Author Archive: bjaybrooks

Majestic Maine!

We have returned from another Maine adventure!

IMG_5041After landing at Portland we drove our, Ford Fusion, rental to the Ocean Point Inn and Resorts at about 9:00 pm.  As we passed a little, ocean front cabin called Seaward, Mary Jane announced that it was the cabin that we would be staying in for the week.

The main offices for the Resort were just a few steps away from our cabin and we checked in and purchased some Whoopi Pies, a Maine desert delicacy, and some Blueberry soda.

IMG_5044There is a different tempo to life in Maine!  Mainers are laid back and welcoming of guests.  The breakfast, that was included in the price of the lodgings had the most wonderful Scotch Eggs and crisp bacon accompanied by hash brown potatoes that were to die for!

IMG_5255 3We visited several little towns during our stay including; Bath, Camden, Freeport which is the home of the renowned clothier, L.L. Bean and their signature store.

As we were pursuing the art galleries and speciality stores in Bath we encountered the, ‘Town Cryer,’ who had the most distinct Maine accent that I have ever heard!  He had been given some placards of notice to distribute to the businesses throughout the community and when the owner of the gallery that we met him in, asked if she could have both the large placard as well as the small one…he unhesitatingly announced that she could not as he had been instructed to only leave one per business establishment!

IMG_5073There was a, relatively, new Brewery in Bath…and we decided that we must sample it’s product! The nicest waitress served us and I swear that she admired the, younger, Brooks men!

In Camden we enjoyed a delicious seafood meal on the dock adjoining the restaurant that we were eating.  I had the most wonderful fried oysters, as did Aaron, while Mary Jane relished the fried clams!

IMG_5121IMG_5139IMG_5141As we were enjoying our wonderful seafood, an oarsman passed by and loudly announced that he was late to lunch and he must hurry!

IMG_5138I have often considering relocating to Maine…if it was not for the bitter winters!  When I asked a art gallery owner how the winters were in Maine, as she was a transplant from central Illinois forty years ago…she said that twenty years ago it was nothing unusual for Bath to receive two feet of snow that lingered throughout the winter and for them to have at least a couple of weeks with temperatures below zero.

IMG_5078The captivating allure of Maine has a siren song that keeps drawing me back!

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Double Indemnity

Today’s chapter in the adventures’ of Billy Bump!

The Jazz Man

Carl had been Billy’s friend since the first day of first grade. He was happy when he discovered that another student in the class had the same last name. Carl had been adopted and it was comforting to him to meet a Bump that was his age.

Carl’s dad was a brick mason and a dark brown, from the sun, and swarthy man. He was a kind man who loved Carl and was happy that he had found a friend.

Velma, Carl’s mom, dotted on her son. She bought him a guitar and he was learning to play it from a Chet Atkins guitar tutorial. Carl was getting proficient in guitar!

Mrs. Bump enjoyed, what in that day, were called soap operas. She referred to them as, ‘her stories.’ Mrs. Bump never missed her stories!

The other Bumps, Carl and Carol and Velma, attended the Social Brethren Church in Paris…

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Maine in May

Please enjoy a great Blog by Jonathon Brooks!

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My family and I had an excellent adventure to Boothbay, Maine recently. Maine has a different vibe than Southern Illinois. The temperature was in the high fifties. There were lighthouses and unique looking homes that don’t look the houses around Carbondale. The lobster dishes were highly amazing. And the cottage the four of us stayed at reminded me of the home I grew up in in Elkville, Illinois.

I thoroughly enjoyed the small towns and their cool art galleries and shops. Truly, I believe I stopped in all of the one-of-a-kind book shops. I got some great deals on new reading material.

Local beer was another thing the four of us delighted in. In Bath, Maine we stopped in at the Bath Brewery and toasted our mugs together as the friendly server snapped our picture. The photo is worth well over a thousand words.

I am a traveler and I…

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Harley Davidson…Lite

Another Billy Bump adventure from: thejazzmanblog.home.blog

The Jazz Man

Billy Bump’ stepfather asked him to come out to the garage to see what he had purchased for him. When he opened the large wooden door of the, stepdad hideout, he discovered a twenty inch bicycle with large knobby tires and a middle that was made to appear like a motorcycle, and painted accordingly.

