Rabid Fun

John Cowart's Daily Journal: A befuddled ordinary Christian looks for spiritual realities in day to day living.

Monday, July 31, 2006

A Typical Weekend

Our weekend involved adultery.

And lust, passion, back stabbing, manipulation, betrayal, deceit, orgies, corruption, poison, stabbing, envy, fighting, incest, cheating, and murder.

Yes, you guessed it. Ginny and I watched all 13 episodes of the Derek Jacobi VCR tapes I, Claudius. back to back.

— best BBC television miniseries ever made!

It's a saga about how each of the first five emperors of the Roman Empire grabbed power.

Thirteen episodes back to back.


And who says we don’t have a life?

How has this marathon bout of tv watching influenced my worldview?

Well, I have this overwhelming desire to lay back on the couch with my head in Ginny’s lap while she feeds me clusters of grapes.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 6:02 AM

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Some Sayings:

When Donald came over yesterday bringing a load of stuff for the poor at the mission, he saw the state I’ve let the yard degenerate into and offered to hire a young man to help me catch up on the backlog of yard work next week. Over the years, many times I’ve helped other people that way, so it feels really strange to be on the receiving end of such help.

When Ginny and I went out for breakfast, we talked about a news item which encourages diabetics to become vegetarians. This has no appeal at all for us. But when we went out on the parking lot we saw a new van, I think it belonged to the owner of a near-by BBQ restaurant. The bumper sticker proclaimed:

I did not claw my way to the top of the food chain just to eat vegetables!

The sight of this got us to talking about other sayings, slogans, bumper stickers, quotes, etc. Here are a few I remember:

From a noodle package:
To lower sodium content, add less salt

Grandpa’s comment on a politician:
He’s so greasy that when the world ends, he’ll burn a week longer than anybody else.

Another of Granpa’s observations:
Some folks would complain if you was to hang ‘em with a brand new rope.

Wasn’t it Winston Churchill who said, :
The chief end of all human endeavor is to be happy at home.

Saint Paul said,
The love of God is shown towards us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Bumper sticker:
All Men Are Idiots — And I Married Their King.

Overheard in checkout line:
If I’da killed him when I met him, I’d be a free woman by now.

Jesus said,
He that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out!

Army sergeant said to recruits,
Don’t just stand there. Mill around!

General said,
You can kiss the king or you can kill the king, but you can’t kick the king and get away with it.

A redneck’s famous last words,
Hey there y’all, Watch me!

Line from a b-grade movie as the monster approaches the village:
I guess we’ll have to sacrifice Alice; she’s about the closest thing we got to a virgin in this town.

Don’t know why these sayings struck me, but they did.

Do you have any favorites for the comment section?

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:54 AM

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

But, I did promise.

Friday I neglected my usual yard chores to browse all day in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library Of Congress.

LC’s massive collection represents some of the finest Civil War photographs available and I was looking for prints to illustrate the Confederate soldier’s diary that I’m preparing for publication.

When I was young, I worked for about ten years at the library; at the time I knew my way around what was then the 14 million volume stacks. But now the library has expanded. Now I find the digital collection really difficult to navigate.

And, once you do find something, you’d better bookmark it well.

I’m continually saying, “Now, where did I see that? I know I saw it just a few minutes ago. What happened to it?”

Work on the diary nears completion. Good thing. I’m getting sick of it. Discrepancies in dates and place names drive me to verge madness.

It’s all the yankees’ fault!

Just look what they did:

The War has been over for years but still the invaders rape and plunder and burn and pillage. When that bastard Sherman passed through, he ordered his marauders to burn the crops, chop down the fruit trees, poison the wells.

Today, even occupied Iraq fairs better than the American South did.

Sherman even ordered his men to shoot all the cows shot so Southern babies would have no milk.

And I think his spirit hinders my work on this Confederate diary!

Yes, Sherman’s ghost muddles the diary of our guy, so that I’ve been having such a hard time preparing it for publication.

In fact, if I had not promised the old lady who owned the diary that I’d do what I could on this, her pet project, then I would have dropped the whole thing long ago.

This is not my baby so why should I raise it?

But I did promise.

And although the old lady is long dead, my promise is still alive so I’m doing what I can, even though I’d rather be working on something else.

As literature or history this soldier’s diary does not rank up there with the Rose Cottage Chronicles (see my February 8th, 2005 posting in my blog archives) or Mary Boykin Chesnut’s Diary From Dixie. No, the diary I’m working on falls in the area of things “not good enough to keep but too good to throw away”. Essentially it’s Civil War ephemera and I hope to preserve it mostly in my self-appointed roll as an archivist.

But I did promise.

So I track down facts and reconcile discrepancies and I pray and curse and fuss and fume. I cut. I paste. I delete. I insert. I go nuts. So the work does progress -- in spite of the damnyankees.

Oh, here’s a tip, if you want to look at LC’s Civil War prints, go to the Library of Congrees website at http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/catalog.html .

They are all in there somewhere.

I suppose that the most positive thing about my experience in searching for Civil War photos at the Library of Congress is that while I’m browsing for those on my computer, I can’t be looking at pictures of naked ladies on line.

That’s something.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 6:50 AM

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Coincidence — Or Something Else

First, many thanks to those of you who checked out my on-line book catalog yesterday; I appreciate your interest. Life would be bleak without you.

After I posted my journal entry yesterday, I prayed about whether or not I should make a phone call. I loath making phone calls; I have to steel myself to make one. I avoid phone calls whenever possible.

No big deal, that’s just another little quirk of mine.

Something I live with.

As I’ve been editing the Civil War diary, I ran across a familiar name amid the ephemera in the old file. “Say, I used to know that guy,” I thought. “I have a few questions about the autograph of the diary, if this is the same man I used to know, maybe he can answer my questions”.

But, I did not really want to call him. John Merritt is an important person, a busy lawyer who is running for judge in the September elections. It’s probably not even the same John Merritt I used to know, I thought.

So, I put off calling.

Instead I walked out on some errands.

A horn tooted as a car pulled up behind me.

John Merritt was driving to his office after a breakfast meeting with some of the area’s movers and shakers. He saw me (one of the area's moved and shook) walking and stopped to give me a lift.

