Today In Former Years

Journal Excerpts:

September 28, 1979 to 2002


John W. Cowart

Sept. 3, 1979 Prepared for Hurricane David – Mailed “Bacchus Pipe” & “Kid Reads Chaucer” to magazines – Gin’s Labor Pains began so we spent the whole night in the hospital waiting room watching the storm blow down tree branches and pour tropical rain in sheets. Sept. 4th. Still at hospital. False labor. Car would not start. Slept – dreamed of lawnmower running in a woodshop. … Sept. 11th. Still sick. Took Gin & Eve to lunch & grocery shopping. Took Gin to hospital again. False labor again. Flat tire on way home…. Sept. 15th. Up all night timing contractions. False alarm. Jennifer spent the weekend with Hazel. We went to flea market. SEPT 16th. Stayed home from church because of tiredness from last night. Picked up Jennifer. I argued with Ginny. Bad day/;bad night….Sept 22. “Fun with kids” article rejected. Still no baby…Sept 26. Took Ginny to clinic; they said wait till the kid stops moving or is born. Sept. 27. Recertified for Food Stamps. Sept. 28. Patricia Laura Cowart, 8 lbs, 15 ½ oz, was born at 1:26 p.m. There were two overhand knots in the umbilical cord. Dr. said she was “lucky” to be born alive. I coached Gin thru birth. Special thanks to the Giver Of All Life. Sept 29. Visited Gin & baby in hospital. Tried to get C. Adams (who lives around the corner) up to visit his wife who gave birth yesterday also, but he was too drunk to stand. “Hardsell” article  rejected.

Sept. 28, 1980 – Bad three-day fight with Ginny. Reconciled with tears and apologies on both sides. We took children to Nassau Sound for a beach birthday party for Patricia. Gin & I stayed up most of the night watching tv “Boys From Brazil” and “Papillon”. Turned out to be a good day.

September 28, 1981… Took kids to Goldhead State Park. Played with Ginny on an inner tube. Studied “Writer’s Market” for places to mail articles. Washed car. Pat’s birthday party.

Saturday, September 28, 1985.

Patricia is six.

8 hours at T-U. Slow day. Donald mowed Mama’s lawn.

I visited her in the evening. She seems much worse. Aunt Clara and I talked funeral arrangements. Mama wanted some lemon in water and gave me detailed instructions about how to make it. Then, of course, pushed it away. She told me Daddy came to see her this afternoon. He’d been dead six years.

Scads of Mama’s family were there: Hellen, Ann, Raymond, Joyce, Ruth, Joe, Richard, Marion, Marlene & kids. I was a bit rude when one of them offered me some snapshots to look at. I said I didn’t want to see them (somebody’s kids). The memory of how Mama ripped up every picture of me still makes me cringe when I think of photographs in that house.

Barbara Keller asked me to pray about her changing jobs.

Sept. 28, 1986.

Made hotel calls. Entered notes on hotels article. Jennifer to St. Augustine for journalism workshop. Prayed for money for youth camp. Treated everybody in family for head lice – AGAIN!

September 28, 1995

Worked 7 hours caring for Sam.

Pat’s birthday.

Great quote: “Literature is mostly about sex and not much about having children; and life is the other way around”. – David Lodge

Saturday, Sept. 28, 1996, Patricia’s 15th Birthday – Sam White died.

Monday, Sept 30, 1996 – Patricia quit school.

Monday, September 28, 1998. PATRICIA'S BIRTHDAY:

              Drove Ginny to work then sat outside the tag agency till they opened. They refused to issue another temporary tag till I brought in all the receipts showing the car was being worked on. So I drove back home, picked up the receipts, $357 worth, then drove back to the agency and bought another temporary tag good till October 8th.

              Spent the rest of the day driving here and there -- periodically stopping to put more power steering fluid in the reservoir. Took jugs back to the pool store for deposit refund. Took clothes, shoes, etc to The Lord's Store at St. Peters for the poor people.

              Stopped at a thrift store where I'd seen a goat's skull painted blue a few days ago when I didn't have any money with me but they'd already sold it. I've been obsessed with it and feel disappointed that I missed the chance to own it. Why the hell do I want a blue goat's skull??? But I do.

              Every time I passed the house I tried to catch Ray so we could resume work on the car but I missed him each time.


Monday, September 13, 1999:

              Spent much of the day packing up things under the threat of Hurricane Floyd, a Category FOUR storm, which appears to be one of the largest most powerful ever recorded. I must be more of a materialist than I realized because I have so much stuff to put away. You know, a 155-mile-per-hour wind may ruffle the pages of all my books.