Billy had grown a lot in fifth grade, but he still thought that the motorcycle bicycle was very cool! When Demetrius told him to take it for a spin, he happily complied.

Now the gravel road that ran in front of Billy’s house had large gravel. The wide and pronounced tires bumped and and the handlebars shook and, in fact the entire means of conveyance was difficult to keep on track. Between the bumping and swerving that was caused by the combination of the tires and the muscular gravel and the fact that Billy’s legs were…

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Moo and Cackle

Here is another: thejazzmanblog.home.blog short story! I invite you to click the follow button if you want to experience more adventures!

The Jazz Man

Finally summer had arrived. School was out and Billy Bump was extremely pleased! School was not his passion and after Christmas and the subsequent return to academia in January…it was all uphill until May.

But, summer meant swimming at Pounds Hollow Pond! Billy’s mom, Jane, loved to swim and she throughly enjoyed taking Billy and his friends to the Pond which was about a twenty mile drive.

Jane had a 1957 Chevy convertible and she gripped the steering wheel at 10 and 2…tightly! You see, Jane had not learned to drive until she was well into her 30’s, and one time she turned onto a one way street in Evansville, Indiana…and Billy screamed, ‘mom you are going to get us killed!’

When they arrived at Pounds Hollow, accompanied by Billy’s friend Carl, they proceeded down the wide and uneven stone steps that seemed to go on forever.

There were cookout…

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Bliss

Another offering from; thejazzmanblog.home.blog…please click follow if you want to see what else the jazzman has in store!

The Jazz Man

William J. Bump was a precocious child. Although he was only seven years old, he believed that he was on the level of any of the adults that he knew. He preferred the company of those that were significantly older than he and he had often been told that he had an old soul…in a young body!

Billy Bump loved movies! Nothing pleased him more than to attend both the Orpheum Theatre’s, new, Friday night offering, that also played for the Saturday matinee and Saturday night. Billy would then return to the sanctuary of the only church that he knew of, the Orpheum, for the Sunday matinee.

It was somewhat difficult to explain, although Billy prided himself on his communication skills, what emotional excitement that he received as he watched, not only the Dracula movies of the day, with Cristopher Lee as the evil vampire, as well as the, ‘Absent…

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Maine

Please enjoy my new blog: thejazzmanblog.home.blog

The Jazz Man

We visited Ocean Point, Maine this past week…and we are forever changed!

Our last visit was in 2010, and that was a stay at the Crown Point Inn at Southwest Harbor…where the Stephen King Movie, ‘The storm of the Century,’ was filmed.

I have enjoyed a fascinating journey from fundamentalist christianity, in my youth, to an inclusive christianity that believes that God loves all humanity.

Aaron on the rocks!

Jazz has been my favorite music since the late 1990’s. We visited Portland, Oregon and I was taken away with the spontaneity of Jazz and it’s subsequent creativity!

Maine has a way of making me think big! It causes me to consider how I might reach out to help my fellow travelers!

I have loved Jazz music since the late 1990’s for it’s spontaneity and creativity! Many inspirations come in the moment and are similar to the musical inspiration of Jazz!

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The Jazz Man

Please check my new site, at: thejazzmanblog.home.blog

We visited Maine this past week and during that time I was inspired to begin a new blog titled; the jazzman.

Maine is inspirational to me.  Our visit was the third that we have made and I felt that it was time to create a new blog that was, solely, dedicated to fictional writing, that is loosely based on my life experiences…at times, and with the goal of expanding love and understanding rather than hate and name calling!

IMG_5259 2I know that all of we humans are connected and that each of us are important to the other’s success!

I watched several millennials and other young people, during our vacation, and I observed that they are living in their own heads!  Between their I Phones and their I Pads and their laptop computers….other humans are little more than a nuisance!

Maine takes you back to the fundamentals of life!

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I, attentively, listened to two young women speak to each other on the two hour flight from Washington D.C. to St. Louis and I was struck by their disconnect from their fellow human beings.

They, apparently, were both project managers and they spoke of their ability to deliver programs for companies, that they hid from the rank and file until the last minute.  They noted that, ‘people did not want to get rid of their babies for their superior plan,’ and that it was important to not reveal their ‘purpose’ until the last minute!

As we flew over many flooded areas in St. Louis they speculated as to where the boat  docks and the boats were…and one of them mused as to whether there would be, ‘delivery to the door…Sushi…in St. Louis?’

