Coven

Coven: (n) an assembly of witches

In the tapestry of experiences I have quilted together to call my life, I spent some time in Shreveport, Louisiana, starting a work that was kind of a combination of an artist’s guild, a church and a food bank.

Now, any one of those three things could stand on its own as a formidable effort, but in my youthful arrogance, I felt it was necessary for me to tackle all three to adequately represent the entire girth of the message that was sitting on top of my heart.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

We were not large, but the people we drew were very artistic, spiritually seeking, and often in need of some help with groceries. So as you see, we were right on point.

This Southern community I lived in thought that artists should stay downtown with the theater, churches should piously place themselves on Church Street, and food banks were better situated across town, where people’s skin had a deeper hue.

So when white, young me—with long hair—started to march about the community, putting on plays, performing music, teaching a little Gospel here and there, and passing out food in grocery carts near the projects, our city did not deem this to be a positive, but rather, decided it must be born of some sort of “dark spirit.”

They were especially concerned because we named this little gathering “The Haven.” Feeling no need to question their own assumptions, or even pick up a dictionary for definition, several of them insisted that the word “haven” was the term used for the Church of Satan. They were convinced we were a cult of witches with accompanying warlocks, who were doing good deeds to mask our real adventure, which was to pervert and smear true Christianity.

Several times I pointed out to them that the word “haven” actually came from an old hymn entitled “Haven of Rest,” and that the word they were seeking, which described a witch’s congregation, was “coven.” However, they refused to change their minds and accepted the rumor they had so carefully and perniciously put together.

Fortunately for us, those involved in the arts, the souls that were seeking answers, and people who were hungry didn’t give a shit whether the aid came from the Prince of Peace or the Prince of Darkness.

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Brunt

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Brunt: (n) the worst part a specified thing

As a man, I must learn how to take the brunt without becoming a brute.

Maybe that’s also true for women. I’m not sure.

But having raised six sons to adulthood, I realize there were times that I needed to buck up, hide the pain, take the short straw and survive the greatest segment of difficulty.Dictionary B

It isn’t an issue of being macho–it is more the situation of realizing that somebody will probably end up being the fall guy, and choosing that position is better than being drafted.

I’ve always been proud of the fact that I provided for my family, but there were close moments. There were some times when groceries were less plentiful.

And I will certainly confess that my big, fat belly wanted to take the lion’s share of the macaroni and cheese and hot dogs, but instead, I divided it evenly among the family–only to realize there still was not enough, and limited my intake to a couple of quick bites over the pan on the burner.

There is pain in life.

It is always better to count the cost and choose what portion you’re going to receive.

But to live in a world where no one is willing to take the brunt of the responsibility is to welcome a congress of liars and an adult playground occupied by emotional babies.

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Breathtaking

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Breathtaking: (adj) astonishing or awe-inspiring in quality

Always set it low so you can get high.

I’m talking about your “breathtaking meter.”Dictionary B

There is nothing greater, more spine-chilling and exciting than having your breath taken away. The only trouble is, we become easily jaded and start looking at breathtaking events as common.

In doing this, we remove the majority of the joy from our existence and demand that the Universe impress us–as the Universe stands by, waiting to be impressed.

Sitting in a parking lot, I watched a young boy about ten years old eyeball an old lady, who was pushing her cart. He paused, started to walk away, but then turned and offered his help.

I continued to view this glorious scene as he made it to her car, loaded her groceries into the hatchback, and when she offered him money, he refused. As he turned and started to walk away, overwhelmed by the glory of his own deed, he started skipping.

It was breathtaking.

  • It was not the Grand Canyon.
  • It was not Niagara Falls.

But it was in front of me, it was truly unusual, and it was a feast for my eyes, which are always trying to darken the view.

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Apartment

dictionary with letter A

Apartment: (n) a suite of rooms forming one residence typically in a building containing a number of these.

When I run across people who appear to like me as I am today, I am certainly cognizant of the fact that if they had met me decades earlier, they would have disliked me totally.