It turns out that he is indeed the same John Merritt mentioned in the supporting documents in my Civil War files. He helped the old lady who found the diary transcribe it back when he was a college student. He supplied me with all sorts of background information and proved enormously helpful with my questions.

And here, I had decided not to call him at all, not to bother him.

Remember earlier, when I had prayed about whether or not to call him? I realize now that what I’d really been praying for was for God to give me an excuse not to call because of my aversion to the telephone.

The Lord God Almighty does not always cooperate with me.

I’ve noticed that.

John and I were close friends years ago but gradually drifted apart and I had not seen him, except to wave to, for the past three or four years. Our conversation this morning was necessarily shallow — work, wives, kids & cars — but perhaps this marks an opportunity to get reacquainted.

O, I do plan to vote for him on September 5th. Everything I know about him encourages that. He impresses me as an honest man with good judgment and high standards. I think he would make a great judge.

It just seems odd that I prayed, decided not to bother him, then ran into him within an hour.

Coincidence — or is something else at work here?

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 4:34 AM

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Blatant Appeal For You To Buy My Books:

I write useful books.

My books are useful because they are thick.

Most of them anyhow. Some of my books only run to 100 pages; but others are close to 400 pages thick.

My books are not only thick but they are also educational, inspirational, entertaining, funny, informative, thick, and cheap.

Mostly thick.

Therefore, my books lend themselves to a variety of household uses For example:

(click to enlarge)

Please look over my on-line book catalogue at www.bluefishbooks.info and at least think about buying one of my books.

The thick book you buy will be useful to you; The money you spend will be useful to me.

Thank You for your support.

NOTE: I clipped out this hilarious cartoon years ago and put it on the frig; it’s been up there so long the paper has yellowed. I no longer remember where it came from. The title of the book originally was “Great Ideas Of Western Man”!

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 3:38 AM

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My Forgetery Works Real Good

My name is John —J-O-H-N.

The Titanic sank on April 14, 1912.

Jacksonville, my hometown, was founded in 1829.

Polycarp was the immediate successor to Christ’s apostles.

My wife’s name is Virginia and we’ve been married for ??years for a long time.

I remember important facts like those above. I tend to forget little, less important facts.

For instance, Tuesday morning my youngest son — who is thirty-one or 32 or 33 or 34 years old (I forget exactly) — called me.

“Dad,” he said, “Do you know which hospital I was born in?”

I racked my brain. I couldn’t remember. I think I remember being able to smoke in the expectant father’s waiting room back then, but which hospital that waiting room was in escapes my memory.

I suggested he call Ginny at work. She might possibly remember where he was born — women are good at remembering little details like that..

He wanted her office number. I call her once or twice every week. But I can never remember her work number. I put Donald on hold while I looked it up; I have it written on the wall in the kitchen.

“Why do you want to know which hospital,” I asked him, once I’d looked up her phone number.

“I need to know the name of the hospital to get a copy of my birth certificate,” he said. “I need it to get my passport,” he said.

“What do you need a passport for?” I asked.

He told me that he is going to Europe this fall.

First I’d heard of it.


He told me that not only is he going himself, but he is taking six other members of our family with him!


“Yes,” he said, “Seven us of are going. Me and a friend from work will attend a computer conference — the company is sending us — and the girls are going to tour”.

“Wow! When did all this come up?” I asked.

“Dad, I told you all about it. Don’t you remember?”

“This is the first I’ve heard a word about it,” I said.

“Dad, we told you all about it at the birthday party (see my July 10th blog in the archives). We planned the whole thing right there and told you all about it”.

I don’t remember ever hearing anything at all about a minor thing like seven members of my family all going to Europe

That’s news to me.

He says they told me, but I don’t remember.

Ginny would know all about when and where our children were born; she remembers little things like that.

And she remembers my address too.

I remember that the Greeks fought off the Persians at the battle of Thermopylae.

And I remember that yesterday Donald told me that everybody is going to either Sweden or Switzerland.

I can’t remember which.

They both begin with Sw…

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 4:35 AM

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Another Wasted Day In A Wasted Life

My Monday added up to just another wasted day in a wasted life.

Even before Ginny left for work I’d written up my 2do2da list of nine things I wanted to accomplish during the day.

I assigned a priority to each task on the list. This resulted in my identifying the A-Number-One Most Important thing for me to do.

But …

Here were eight priority B, C, and D items on the list.

What to do? What to do?

The easy things won hand down. I frittered away a day of life doing things of hardly any importance while leaving the most important of all untouched.

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing”.

I think that’s a quote from a cowboy movie that’s stuck in my mind. It’s not the way I do things, but it’s stuck in my mind.

In my spiritual life I’m just as bad. I fritter away life acting on vague semi-religious, semi-moral or social things — convenient do-goodism and feel-goodism — and thus avoid contact with the Almighty.

Yes, Christ ranks as prominent in my life (I use Him as an excuse for a lot of things) but He is seldom preeminent. I dabble at devotion. The word Lord does have a meaning, and my Lord is the phrase I use in referring to Him, but all too often the term my sidekick might be more accurate.

When I’m in my right mind, I reflect on Psalm 27:4 which says, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life to behold the beauty of the Lord…”

What is more important than that?

One thing! One thing. One A-Number One thing. I should remember what that is.

O well. Tomorrow is also a day.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:24 AM

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Succulents Suck!

Over the weekend Ginny and I constructed the gigantic cactus bed we have been talking about for weeks.

Sometime somewhere over the 38 years of our marriage, we may have had a dumber idea but, if so, I don’t remember what it was.

Things is, in the years we have lived in this house, we have accumulated various succulents in our yard. We dutifully put these cactus, firecracker aloe, prickly pear, aguavay, pointy things I don’t know the name of, and a giant century plant in various nooks and crannies of the yard where they snag our ankles as we do yard work.

We thought it would be a fine idea to get all these plants into a single bed where we will never have to touch one again.

Sounds smart — but it isn’t.

We bought lumber to make a cactus corral eight inches high, by ten feet wide, by twelve feet long. That’s 8X10X12 (I’d put in the little “ or ‘ marks to show feet and inches but I can’t remember if “ is feet and ‘ is inches or vice versa).

