic. Each sworay into the fellowship of other human beings is a calculated risk.

I had the nicest visit with my Doctor, Jeff Parks, yesterday. He and I attended the same church in the 1990’s. He recounted to me some history that he had read that illustrated the similarities with our present condition and what was happening in 1917. We laughed heartily regarding the circle of history and our participation in it. We spoke by video conference…that I truly like. During our Pandemic…the video visit to a physician is a wonderful safety precaution.

An ice storm is a restrictive affair. Such has been our lives over the past year. Rachel Marie Martin said, ‘Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought it would be like and learn to find joy in the story you are actually living.’

We can become so enthralled with what our political leaders are doing that we forget to focus on our real and actual needs. Presidents and Senators and Congressmen/Congresswomen focus on the big picture while it is up to each of us to emerse ourselves in the vocation of living our lives to their fullest. A terrible Ice Storm has engulfed us and captivated our attention and changed our direction. Perhaps we will be able to enjoy the beauty of the winter landscape while thinking outside the box of our past life construct and seeing to expand our horizons for our new future…

Walking For Good Health

I have been walking for improved health for over 40 years. I never played basketball or football or baseball…but I am a natural walker. Thus ensues my daily walk on the campus of Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale. Both on the campus proper and in campus woods…I am a regular. One of my 3 primary goals at the outset of my retirement from SIUC was to; walk, write, and read. Walking was number 1. Of late, the last 3 or 4 years, I have been happy with 3 or 4 thousand steps per day. I have stepped up my game! I am seeking to hit the recognized step goal of 10 thousand steps per day. It takes some time to walk 10 thousand steps in a day…but the benefits are many for the effort.

Priorities are the measure of a day well spent. Our bodies are machines of flesh and blood and bone. We were designed for movement…we were not manufactured to be sedentary. Walking reduces stress and is good for cognition. Walking reduces high blood pressure and aids in weight loss. Walking is considered the best medicine possible for Venus Reflux/Venus Insufficiency. Walking aids in a good nights sleep. Walking improves your attitude and sense of well being.

Many of my ideas for up-coming blogs that I am planning on writing occur while I am walking. In fact walking is so much a part of my daily routine I feel incomplete and somewhat let down when I am unable to engage in my favorite activity. I wonder if we would all walk 10 thousand steps a day if we would be so angry with each other and seek to argue and feud and fight? Steady movement is a great leveler of emotions. Joining the much enjoyable activity of walking with the splendor of nature…is a wining combination. After I have had the opportunity to spend quality time with the blue sky and ancient trees…along with the peaceful rhythms of a flock of geese and the earnest stares of foraging deer…I am happy to be alive!

We live in a society that seeks a pill for each of our aliments. Our television commercials are full of advertisements for a pharmaceutical for each and every one of our problems. We live in front of our screens. One in three Americans are obese. We often feel depressed and hopeless and afraid of what life has in store for us…and we take another pill…for a Balm of Gilead for our sick bodies and our sad souls… Fresh air and moderate consistent exercise is often the answer to our improved quality of life…and our enlightened outlook on the horizon that is before us.

Snow and Ice for Little Egypt — The Jazz Man

MJ and I have been back to Subaru in Marion, Illinois. We purchased a Forester before Christmas and we needed a refresher course on the plethora of buttons and screens The vehicle is dominated by computer technology. A few days ago we noticed that it seemed to pull from time to time and determined that […]

Snow and Ice for Little Egypt — The Jazz Man

Cry Room

Billy Bump slept in this morning. After all it was Sunday or the third day of the weekend. Now when I say Sunday is the third day of the weekend…any apple pie fed and blue jean wearing boy or girl knows that the most important day of the weekend is Friday. Friday night is the opening wide of the door of opportunity for the luxurious time off from school and it is the beginning of adventures in Eldorado! Billy and Chet were going to begin the evening playing pool on Billy’s miniature pool table that he had received as a Christmas present. Then, they were going to the Orpheum Theatre and watch Planet of the Apes…with Charlton Heston playing the lead role. It was 1968 and they were both eleven years old…and ready for whatever the world brought their way.