Jazz is spontaneous and creative in the moment!  Jazz allows for a rewriting of the musical story…as it is being performed!  Jazz allows for a renaissance of thinking!

Please join me at: thejazzmanblog.home.blog,  for fictional writings that are loosely based on my life experiences…at times, and an exercise in the expansion of thought!

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‘Semper Fi’

‘What do Marines say in response to Semper Fi?

‘The answer to ‘Semper Fi’ is ‘Semper Fi.’  It means always faithful and saying it is expressing/exchanging your sentiment for the Corps.  Semper fidelis is a Latin phrase that means ‘always faithful’ or ‘always loyal.’  It is the motto of the United States Marine Corps usually shortened to Semper Fi.’    Wikipedia

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Mary Jane and I attended a memorial service for a wonderful man, that we attended church with for several years.  Although he suffered with Parkinson disease for the latter years of his life he was a stellar example of ‘never, never, never, give up!’

Tom had the brightest of smiles and a encouraging word for everyone that he met!  He was a gentleman and a man that you wanted to emulate!  He was a Marine!

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I have often pondered what it means to be always faithful.  Certainly as I get older I look around at my fellow Presbyterians and I see a lot of ‘always faithful!’

Our church is composed of, primarily, parishioners that are in there 60’s – 90’s.  I can not help but notice, when I feel a little tired or weary…or old…that many of my colleagues are several years older than me and they are working like young women and men!

I witnessed the same phenomena in Paris, when we visited in 2012, where when we left the flat that we were had rented, I saw men and women with canes and stooped over with age…walking to the market or the pharmacy or the park…with no idea of stopping or letting age or illness defeat them!

I wonder if we do not make ourself old before our time?

When I had the honor of speaking to Tom I was inspired by his veracity and his love for life!  I saw him serving coffee to his friends in our Fellowship Hall…with his shaking hands and his quavering walk…and I worried that he might fall…but Tom was not worried….because he refused to be defeated!

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I have often noted that many of the people, in our church, that agree to be Deacons…which is a busy and service oriented ministry…seem on the precipice of being physically unable to perform the duties of the office.  But they do it!  They do it with joy and with the life motto that Tom, the former Marine, lived his life by, Semper Fi!

 

Note: Photos of Marines are courtesy of Google.

Communication Is The Key To Understanding!

I have lost count of how many times that I have been involved in dispute resolution that involved the contrasting individuals, or groups, failing to simply communicate with each other.

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The lack of human to human communication has always been a problem but I believe that it is exacerbated by the convenience of email and social media.

Emails are short and to the point and often seem harsh…as they do not reveal the nuances of human speech.

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Social media has reduced important and heartfelt emotions…to emojis!

During my over 32 years at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale, I received numerous emails on a daily basis.  It was my practice to respond to every email that I received within a 24 hour period…and, if possible, the same day of the email.  Usually, I would telephone the writer of the email or go see them to ensure maximum communication between us!

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Most concerns that are raised by emails of phone calls can be solved, easily, through talking about the problem or brainstorming.  Those, little, problems,, that are not spoken about…turn into big problems!

We all crave respect!  We all desire to be understood…and in turn we will reciprocate by understanding!  Communication is the golden lubricant of life!

As superintendent of Building Services at SIUC I was pleased to speak with any and all who desired to speak with me.  I was honored that they wanted to talk with me!  This included all members of the university community from the president to the most recent student custodian that was hired.  When we communicated…I listened for truths that I did not understand or was not aware of!

I understood that we could always be better!  I knew that there were ideas that I needed…from the most unlikely sources!

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There were chancellors that I admired during my tenure at the university.  Jo Ann Argersinger was one of my favorites due to her willingness to listen to the ideas of civll service staff.  I have been witness to genuine willingness to communicate as well as the placating and condescending kind of faux listening that administrators portray for political expediency.

An openness to new and better ideas is the hallmark of a successful leader.  The cornerstone problem of the United States current state of affairs is a desire to return to the closed society of the 1950’s.  Our country is changing…the demography of our country is, markedly, different.  The only road to overcoming the racial divide that is crucifying our nation is for us to sit down at tables and speak, candidly, with each other…and learn of each other…and through that communication…understand our shared humanity!

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