I cut sod squares from the defined area and re-planted those squares in spots here and there where the lawn looked thin. We dug out weeds. We chopped roots. We tilled the soil. We hauled fill and shoveled dirt to raise the level of the bed providing good drainage for the plants.

The temperature pushed a hundred degrees and cactus-like plants like full sun with no shade so that’s where we put the bed.

We started work at 6:30 a.m. before the heat got too bad, wore straw hats, took frequent breaks and drank lots of water. During our breaks we discussed aspects of our prayer life. (Isn’t there some Scripture or hymn somewhere with the line “Nor Thorns Infest The Ground”?) Even with our taking such frequent breaks, nevertheless, the task proved grueling.

Time came to plant the cactus things.

Took us seven hours to un-pot (root-bound suckers!) and re-plant the various cactus.

We took seven hours to plant the bed; then it took an hour and 40 minutes for me to pluck thorns out of Ginny’s hands (She had worked with the Prickly Pears while I dug out some heaver succulents).

And yes, she did wear gardening gloves.

Don’t tell the Iraqis, not a whisper now, but the thorns of a Florida Prickly Pear can pierce Kevlar!

I had to go over each of her fingers separately with a lighted magnifying glass and three different kinds of tweezers — tools left over from my model shipbuilding days — plucking thorns.

Now it’s great we had the model-building tools on hand, but because of the unaccustomed physical labor of digging out the bed and our general decrepit old-age, both of us have shaky hands. And my dimming eyesight led me to have to feel for the hair-thin thorns, and there were hundreds of them.

Ginny hardly ever screamed.

Florida Indians used to eat Prickly Pears. They dug the plant up by the roots, threw it whole on the fire to burn all the thorns off, then roasted the fruit and flesh.

If we ever have to transplant another cactus, I’m borrowing a flame thrower!

Anyhow, we got the massive job done. We survived the thorns. We enjoy the result (I’ll post photos when the cactus bloom). And we enjoyed working together.

Thanks be to God.

But with all that rooting and digging and lifting and bending and carrying and planting — today, if my dick were to get half as stiff as the rest of me, life would be perfect and the Viagra company would go bankrupt.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:36 AM

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Yesterday Was A Bit Bizarre -- Even For One Of My Days

After Ginny left for work Friday morning I edited about 20 pages of the Civil War soldier’s diary. But by midday I encountered two unusual situations: one involved romance; the other, my death.

Love comes first.

This is not a tale of long lost love, but of postponed romance.

Long ago a guy, lets call him Alex, and a girl, lets call her Ellen, grew up near Jacksonville and went to the same high school where they were sweethearts.

Both are now over 80 years old.

After high school they went separate ways: he into the service, she to college in another city. They met other loves, married other partners, and raised families. Alex and his wife were married for 55 years; I’m not sure how long Ellen was married.

Then each of them lost their respective spouses.

He lives out west; she, up north..

A chance phone call. A renewed acquaintance. Romance bloomed again.

My friend Barbara brought them over to my house to meet me and stroll through my garden. I had never met them before; they are visiting Barbara in the old folks home where she lives.

Alex and Ellen are visiting Jacksonville on a sort of pre-honeymoon vacation trip together.

“We may get married legally, or we may exchange private, personal vows and live in sin,” Ellen told me using her fingers to put quote marks around that last phrase.

I sympathize with their dilemma.

They face tough choices.

No particular Scripture appropriate to their situation pops into my mind, only a phrase from Shakespeare’s sonnet:

“Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments”.

And these folks face plenty of impediments.

The couple is thinking of marriage but they face problems concerning social security benefits, health insurance, property, input from grown children, financial arrangements, tax issues, etc.

If they marry legally, each will loose all kinds of benefits.

Benefits they can ill afford to loose.

Oh well, even for the young, love is costly.

It was a pleasure meeting the happy couple, giddy with new-found love.

My friend Barbara and the couple all got to talking about what they were each doing back in 1950. My only contribution to the conversation was that in 1950, I’d been sent to the Principal’s office. I was in 4th grade!

Yes, lunch with them felt a bit odd because I was the youngest person at the table!

That’s a switch.

And it brings me to the other odd situation of the day:

The four of us went to a Chinese restaurant where I have been going off and on for years. There I ran into my friend Peggy, a beautiful young woman whom I have not happened to see for four or five months.

Seeing me walk in the door stunned her.

As I entered the restaurant, Peggy gasped and ran to hug me. She acted delighted to see me again. She trembled as she told why she was so startled to see me.

Until quite recently Peggy, who is considerably younger than me or Ginny, worked as an aid at a local hospital, a massive facility that covers a couple of city blocks.

Among her duties at the hospital she delivered supplies to the upper floors and wheeled patients who died down to the morgue.

About two months ago, in delivering supplies to the cardiac floor, she noticed that some equipment was for a John Cowart in Room so and so. She noticed on the papers that the man’s wife was Ginny.

Cowart is not an uncommon name here in the southeast, but what are the chances of another John Cowart also being married to a lady with the same name as my wife, Ginny?

Peggy assumed that I was the patient. She intended to visit Ginny and me, but work kept her so busy that she did not get up to the room.

Two days later, her supervisor told her to pick up John Cowart’s corpse from cardiac and wheel it down to the morgue.

Peggy just could not do it. She broke down and cried. She told the supervisor that she knew that patient and asked if someone else could pick up my body so she would not have to look at me.

“I just could not stand to look at your body,” she said.

(When it comes to girls, that’s the story of my life).

She cried and cried and mourned for me. She felt ashamed and guilty about going to comfort Ginny because she’d been too busy to visit me in the hospital room.

For ages Peggy has owned a copy of the book I wrote on prayer, but she’d never gotten around to reading it. She said she got out her copy of the book and read it cover to cover weeping at various reminders about what a nice guy I was.

So seeing me walk in the restaurant shocked her. Her hands trembled as she told me about this. She felt so flustered to find me still alive when she thought I had died..

I felt flattered and honored that this young woman mourned for me so.

But the only thing I could think of to say about her tale was, “I’m sorry to disappoint you”.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:12 AM

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Friday, July 21, 2006

All-Seeing Dad Knows All!