Now, I don’t mean this to be either critical of my new-found friends or myself. I have taken a journey. Because it is a journey, the road was rarely straight and certainly never free of construction.

To a certain degree I can chronicle my progress and my respectability based on just a simple review of my apartment selections.

Graduating from high school and immediately getting married, I had no money, appreciation of money or desire to make money. I was of the firm conviction that high school should continue and all groceries should be supplied, and preferably, food prepared and set before me. Since I did not go to college, where such an arrangement is possible, everyone in my small town felt that I needed to become “responsible.”

I did not agree.

So my family, in an attempt to get me on the “strait and narrow,” rented an apartment for my new wife and myself, where we could live. It was quite lovely. It sat on the second floor in the middle of town and had several large rooms, which continued to mock us due to our lack of owning furniture.

We were able to stay there exactly forty-five days, since we had no money to pay the next month’s installment of rent.

At this point we were forced to go to a cheaper location, which also ended up having previous tenets. Cockroaches.

We had so many in our apartment that they began to be incestuous, leading to mutations and even the development of an albino clan. After a while, it was the cockroaches that evicted us from our apartment, feeling that we were unsuitable roommates.

At this point some success greeted my creative efforts, and we were able to move into a better apartment, and then a better one still. Finally, on about my fourth excursion into this cave dwelling, I was able to occupy an apartment where I could pay the monthly rent. It was larger, also had a dishwasher, and as far as I was able to tell, had no previous hairy-legged dwellers.

So every time I hear the word “apartment,” both a chill goes down my spine and a giggle in my soul.

For I realize that it is a benchmark of being a citizen in this country. And lo and behold, after awhile, I was deemed worthy of escaping apartments and live in a house.

God bless America, strike up the band, John Phillip Sousa is a great composer … and apple pie is the only dessert for a true American..

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Amish

dictionary with letter A

Amish: (n) the members of a strict Mennonite sect that established major settlements in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and elsewhere in North America from 1720 onward.

I grew up around the Amish.

Which in turn, means they also grew up around me. But you see, there’s the problem. They really didn’t.

They came into town to buy groceries. They were civil. They were kind. They were gentle.

It didn’t bother me that they dressed differently or that they all wore beards. (I guess the women didn’t…)

I wasn’t particularly upset about them living without electricity or the comforts of the modern world. After all, I went to a church camp or two where such restrictions were levied for a week to get us all mindful of things non-electronic.

It’s just that I have grown weary of all human attempts of separation, much to the chagrin of my family and friends who would like to hold on to a nice big slice of the popular culture, so as not to abandon existing relationships with friends who have reserved a lane on the broad path. I just don’t understand how we expect to co-exist–(Oh my dear Lord, forget that. Survive!) if we continue to build smaller and smaller boxes wherein to place those we consider to be more valuable–from our strain of DNA.

I, for one, am tired of the word “culture.” Has anyone noticed that the root of the word is cult? Normally we look down on cults. We consider them to be limiting, segregating and self-righteous. But I guess if you put a u-r-e on the end it’s ok, because it denotes some kind of honor of your ancestors.

I watched a show on PBS about the Cambodian community. Many of the young transplants from Cambodia have begun to hold weekly barbeques, eating only the food of their former land. It makes for a rather bizarre bit of recipes and diet, including cow intestines, bugs and various broths. The young people are very proud of it.

But here’s what I thought: there’s a bunch of people in their graves who would like to tell these youthful adherents that they would gladly have eaten hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken, but could only afford cow intestines. They would like to encourage their offspring to upgrade.

Much of what we call culture were merely survival practices of our forefathers and mothers, who struggled to get us where we are–so we wouldn’t have to partake of their pain.

So be careful.

If you want to live on a farm somewhere, turn off the lights, grow a beard and wear plain clothes, it is America and you are free to do so. But when you include the name of God in it, who claims to be no respecter of persons, and insist that there is some special holiness in doing without, I have to shake my head.

It won’t keep me from buying your food products, though. They’re really quite good.