Billy’s stepfather, Demetrius, was going to take them to the movie in his latest Ford Falcon car. Now E.D…as Demetrius liked to be referred to…was a Ford Falcon aficionado. He currently had six of them in different states of repair or disrepair. E.D. worked on his Falcons each night. There were Falcons in the garage and in the driveway and a couple in the back yard. He also enjoyed Ford Fairlanes…which were a bit more luxurious than the Falcon. When E.D. was behind the wheel of one of his Falcon collection…he was in his glory!

Parker called Billy and said that she would like to join he and Chet at the Theatre. She said that she would meet them there. So when they pulled up…there was Parker smiling at them from the lobby with a Coca Cola in her hand. Soon they were in the darkened theatre and wondering what awaited them… Suddenly, Lou the Orpheum owner, asked the three intrepid eleven year olds to come to the lobby as he needed their help. When they entered the harsh fluorescent light of the lobby…Lou told them that Wanda, the ticket lady and also his wife, had gone into the Cry Room…and not returned. He wanted them to check the Cry Room and see what was keeping Wanda…as there were still tickets to collect. When they got to the Cry Room the door was ajar and there was a small nightlight in the corner of the room that had a red bulb in it. However there was no Wanda to be seen… When Billy and Parker and Chet exited the Cry Room they noticed that the Orpheum looked brighter and newer. Lou was nowhere to be found…but a man saying that he was Lou’s father was in his place. When they mentioned that they could not find Wanda…Lou’s father asked who that was. Parker told him that Lou had asked them to find his wife….and Lou’d dad explained that Lou was still in junior high…

Chet began to explain to his friends what had happened. ‘We have travelled through a Black Hole and gone backwards in time for 20 years. Instead of it being 1968 we are in 1948,’ said Chet. Billy B. said that with this fortuitous turn of events…they should explore the Eldorado of old! With that they left the Orpheum and observed the booming and bustling coal mining town of Eldorado. The first oddity that they noticed was that on almost every town street was another movie theatre. There was a Plymouth Deluxe and behind it a Tucker Torpedo…which was one of only 51 manufactured between 1948 – 1949…according to Chet. The town square was full of stores of all manner and type. There were churches on every corner…there was the First Presbyterian and the Methodist and the Church of God and the Gospel Assembly…and all boasted large memberships. But…they had yet to find Wanda the Ticket Taker…

As the 11 year old trio returned to the Orpheum there was Wanda standing in front under the marquee. Julias Cesar was advertised on the marquee and Charlton Heston was in the movie. Wanda told Parker that she was disorientated as she had entered… her husband’s and her theatre and been met by her father-in-law that had been dead for several years. He did not recognize her and told her that his son, Lou, was at home studying for his algebra exam on Monday. She mentioned that she was with him in 1948 and that she remembered studying with Lou at his house…and that they had experienced their first kiss during that study session. Billy B. said that they should go back to the Cry Room and see if they could return to 1968…and the Planet of the Apes with Charlton Heston. So they did…and when they came out…it was 1968…once again. There was Lou…and he was overjoyed at the trio finding his lost wife in the Cry Room! And…there was the Tucker Torpedo…parked in front of the Orpheum…brand new and worth a lot of money…

I Am From The Past

Jonathan and I enjoy visiting a new store in our town called Electric Larry’s. I have found a Horn of Plenty of memorabilia that scratches me where I itch. For many years I have enjoyed visiting Antique Stores. When I was a young person I thought that they were a waist of time and who would want the junk that they had to offer. Now I think that the ‘junk’ that I was referring to is…great treasure! I find that the older that I become…the more I reminisce on the the past. Items that have age and provenance…our sought by my old eyes.