First, a little background: picture five young ladies in an SUV with a cell phone.

Thursday as I mowed the lawn, I kicked around ideas about writing a Bible study based on the Book of Esther and I toyed with ideas to make editing the Civil War journal easier.

I like to think as I do yardwork.

When I came inside for a sip of ice water (monster hot out there) the phone rang.

My oldest daughter, Jennifer, explained that she was driving with some other girls to a pet store when a Bible question came up among them, so she called me for an answer.

“The Bible says something or another about a mustard seed, but I can’t remember what it says,” she said. “Pat has this necklace with a mustard seed inside clear plastic and we were taking about what it means. Do you know what the Bible verse about that is?”

“Sure,” I lied.

“Just a second,” she said, “Let me put this on the speaker phone”.

“There are two references to mustard seeds,” I said. “The first is in Matthew 13:31 where Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of Heaven is like to a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds; but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof’.

“The second reference is in Matthew 17:20. The disciples tried to cast out a demon but were not able to, so Jesus did it Himself. And when they ask why they couldn’t do it, He said, ‘Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit, this kind (of demon) goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.’”

“Thanks, Dad,” Jennifer said. “I knew you’d know the answer”.

And she hung up the phone.

The funny thing is I did not know the answer.

I had no idea.

I cheated.

I keep a concordance and a Bible within easy reach of my desk and even as she asked her question, I had flipped open the concordance (a huge index of every word in the Bible) to the phrase Mustard Seed and opened my Bible to Matthew’s Gospel so I could read from it directly.

My daughter and the girls drove on thinking that I know the Bible so well that I could quote such references, without even thinking about it, right off the top of my head.

Maybe it’s the devil in me, but I see no reason to let her know otherwise.

Hey, I’m building a legend here.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:02 AM

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

My Historic Shirt

Ever notice this handsome photo of me that is the avatar on my blog?

It shows me fiddling around as I built a model ship in a bottle — but the thing you should really notice is the historic shirt I am wearing.

I bought this shirt 37 years ago today — on July 20, 1969, at Sears in Indianapolis, Indiana. I still wear this historic shirt regularly.

When I bought it, the shirt was a bright red plaid; over the years, it’s faded a bit into more of a dull rust color.

Come to think of it, I’ve faded a bit myself.

I bought the shirt just minutes before the store closed that night. As I walked back from the Sears store toward the terminal where my truck was parked, people thronged the streets. Practically every business stayed open late and the owners had run extension cords out the door and set up television sets on the sidewalks.

Some private homes had televisions set out on the front porch. People clustered around each television set blocking the sidewalks and entrances to the stores.

I remember a gaggle of stripers in costume and patrons spilled out of one bar to watch Walter Cronkite’s news broadcast on the tv sets in an appliance store window across the street. Cronkite had been on the air for 27 continuous hours. He shouted, “Go Baby Go!” near the start of the program.

But now we were getting toward the climax and nobody wanted to miss it.

Everybody talked to each other as the tension mounted. Complete strangers gripped hands on the sidewalks.

Then, at 10:56 in the evening, the hatch opened and Commander Neil Armstrong climbed down the ladder to touch foot on the surface of the moon.

“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” he said.

People in the streets of Indianapolis cheered and danced and slapped backs and hugged eachother in exhilaration. America Had Done It! We Reached The Moon! Apollo 11 was a success.

The rocket did not explode!

The landing module did not sink under the soft dust of the moon surface.

Our guys did not die.

They made it!

They made it!

Thank God, they made it!

I had the shirt I just bought still in the bag as I glad-handed a bunch of people on the sidewalk in front of a shoe store's tv. Jubilation! Eagle had landed. America was on the moon! America was on top of the world. Everyone was thrilled. Drinks were on the house.

I still wear my historic shirt. But not because I bought it on the same day America first landed on the surface of the moon. I still wear it because when I first tried it on, Ginny said, “That looks really nice on you”.

I treasured her compliment so I’ve worn this shirt ever since.

But I do remember the night I bought it.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 4:07 AM

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My Greatest Accomplishment Today

After browsing at the computer before lunch yesterday, I decided to take a 20-minute nap — I slept for four hours!

No wonder I never get anything done.

Ever feel troubled, need help, and pray -- but nothing happens?

Next time, instead of praying, try this:

The graphic comes from www.worth1000.com — If you click on that link, be prepared to spend some time being fascinated because you won’t get anything else done.

Thus, between drowsing and browsing, my life passes.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:46 AM

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Nothing Much Happening (but I Feel Grouchy Anyhow)

I’ve missed two days journal entries for two reasons:

Nothing much is happening in my life at the moment.

I have little to say — not that that has ever stopped me from posting before.

After a weekend of intense intimacy, Ginny and I are regaining our distance. This is normal, like waves lapping the shore and receding as the overall tide rises. As the poet said, “Let there be spaces in your togetherness”. So we are talked out for the moment and spend our time together in companionable silence each reading our own books.

We intend, God willing, to consolidate man cactus plants into one bed next weekend. My friend Wes came over yesterday and used his truck to haul in some building materials for the bed. Once it’s made, any cactus that shows its head outside the boundary, gets weedwhacked without mercy. I’m tired of thorns in my ankles when I do yard work.

I’m even tempted to transplant the thorn bushes we have planted under each window in the house. They make great security barriers. Any burglar who presses on past a batch of Bougainvillea thorns or Spanish Bayonets deserves anything he’s able to steal afterwards.

Problem is that if God gives me life and strength till Fall, I plan to paint the house and then it’ll be me, not the burglar, who has to contend with the thorn bushes and hornet nests. I’m not sure what to do about these sticker bushes.

The main reason for any security precaution is to make a bad guy think that my neighbor’s house is an easier target than mine.

In the news: The space shuttle landed safely yesterday — much to the disappointment of the media who proceeded to run down America’s accomplishment even though the ship didn’t crash.

Arabs and Israelis are still fighting, but that’s hardly news since the same war has been going on for thousands of years. The latest spark to set them off was the kidnapping of some Israeli soldiers and the Jews responded by bombing. If the Moslems did not want to get bombed, they should have kidnapped Americans; nothing seems to happen when they do that.

