Author Archive: bjaybrooks

Roman Candles

Happy 4th of July!

The Jazz Man

It was another 4th of July at the Bump home.  Each Independence Day was somewhat similar to the one that preceded it!  Illinois had laws prohibiting the purchase of the ‘good’ fireworks!  In their place were the black buttons, that upon being lit by a match…extended out to form a semblance of a black snake, and they were therefore called snakes.  Or there were the, lame and safe, Sparklers that had colored and harmless light expelled from them after they were lit, and you held them with your hand.

th-75

You could not buy firecrackers in El Dorado.  They were Billy and Carl’s favorite 4th pastime!  When you lit the wick and subsequently threw them…they made a magnificent loud bang!  If you lit the entire pack…it was exciting and loud and Billy had been told that the person taking the risk to light the pack…could loose a finger or more!

th-77

There…

View original post 475 more words

The Lady and The Tramp…and Billy Bump!

Another Billy Bump adventure!

The Jazz Man

‘Billy, would you like to go to the theatre and see the new Disney Movie, ‘Lady and The Tramp,’ said Jane?  It was October 24, 1961 and Billy Bump was four years old and John F. Kennedy was the new President of the United States of America!

Billy heard his mom and dad excitedly speaking about JFK…and he thought the this might be the new President?  They believed that he was a breath of fresh of air and the now the country was going to move ahead.  JFK had extolled the nation to, ‘ask not what your country can do for you…but ask what you can do for your country!’

th-67

Lady had its’ world premiere, in 1955, in Chicago…but it was still playing when Billy Bump and Danny and Paulie and Steve and Susie and their mom, Ivy, attended on October 24th…Billy’s 4th Birthday!

th-65

Billy could not believe all of…

View original post 283 more words

Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale, Is Poised to Rebound!

Having been affiliated with SIUC for over 40 years, I am excited about the opportunities that await our wonderful University!

IMG_5538 2

When I began working at SIUC, Jimmy Carter was our President and the Iranian Hostage Crisis had not yet happened.  Pope John Paul II was named within a month of my appointment.

Warren Brandt was the President of the Carbondale Campus while Kenneth Buzz Shaw was the leader of the Edwardsville school.

Clarence ‘Doc’ Daugherty was the Vice President of Campus Services and Anthony Blass was the Director of the Physical Plant.  The Superintendent of Building Services, and the man who hired me was, George O’Hara.

IMG_4629

There was a cafeteria at Woody Hall and my friend, Thelma Griffin, managed it.  My buddy Steve and I enjoyed many breakfast in the Woody Cafeteria before we attended classes.

In those, 1978 days, there was no central leader of Southern Illinois University and thus both Campus Presidents reported, regarding the business of their respective campuses, to the Board of Trustees.

During my first year with the Campus, Kenneth Shaw and Warren Brandt, both competed to become the Chancellor of Southern Illinois University…Shaw was selected and Brandt left SIUC.

I began my affiliation with Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale many years before our Campus experienced it’s highest enrollment during the early 1990’s.  At this time having almost 25,000 students caused an excitement and a challenge for the University Community!  I recall Housing placing three students in two student dorm rooms by placing another bed and desk in each room…and it was crowded!

Our staff in Building Services would stock the chalkboards in the classrooms with several, full, sticks of chalk, each evening and return the next evening to find only powder!

 

Housekeeping had over 200 hundred student staff, and the majority of them were international students and the majority of the international students were Malaysian.  When I was the Building Custodian for Parkinson Lab and the Allyn building, in 1980, I had a Malaysian student worker as a member of my staff, and his same was Salman.   One night we were on the third floor of Parkinson and I was training Salman in his custodial duties.  Now, Salman was a very pleasant young man…and I told him to, ‘run down to the other end of the hall to retrieve a dust mop,’.  Salman began running, at top speed, to the other end of the third floor hallway and then he turned around, on a dime, and ran back…just as fast!

IMG_5520 2

I learned that colloquialisms do not translate to our international friends!

When we had students everywhere we looked…I wonder if we appreciated them as we should have?  Now we desperately want to invite and convince students to join our family!

 

I met with the nicest and most impressive group of dedicated and professional civil service staff, yesterday, and it was my honor to be included in their midst!  These are people that have been elected to represent their colleagues and who have taken on the work of two….three…and four…or more open positions of their former co-workers!  They have done so out of a supreme love for their University…and to think anything else…would be an insult to these great Salukis!

New businesses are coming to Carbondale!  Quality hotels are coming to Carbondale!  New restaurants are coming to Carbondale!

Illinois now has a Governor that believes in the importance and priority of higher education!  SIUC is to receive the best state budget that it has in several years!  Our Campus is being led by a good man and a leader that has, deep, experience with the needs of Southern Illinois University and the Southern Illinois Region!

The SIUC recruiters are working over time!  The enrollment projects are looking promising!  Civil Service staff are working their fingers to the bone to ensure the success of their campus!

Let us continue our success by rebuilding the people that are working tirelessly for the renaissance of our School!

Let us realize and acknowledge that the only reason that SIUC has made it though the long valley of suffering that was predicated, in our past, by a Governor and political leaders that did not have Southern as their priority, and affirm that a well cared for staff and faculty…equals happy students who tell their friends about the secret to Little Egypt…Southern Illinois University!

 

Sammy and Jenny at the Eighth Grade Dance

Another Awesome Jonathon Brooks Blog, Enjoy!

jonathonbrooks

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…

View original post 286 more words

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…

View original post 661 more words

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!

clear glass with red sand grainer

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.

close up of text

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.comi

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.

red roller coaster

Photo by Stas Knop on Pexels.com

clouds engine fast iron

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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…

View original post 252 more words

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.

th-36

‘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

th-40

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!

th-37

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

th-39

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…

View original post 556 more words

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…

View original post 330 more words