When I told people about this, one unhelpful friend said, ‘Jesus rode a donkey’. Actually, most of the time, he walked. If I'm going to travel the States for a year or two, I could cross the continent on foot in that much time, too.
Another friend says, ‘Praying for that NEW vehicle now for you. Will it require hidden compartments for chocolate stashes?’
As soon as I sat in the vehicle, I could feel that the back was higher. While I was absorbing the shock about that, I felt that the AC was on. That was really cool. And as I steered it out of the auto garage, I noticed the new feel of the steering mechanism, so I'm really strutting around about that. A friend suggests that this might 'steer' me to make my life 'turn' in a new direction.
I drove by a church building: on one of their signs, the first 't' was missing, so it read, 'First Bapist Church'. I wished part of the 'B' would fall off so it would read 'First Papist Church'—that would give members something to talk about the next Sunday.
And that was a wonderful day: morning in with retired missionary friends. Many pictures taken by various church people, including of two little redheaded kids playing music instruments with me. Wonderful time simply being with two families I've known for years and love.
In a restaurant at lunchtime, I saw man with a Star Wars t-shirt, so of course told him what Darth Vader said to Luke Skywalker: "I know what you got for Christmas. I felt your presents." I also brought down a bronze sculpture of a cowboy riding a bull, carried it to a table where a little boy had a stuffed dog so his dog could talk with the bull about this idiot riding on the bull's back, apparently unable to tell a horse from cattle--'Can't you see my horns? What's wrong with you?'
That evening I spoke in another church with people who play the organ and keyboard in totally different personas: the daughter plays the organ in a quiet, reserved way with dark-framed, nerdy glasses, while the mom at the keyboard is WAY over the top in wide-open emotional expression—I hope someone has video of them sitting side by side playing their respective music instruments in their varying styles.
And I enjoyed and love friendship of dear friends I know and love—spent three nights at one home, two nights at the other. Thanks for hospitality and simply being with you.
They replied, ‘We enjoyed having you with us. Enjoy all your stories. I am reading the book I bought on the lessons your mom wrote from the book of Romans. It is wonderful. Recommend everyone getting a copy.’ Thank you. She was brilliant and Spiritual. Only later, when seeing what some other people have had to put up with, have I begun to understand how outstanding it was for me to have someone who tirelessly answered the very many questions I had about everything, and who took delight in learning to teach both herself and her children. The book title is God’s Eternal Purpose, and it is available through Wonderful Words.
I started a project with R Lalhmudiki Nutei, a Mizo singer, in which she would be singing my songs. She involved some singers and musicians she knew and the project moved along well and two songs were completed, but then she passed away (pray for her dear husband and children). Now one of the singers she had involved and to whom she introduced me, is picking up the project. But first I need to put the two songs completed so far on iTunes, Spotify and other places for people to buy. I asked if any experienced singers/musicians had any recommendations regarding how and where I should do this. One musician recommended ti go to www.cdbaby.com. She said, ‘They will add it to other online distributors if you choose to do so. You basically go to the site and just follow the instructions. Just learn as you go. If you have questions, there are people through the site that will help you as well as FAQs. Blessings.’ I started the process with them—paying for barcode and another code for distribution. The problem is that they say the file isn’t precise enough for sale, so now a music minister friend is trying to see if something can be done to upgrade the file.
Meanwhile, I had meetings in St Louis metro area, met some people I'd known since college years. At one church, the youth led singing, and they wore various Disney-motif t-shirts, caps, etc. One guy wore a t-shirt under a jacket half-zipped, but Donald Duck's head on the t-shirt showed above the zipper. I remarked that, since Donald Duck has run around for fifty years without wearing pants, it's good the guy had the lower part of his jacket zipped up. He agreed he did so out of sheer modesty.