Yesterday another earthquake and tsunami hit Indonesia. I wonder about the people who may, or may not, have read the Indonesian translation of my book on prayer (see my June 21, 2005, entry in the archives).

I pray in a vacuum.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 8:43 AM

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Our Mini-Adventure On The Straight and Narrow Path

Saturday Ginny and I strolled on the Jacksonville-Baldwin Trail, a paved path through the wilderness as straight as an arrow, as straight a taunt string, as straight as a broom handle, as straight as a train track.

In fact, the trail once was a train track.

When the railroad company abandoned the right of way, it was paved over as a hiking trail running the 15 miles between Jax and Baldwin straight as… well, straight as a railroad track.

Here’s a photo of Ginny resting; you can see the straight and narrow path stretching East behind her:

Here’s another photo of the trail stretching to the West in the other direction (the flowers are mimosa):

Say, this straight and narrow path reminds me of a Bible verse.

No, not that one.

The other one.

The one from the prophet who said that God would provide a road for us through bad places, “A main road will go through that once-deserted land; it will be named the Way of Holiness… God will walk there with you; even the most stupid man cannot miss the way”.

That’s Isaiah 35:8 in the Living Bible.

As I recall, the King James Version renders that last bit of the verse something like, “A wayfaring man, though he be a fool, can not miss the way”.

To me that means that God’s way is not hidden, twisted, winding, mysterious, or obscure, but a multi-lane Interstate, not easily missed by the dullest of us unless we are willfully deliberately obstreperous.

His way is right in front of our noses.

That’s a comfort to me because, straight as the Jax/Baldwin Trail is, it’s possible (with deliberate effort) for some idiot to wander off the trail and into the bushes.

Wonder who that could be?

Ginny took this photo:

Dense forest flanks both sides of the straight and narrow trail, and mid-July heat wilts hikers. Followers of the trail need some refreshment along the way:

I found tangles of wild grapes in the jungle beside the trail and I sampled a cluster. Ginny refused to eat any though I assured her the grapes were good (if a bit tart). But she doesn’t trust me just because one time — only one time, mind you, I let her take a single taste of a wild orange —which looks just like a regular orange, but tastes like the most sour, bitter fruit in the whole Universe!

Here’s the photo I took of her tasting that one single orange (and yes, those are tears in her eyes):

Why wouldn’t she trust me again? Trust is so important in marriage. (so is knowing your partner’s idea of teasing)

Anyhow, here’s a photo of me and the wild grapes I found:

And, no, we did not hike the whole 15 miles of trail. We strolled three miles, which, considering our age and condition and the heat, is quite enough of an adventure.

And to prove that Indiana Jones has nothing on me when it comes to adventure, I boldly stood right next to a cow, a big one, with only a slender strand of wire between me and the beast:

What’s that behind me?

Right over my shoulder in the photo?

As Ginny snapped the picture, she notice another wild animal creeping up to attack me and she took a photo of it too. Yes, a wild creature was lurking right there behind me camouflaged by the cows:

Once we trekked into Baldwin, we discovered that the local library was hosting a first class shindig.

Who could resist such festivities? Ginny and I rushed over, following the crowd to Maxville, so we wouldn’t miss a thing.

Here is a photo of three happy clowns at the library:

No, wait, that one in the middle is nor a regular clown; she’s the head librarian.

Our middle-daughter, the Head Librarian!

Here she is again, this time with a few members of the Defenders Of Faith Karate Club — which gave an excellent demonstration of their skills:

The other Defenders of Faith karate students clustered in the main library room eager to check out books because of their thirst for reading (or maybe just to scarf up the cake and cookies):

Ginny and I returned home to continue our day of adventures in recliners in front of the tv all evening — another wonderful day!

There’s a lot to be said in favor of walking on a straight and narrow path.

But remember: grapes, yes; oranges, no.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:22 AM

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

My Happiest Day Ever

Slept an hour late Friday; I did not wake till 5, Ginny slept till 7.

We carried our coffee outside by the fountain and began a free-range conversation that lasted all day.

We drove to Dave’s Diner for a long, leisurely breakfast and we lingered over coffee for almost two hours.

(Oh, by the way, Dave’s will close Monday and Tuesday because another crew is filming a movie using Dave’s as a set.)

Returning home, Gin and I continued in intimate conversation for hours.

I can’t remember everything we talked about but some topics included: birds, our garden, Mark Twain, sex, the Gold Standard, the Roosevelt administration, hair styles, race relations, romantic memories, archaeology, eschatology, cactus, how proud we are of our children, Iraq, great tits, car repair, Florida history, erections, problems at her office, the Titanic, the nature of Heaven, biblical views of property, negligees, college degrees, blogging, Rock Creek Park, and sources of joy.

The day was one of those special times when we meshed together perfectly and enjoyed time to explore and get to know eachother better. You’d think that after 37 years of marriage we’d be somewhat acquainted, but our relationship today was like that of a couple on their first or second date when they are feeling each other out to discover who this person is, liking what they find, and beginning to fall in love.

It felt so good to get beyond our usual conversations of “What’s for supper” or “How are we going to pay that car insurance bill” or “You need to fix that broken hinge”. We did discuss such things but we moved beyond the mundane into soul intimacy.

So, on one level, we did nothing special today.

Just talked and touched and dipped in the pool and drove out to supper and got reacquainted and found eachother fascinating.

When we see Jesus face to face, that may prove to be a joyous happy day, but till then, I don’t recall having ever spent a happier day than this one.

Kinda nice to be in love.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:33 AM

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Friday, July 14, 2006

A Good Weekend Ahead

Spent Thursday morning doing yard work; afternoon, reading.

Ginny is taking some time off so we hope to hike, er, make that stroll, out in the woods for a bit over the long weekend.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:15 AM

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Practicing A Bit Of Scary Christianity

I did something scary yesterday. It caused me great trepidation and anxiety.

I would not have done it if I were not a Christian.

This really upset me, practically turned my stomach. I avoid confrontation.

Isn’t being a Christian supposed to bring you peace and joy and love and all that crap? Isn’t the burden supposed to be easy and the yoke light?

Such stuff is beyond my experience.