Today I purchased a Junior High Lunch Box from 1957…the year that I was born. I am amazed at how far I have to scroll backwards on forms that I am filing out on-line…to reach the year of my birth. When I mention former President Nixon and the Watergate debacle…many of my younger friends eyes gloss over. The resignation of the President of the United States was a dramatic event in the early 1970’s! I remember when I was a child that I could not recall if I had been born in 1957 or 1958…as the concept of the 1950’s was obscure to me. Now I wear the year of my birth as a badge of honor.

Last week I bought a pair of mini-binoculars from Electric Larry that are from the 1940’s. They appear to be the type that people at either the racetrack or opera would use for their visual acuity. There is a theory in quantum physics that all time is occurring concurrently. This would mean that the past and present and future are part of a tableau that is already formed. The famous film critic, Roger Ebert, was said to have uttered, shortly before his death, that the life that he had experienced was, ‘This is all an elaborate hoax,’ Mr. Ebert wrote this note as he experienced a deathbed vision.

Aaron and I watched a new documentary, ‘A Glitch In the Matrix,’ yesterday and found it fascinating. It seems the there are many people that believe that we are living in a computer simulation and that much of what we experience and many of the people that we encounter are not real. You may think that this is just science fiction…but there are many quantum physicist that believe that this hypothesis could be possible. This number includes some recognized scientist. The movie focused on the writings of the well know science fiction author, Phillip K. Dick, and the study of De Ja Vu experiences. It seems that there are thousand of people that remember Nelson Mandela dying in prison rather than being released. This would represent a glitch in the matrix.

I enjoy thinking about my school days much more than I enjoyed experiencing them…or at least it seems so… As I contemplate the early days of my christian walk…I am encouraged that I have learned more than I have forgotten. I believe more in the efficacy of Christ’s teaching and his empathy for all humanity than I did when I first began. In my early days I wondered if my low position on the economic scale reflected on my poor service as a follower of Christ. Now that I have some economic stability and have not had to worry about where my next meal was coming from…I know that the ministry of Jesus was to the poor and marginalized and forgotten of society.

Winter Children

Yesterday was a lovely day for walking the campus and around campus lake. The sereen mission and purpose of a flock of ducks on the lake was something to behold. The rhythm of our natural surroundings is a lesson for life. Who of us has not sought to live in the warm rays of our summer sun…when it is winter? We senior citizens miss the hustle and bustle of our youth and the endless hours that we could work or play…without needing more than a few hours sleep and then we were ready to do it again. I recall with great affection the countless days that mom and I and my buddy Jackie and my cousin Brenda spent at Pounds Hollow…swimming and eating a picnic lunch and wiling away the hours with the sure knowledge that tomorrow we would return for more summer adventures…

Nature follows it’s flawless time clock without deviation…unless we humans disrupt the timepiece. In winter all plants appear to die…but in the spring…they resurrect. Winter is a time of reflection and solitude and quiet. Spring is the dawning of life and blossoms and leaves and green grass. If we only experienced winter…we would be of all women/men most miserable… Winter is cold and dark and forbidding and difficult to experience on a sustained level. Exposure to winter is harsh and a ready reason to seek shelter from the brutal elements of the earth in the season of slumber. We have little sunlight…we have little brightness or hope for tomorrow…until we remember that spring is coming.

‘Life is not so much about beginnings and endings, as it is about going on…It’s about muddling through the middle.’ Anna Quindlen

Indeed life is about staying home and taking care of the stuff… We do not hear the peel of the trumpets everyday. No one takes our hand and says, let us storm the battlements and feed the hungry and clothe the naked and house the homeless…but instead the regular drip…drip…drip…or regular life and it’s boring sameness and repetition and watching our clocks to ascertain when change is going to begin. The reality is that we are the change that we are waiting for. We are the vision for a new day of peace and love and unity among our brothers and sisters. We are the Winter Children….preparing for the spring…

Mortal — The Jazz Man

The chilly rain is following and the wind is gusting in Little Egypt. I attempted to walk campus today…but the persistent rain and wind dissuaded me. I have taken to house walking during inclement weather. I rather like it! During my younger years house walking would have been difficult in our four room home in […]

Mortal — The Jazz Man