And I had a great dinner with friends attending other church, and whom I've known since I was in college and, in most cases, hadn't seen since then. Great reunion. After that, a great time sightseeing at St Louis Public Library’s stained glass art, at boyhood homes of T.S. Eliot and Tennessee Williams, and seeing statues of them and of Kate Chopin at the West End intersection near Left Bank Bookstore. Now I have to figure out how to get the photos from the camcorder to the laptop. The way with my previous camera—through a cable—didn’t work with this one. Then I found out how to move the memory card from the camera to an adapter for the laptop.
After that, three meetings in one day, the last two in rural locations the gps had trouble finding. In the last service, I used puppets to illustrate the story of Elisha and the siege of Samaria. One boy wore a horse/donkey's head and had to tremble because the starving population wanted to eat him. The four lepers in the story got to collect funny hats while plundering the abandoned Assyrian camp. And the king's officer, told he was being trampled by the mob, fell down on the floor quite convincingly. All this was followed by good times in the restaurant with the pastor, his wife and their four children.
And then I stayed with relatives in North Arkansas. One is a masterful guitarist theologically, theoretically, theosophically. His mom is also musically talented. And a sister is charmingly humorous. Her father, Sam, tells me, 'Sam I am, Sam you ain't.' He is a painter, so I sing Alan Sherman's pastiche:
'O when the painters go marching in,
O when the painters go marching in,
Just be sure they use a drop-cloth--
When the painters go marching in.'
And the grandmother is a masterful violinist, as her late husband was a good guitarist and an incredible humorist.
Their community has a relatively new and fancy library. There, I met the marketing director and a front-desk librarian, so I was able to refer Jen to George Carlin's 'Wonderful Wino Radio', which has a one-word song—'Jenny!', and Noelle to the Continentals 'Come Let Us Sing Noel', which also repeats the word 'Noel' several times. She had already heard it--cool! I didn't have to refer to 'The First Noel', which everyone knows already. Great to be in that library. The benefactor who funded the library was a man with a hairstyle like mine! And several of the employees have big, nerdy glasses as I do! 'Surely the presence of the LORD is in this place....'
Another son of my relatives is studying to be a pilot, so I got to meet his instructors at the airport and we could talk about Orville and Wilber, Charles Lindbergh, Eddie Rickenbacher, Doolittle, Earhardt, Goddard. One instructor showed me a flight simulator. I was able to tell him about Lukla airport in Nepal, and later I shared with Alexander Bob Newhart routines on 'Orville and Wilbur' and 'Grace L Ferguson Airline and Stormdoor Company'. And one aunt shared with him Carol Burnett's sketch on airline checkin.
The next day, two other relatives sisters were present. One is a genius at American sign language. The other works in radiology, so I was able to share with Vicki Alan Sherman's song, 'See Bones'.
Dinner of course led to Alan Sherman's 'Green Things in my Soup', the 2000-Year-Old Man's comment about 'King Arthur and the Knights of the Oval Table'. And then there was for dessert LOADED chocolate chip cookies! Yes! AND coffee cake. 'In the sweeeeeeet by-and-byyyyyyyy'.
The next day, I was still trying to load the gorgeous singing by Pc Lalthansangi of two of my songs to cdbaby, which autocorrect wants to call crybaby, and which I'm thinking is appropriate as I try to jump all their hoops to get this song and all the information they seek uploaded so all of you can buy the music, preferably one copy for each of your relatives and friends, indeed for every individual in the human race.
In this area of NW Arkansas, my great-great grandfather moved his family, and there they lived about twenty years before he moved again, this time to Oregon. I very much enjoyed being with relatives and friends in the area.
After that, I spoke in a church near Branson and also visited a retired couple there. I heard a concert of the Million Dollar Quartet (an impromptu group of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis who met once only for a lengthy jam session). Humorous depiction, well done.
I also heard a tribute concert of mostly John Denver songs. The lead guitarist could replicate John Denver's guitar playing excellently, but not also John Denver's voice, able to carry notes for a long time.
Finally, I also heard a concert of the present-day Blackwood Singers, descended from the Blackwood Bros Quartet. Excellent harmonies..
Then I was in a service in SW Missouri with a congregation who had an outstanding song service. Very much enjoyed these days.