I felt so upset about what I had to do that butterflies the size of 747s fluttered in my stomach. I tried to figure some way to avoid doing it. I racked my brain trying to think of some Bible verse that would ease my mental anguish, but I couldn’t think of one that would let me off the hook.

How am I as a Christian father supposed to deal with the stalker who made that indecent proposal to one of my daughters? I wrote about this yesterday.

The only Scripture I could think of to guide me in this was Matthew 18:15-17; that’s where Jesus says, “Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother…”

Ok. Ok. Light burden. Easy yoke. Other cheek and all that jazz— easier said than done, Lord.

I felt, on the basis of Scripture, that I was to go to the married man who approached my daughter as a whore and confront him face to face without anger, in Christian compassion, remembering that I too am a sinful man with plenty of beams in my own eye.

I shaved, dressed, and took a walk to think out what I wanted to say. Then I came home and wrote down exactly what to say. I did not want to speak in anger or ad lib words and I certainly did not want to prolong this unpleasant duty. I wanted to say my piece in less than 60 seconds or less, so I wrote it down as a statement to read to him.

I cast about for some excuse to delay this duty but could think of none.

When you know that you absolutely, positively have to eat a frog, it’s best not to look at it too long before hand.

I drove to his office and asked him to talk with me privately — but in a public place.

Here, with three changes to disguise the names of those involved, is the statement I read to him face to face:

Statement I read to The Guy on July 12, 2006, at 9:10 a.m.

Guy, I feel upset.

Very upset. And, in accordance with Bible teachings about how a Christian man is to protect his family, I come to you in person first to read this statement.

This morning I received an e-mail from my daughter telling me about the indecent proposal you made to her yesterday at her workplace.

I feel that our friendship has been violated and held in contempt by your addressing her as a whore who would consent to becoming your mistress. She assures me that she has given you no encouragement whatsoever for your low, no-account, despicable, sorry behavior. She was surprised, shocked and reduced to tears.

I assume you were drunk when you spoke of cheating on your wife and degrading my daughter. Even drunk, this is the act of a cheat and a dastardly sleaze.

At this point this is only between you and me. I see no need to tell your wife, or to call the police, or to bring this up at a congregational meeting, or to post you name and address on the web —Yet.

However, if there is one more phone call to my daughter, if you go by her house or show up at her workplace for any reason, I will call your wife, and I will advise my daughter to file legal charges against you for sexual harassment of a government employee in the workplace. A recent memo from the administration takes a dim view of such sexual harassment. There is to be zero tolerance of such low-down behavior.

I feel disappointed to think that you hold our friendship and a member of my family in such low esteem. I thought you and I were friends but I feel you have treated us with contempt by your despicable words and actions.

John Cowart

The guy seemed stunned.

He cried.

He apologized profusely.

He displayed every evidence of remorse and contrition.

I offered to leave him a copy of my written statement in case he wanted to share it with his wife. He declined.

I felt like vomiting.

Sometimes I wish I were not a Christian, or that, since I am, that I wouldn’t take the words of Jesus so seriously. But, He is Lord and there’s not a bit of sense in calling Him Lord and not doing at least some of what He says once in a while.

This experience left me (and the guy) depleted. The guy promised to never again contact my daughter under any circumstances.

We’ll see.

Scripture outlines the next step if he does.

We dads are sometimes good for something.

I drove back home and ate a slice of left-over birthday cake for breakfast.

Thanks be to God.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:13 AM

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Two Fair Damsels In Distress

Screams in the night woke me.

I staggered awake and realized that Ginny was screaming in her sleep. A bad dream. I shook her awake and walked her around the room. I got her calmed down and poured her a glass of water.

She said she can’t remember all her dream but that it involved an alligator as big as an elephant sneaking up on her.

With a bit of soothing, she went back to sleep about 2:30 and spent the rest of the night peacefully.


Any advice about this next one?

Yesterday my e-mail brought in this message from another damsel in distress, a young lady close to me that I care about very much:

I need a favor. If you've glanced at my blog, you'll know that someone said something that upset me today…. He called me today at work and asked for my updated address and phone. He'd had it before so I didn't see any problem on giving it to him.

Then he asked me to be his mistress.

I told him no but was so shocked that I am not even sure what else I said. I should have just said no and hung up the phone. He had mentioned about coming around and talking but I really want nothing else to do with him. I had been feeling so good about my day and now feeling such the opposite.

I am not sure what to do about it. I really don't want him coming to my house or my work. I figured writing you would be easier on me (than) talking on the phone when I am upset... I'd not talk but sniffle.

I need some advice on how to handle it.

The guy who is harassing her is an older married man with grown children. I know both parties as well as his wife.

I suppose that such harassment comes with the territory of being a beautiful young woman but such things ought not to be.

I’ve promised her that I’d speak with him.

Any other ideas?

Short of MACE, that is?

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 6:35 AM

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I’m ashamed to confess it.

Guilt nags at me.

I shouldn’t have done it. I knew better, but I did it anyhow.

Yes, again on Monday, when I had other, more constructive, things to do, I spent the whole day reading.

No, I was not reading some sleazy bodice-ripper, I was reading a book on the history of Florida…. Yet I feel guilty.

Why is that?

What is there about reading that makes me feel guilty?

I guess it’s my upbringing.

My parents hated for me to read. “Johnny, get your nose out of that book and do something useful” is a statement I heard over and over again as I was growing up.

Thus, I’ve never been able to associate reading with “doing something useful”.

Even in this journal I attempt to hide how much time I spend doing nothing but reading; I don’t want people to know how much time I spend with my nose in a book. It’s something I’m ashamed of, something I feel guilty about.

As a mature adult I realize that my folks distain for reading was a cultural thing reflecting their own background. They were concerned that I did not fit the pattern they were comfortable with in a son. They wanted to see me with a shovel in my hand. Doing something useful. Not with my nose stuck in a book.

So I feel guilty about doing something that objectively I have no reason to feel guilty about. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with reading a history book. Reading is neither illegal nor sinful.

A lot of times, I feel guilty about doing perfectly innocent things.

And I don’t feel a bit guilty about doing things that are wrong!

I’ve been known to steal without batting an eyelash. No qualm of conscience at all. I can justify my theft with a shrug and a flimsy thought.

The heart is deceitful above all things.

Feeling guilty about reading a state history book, not a qualm about stealing, lust, blasphemy, cheating, lying, you name it.

I feel guilty about the wrong things.

My heart and mind are just that twisted.

Straightening it all out is beyond me.

The story about the wheat and the sandspurs comforts me a bit. You know the one. Jesus said a guy planted a field of wheat but some enemy came along and planted sandspurs in the same place. The fieldhands wanted to root out the sandspurs but the owner said to leave the wheat and tares to grow together till harvest. Then they can be separated without stomping the wheat.

Traditionally, preachers liken the wheat to good guys and the tares to bad guys all growing in the field of the world till the end of the age and Judgment Day. They’re probably right.

But for myself, I see the field as my own whole life with a bit of good wheat growing in the midst of all these sandspurs. It’s such a tangle that I am not able to sort it all out.

But at harvest time, God Himself will separate out the things I really am guilty of from the things I feel guilty about.

And He will take care of the whole mess.

In mercy.

So. That’s where I am today… Still with my nose in a book.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 6:19 AM

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Monday, July 10, 2006

An Egg Shell and Our Generic and Geriatric Wild Birthday Party

Birthdays for four members in our core family fall in July, so Donald and Helen threw a generic birthday party at our house Sunday — which was nobody’s actual birthday.

As Ginny and I cleaned up the yard ahead of time, she discovered the shell of a tiny bird egg. She speculated that the baby bird has hatched and now flies free in the trees; I speculated that a snake attacked the nest, cracked the egg and ate the baby bird.

Seeing the same evidence, the open egg shell, we arrived at different conclusions. We evaluate evidence according to our individual worldviews.

Thus, presented with the same evidence about the resurrection of Christ from the grave, different people arrive at different conclusions; some believe He rose from the grave, others believe he rotted in the dirt.

Unfortunately, our views can be clouded. The Scripture says that Light enters the world but men love darkness rather than light because our deeds are evil.

So, Ginny envisions a happy, flapping little bird, I envision a happy, sleeping snake.

Compatibility of worldviews is not the main strength of our marriage.

Come birthday party time, Rachael, the quintessential party girl, arrived dressed in a black shroud carrying her sword and intoning, “John Cowart, you are now a year closer to dying”.

What a kick-off for a party!

Donald and Helen brought me a new grill (could it be they felt guilty about burning the handles off the old grill at the last cookout?) and they provided all the goodies for kabobs.

I provided a lovely table centerpiece appropriate to a burger cookout. And yes, I designed this centerpiece myself. Talent will out:

Rachel’s costume springboarded us all into a 45-minute conversation about funeral customs. Are we party people, or what!

Then we feasted.

Afterward, as is our custom, I presented a devotional though. I based it on Psalm 31:15 “My times are in Thy hand”. To illustrate my thoughts, I’d sawed up lengths of paint-stirrer sticks to represent days and weeks and months and years. These formed a puzzle that everyone had to piece together to spell out John Cowart’s Meaning Of Life, which — while not up to Monty Python’s standards — works for me.

What a hoot!

Donald and Helen donned silly hats:

The hats are actually fishing caps with plastic frames to display a fishing license, but Ginny and I put photos of the kids in those spaces.

Now, for my own wonderful presents:

Jennifer and Pat gave me a set of lottery scratch-off tickets, thus making me a potential millionaire. When I pack Ginny’s lunches next week, I’ll put a ticket a day in her bag so that when she scratches off a winner, she can pick up her coffee mug and walk straight out of that office and never go back.

Patricia designed a card for me based on an idea from my book Strangers On The Earth which contains a chapter about how Roman soldiers burned Christians at the stake:

She also presented me with this lovely dog skull entwined with lime-green ribbons. (See my June 26th blog posting to see why her gift is so appropriate).

For my birthday present, Eve made a contribution in my name to Mission Aviation Fellowship, one of my favorite charities. I’m not sure if she bought a whole airplane or what, but I’m greatly honored at her thoughtfulness.

Then some folks splashed in the pool. Barbara and Lisa (both music nuts) discussed opera (ad nauseam). The younger folks gathered around my computer (I think they were visiting sites parental blocked at home). One of the girls arranged a date on-line with a guy claiming to be an attorney (I advised her to tell him that her Dad is a Marine Corps instructor in small arms combat — hey, on-line I can be anything). Other folks discussed the merits of various horse-back riding schools. Randy and I marveled at being friends for over 30 years and how cheating, low-life, yankee insurance companies are raising home-owner rates in Florida by close to 75% this year. Pat and Jennifer told everyone about how one of their Chihuahuas catches houseflies in its mouth and places all the bodies in one pile??? Ginny let it all swirl around her (I wonder if she’d turned off her hearing aid?)

So, we partied for six hours.

No neighbors called the cops (this time).

Cake, ice cream, Barbara’s pie, strawberries, avocado, and straw for the vegetarian among us.

Then they all finally went home.

Partied out, Ginny and I retired to the back room to read (me, Florida history; she, a murder mystery) and we did not even speak to eachother for hours and hours.

Party till it hurts!

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 9:06 AM

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Friday, July 07, 2006

A Week With Three Mondays

The holiday threw my sense of time out of whack.

Monday was Monday. Then Tuesday was a holiday which felt like a Sunday. Then back to work on Wednesday which felt like Monday all over again. Because of threatening weather, I did my normal Friday chores on Thursday which tricked my mind and body into thinking Thursday was Friday. But it’s back to work again today — which feels like another Monday to me.

Does that make sense?

No. It doesn’t to me either. But that’s what it feels like.

The highpoint of the past week was that one of those nights, I think it was Wednesday or 2nd Monday, Ginny & I went to the library and afterwards enjoyed a super long conversation. We talked about books, birds, problems at her work, my interest in pornography, a party the kids have planned to hold at our house, our own vacation plans, the space shuttle (which was supposed to launch on Monday), and a bunch of other subjects of interest to us.

My work continues to focus on that Civil War diary; I’ve put the fire history on a back burner for another few weeks.

Spiritually low this week. No sign of God in my universe. That’s not unusual. Sometimes you have to keep on doing the right thing (or the wrong thing) just because it’s the right thing even when there’s no spiritual lift involved. He’s still here, I’m just not aware of Him at the moment.

Or, maybe God takes Monday’s off.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 6:18 AM

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

My 4th Of July Projects

First a patriotic history quiz:

Everyone knows that Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen led his Green Mountain Boys against the British in the battle of Fort Ticonderoga in May, 1775 -- but can you name Ethan Allen’s most famous conquest?

My answer is at the end of this posting.

Yesterday I met one of my goals for my website: I wanted to post a series of 50 historic photographs from my hometown’s earlier days by the 4th of July.

I fear the loss of such materials and I feel they should be preserved.

Every year the Jacksonville Library culls its collections of out of date material and offers these at a book sale. Ginny and I have attended these sales for years and years. The sales offer over a hundred thousand books and items either donated to the library or culled from the shelves.

As a local history buff, I keep an eye out for things related to Jacksonville history and a couple of years ago during one of the sales I acquired this plastic bag filled with old sepia photographs of Jacksonville homes and buildings. The 50 photographs are much older than the bag they came in and the captions are not always correct because many of the buildings shown have been moved or torn down.

After many hours of scanning, resizing, re-naming files and making thumbnails, yesterday I finally managed to post these 50 photographs.

I’m proud of me.

John Cowart, King of the Geriatric Geeks!

You can see the Old Photographs of Jacksonville at the top of left-hand column at www.cowart.info

Here’s a sample:

During the afternoon I also scanned in 180 pages of a hitherto unpublished diary of a Civil War soldier. That will not be ready to show for a couple of months, but I’ve got a good start on it now. Here’s a sample page:

Yes, the 4th of July awakens my spirit of patriotism and as I worked on the photo thumbnails yesterday I thought about appreciating having the right to vote.

I have voted in every election, national, state and local, since I turned 21 (that was the legal voting age back then).

As I recall, only one time has the guy I voted for won the election.

Yes, in 1972, at the height of the Viet Nam War, I actually voted for Richard Nixon.

And he won.

I don’t think anyone else I ever voted for has won an election.

My vote for Tricky Dickey was based on a political slogan I read on the wall of a men’s room at a truck stop in Phoenix, Arizona. The graffiti read:

Don’t Change Dicks In The Middle Of A Screw,
Vote for Nixon In ’72!

Yes, on such profundities as that is democracy based.

God does bless America! Otherwise, voters like me would run the place.

Oh yes, the history quiz:

Can you name Ethan Allen’s most famous conquest?

Betsy Ross!

That joke breaks me up!

I know. I’m wicked. Truly wicked. Really, really wicked — but I have fun.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 3:03 AM

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Getting Out The Door

The Bible contain an odd turn of phrase that I’ve wondered about.

It’s “…Thy coming in and thy going out”.

As I recall that phrase is used a number of times; it’s never made a whole lot of sense to me. I’ve written if off as a quaint old English expression from 1611 when the King James translation was published. I figured it meant something like God keeping track of our progress or something like that.

Sunday morning after breakfast, Ginny and I decided to enjoy our coffee out by the fountain in the garden. I started out the door when I remembered my shoes. I turned around and went back inside to get them them.

I walked outside again and realized that I had not turned off the coffee pot.

I went back inside to do that.

And came back out again.

Ginny came out, said, “oh, I forgot my cigarettes” and went back inside.

She came out again, sat down in her chair, said, “Oh, I didn’t bring my lighter” and went back inside.

And came out again.

I remembered that I had not taken my pill.

I got up and went back inside to swallow it.

Then I came out again.

She said, “I need to stop at the bathroom” and went back inside. Then came out again and sat down, only to realize her lighter was out of fluid.

I went back inside to fill her lighter..

And I came out again.

About then I thought of that odd phrase of Scripture.

“The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore”.

Oh, I get it now!

No matter how confused and befuddled and screwed up we get, no matter how we run back and forth, no matter how big a circle we run in, no matter many times we run in and out without getting anywhere, no matter how disorganized life seems, the Lord watches over and preserves us.

I think perhaps He’s amused.

Ginny and I sat in the garden sipping coffee, watching birds, smoking and talking for about three hours.

A wonderful time in a pleasant place — once we got out the door.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 4:44 AM

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Party Time!

First, a modern day miracle:

Saturday Ginny & I drove to Abandon-All-Hope-All-Ye-Who-Enter-Here-Mart. It only took us 20 minutes to escape the clutches of the ghost of Sam Walton! Has that ever happened to anyone else in the history of the world? Only 20 minutes in Wal-Mart and we were out again! Wow! Guardian angels must have been working over time for us.

Last night we attended a 4th of July cookout at Warren and Carol’s. Carol cooked for a multitude but since the whole multitude didn’t show up, those of us who did ate it all. Two different styles of baby-back ribs, burgers, salads, and every conceivable trimming. We gorged ourselves at the feast.

I met many of their friends I’d never met before. I do not do well in groups but I talked with an attorney and a restaurant owner for a while about fishing and shrimping, jury selection, and childhood memories.

Several of us at the party knew Bubba and Dolly's family and we shared happy thoughts about them.

Later, a fan who had bought four of my books -- ok, I'll admit, it was my daughter, but it sounds more impressive to say a fan -- brought them over to our house for me to autograph. Even though I write all the time, when it comes to putting some pithy saying with my signature on a title page, my mind goes blank. I can never thing more witty to say than “Best Wishes” or something equally inane.

Eve volunteered to help me with research needed before I can post the stuff I’ve been scanning about Baldwin and Mayport. I’d be stymied without her. She’s such an encouragement. When her plans to work overseas materialize, I’ll be lost.

I got an excellent start on the holiday weekend by falling asleep in front of the tv.

Party till it hurts!

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 8:31 AM

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Energy, Enthusiasm and Vivaciousness

Friday I edged and mowed our neighbor’s yard for the last time(long story) and I mowed our own yard too.

This morning I feel stiff and sore and old and decrepit.

Why is it that characters in books have so much more energy that real people do?

Why, Agatha Christy’s Miss. Marple acts peppier than I do!

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:45 AM

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