              In fact, everything I have worked on all my life may disappear in a day or two. All the wood, hay and stubble will blow away and only the things of the Spirit will remain.

              Eve called concerned about a major hurricane problem -- I laughted my self silly -- What should she do with her cat's litter box during a Force Four Hurricane disaster???

              That struck me as so funny. Only tender-hearted Eve would worry about her cat's comfort... But later Jennifer called saying she and Pat and their six dogs are evacuating to Atlanta. Donald called to see about us also.

              The Mayor has closed schools tomorrow and Wednesday. Ginny's agency, and in fact, all city agencies have closed and the Mayor says he's likely to call for evacuation of beaches and low-lying areas tomorrow morning.

              This storm appears stronger than Andrew which stripped sections of south Florida to bear ground a few years ago. Again, Ginny and I may be facing our death. We view the prospect with mixed anxiety and anticipation. All my writing may blow away like kitty litter in the wind, but my real life in Christ has counted for a little something. I am a person of depressed nature. That's real. I am a fountain which flows with both sweet and bitter water. That's real. I’m a horny, lustful person. that's real. But I am also a Christian who knows he is loved by God and on some level I love Him in return. That relationship is really real too.

              Ginny and I…fell asleep snuggled in eachother's arms. Hurricane preparation is not all a drag………………

              Well, the hurricane did not kill us. In a way I feel disappointed. All that preparation for nothing. No disaster. No destruction. Life bumbles on without major change. Same old problems and temptations and frustrations.

              If the storm had wiped out Jacksonville, I could have coped with life among the ruins. I'm good at camping and living in the rough... it's civilization I'm no good at.

No More Entries in September, ’99, I’ve been too depressed to make any.

Thursday, September 28, 2000

              Today Gin went to St. Vincent's Hospital for her annual mammogram so she got off work early. June Quarles came over for supper and gave us a ride to church to pick up the van for the Graham Crusade counselor training meeting.

              I turned in my application to be a counselor but, after a three minute conversation, the interviewer turned it down without even reading it. He said God wants cheerful givers and that my attitude lacked enthusiasm!

              That shocked me.

              I thought that a man with my deep dedication, vast learning, extensive Bible knowledge, sterling character, outstanding morals, saintly piety, and varied  experience might even be pegged as a supervisor -- what a come-upence. In most churches I've been associated with, if mass murderer Charles Manson showed up one Sunday volunteering to help, they'd have him teaching Intermediate Boys the very next Sunday.

              This sure puts me in my place.

              June, Linda and Neal came to our house for ice cream after the class and we stayed up late discussing how we can help Good Shepherd benefit from the crusade. Neal & Linda head up the new comers committee and they hope the crusade will attract enough people for them to start a young marrieds group; they are in their late 20s or early 30s.

Friday, September 28, 2001

              Gin got off early and we met at the library then enjoyed supper at Dave's.

              After we got home, a knock at the door brought in an AIDS patient, a transient named Ron. He had asked some neighbor or the other if any Christians lived in the area and they directed him to our house. He wanted, of course, money; but it felt right, so we gave him $20. We do not know if this were a scam or a legitimate case of need but it seemed the right thing to do.

              We spent the rest of the evening reading our books in silent companionship.

Saturday, September 29, 2001 & Sunday, September 30, 2001: Quite weekend at home together.


Saturday,  September 28, 2002           Ginny and I drove some fireworks and paint cans to the city’s Hazardous Waste Dump on Commonwealth Avenue. The yard man who met us there had the name Cowart on his shirt pocket, a relative perhaps.

We ate breakfast at Cathy’s then drove to a few yard sales and the Nearly New Shop. We ate lunch at Blue Boy’s Sandwich Shop in Arlington  where owner and waitress greeted us as long lost friends (we’ve been patronizing Blue Boy’s on Norwood Avenue since the kids were tiny tots and all through their college years). Then we hit another garage sale and came home to nap.

              We were enchanted by Tom Hank’s performance in Stephen King’s Green Mile on tv and watched the whole thing. A wonderful actor in a fine story…

Sunday,  September 29, 2002

              For the first time since Easter we chose to attend church. We went to (a nearby church) for their 8:30 service. It was a typical service but we feel no special attraction to this church. Now that we have wheels, we feel we should investigate churches and go somewhere or another for the good of our souls although we feel defensive and don’t want to take a hit from any kind of church. We are too weak to stand it.

              After church (God help us, they want to be friendly!) we ate breakfast at Country Kitchen and bought a newspaper and sat in the park reading till 1 p.m. We came home intending to enjoy sex but I felt so tired that I wanted a nap first. MY NAP LASTED TILL 6:30 MONDAY MORNING!!!  Hey, Don Juan got old too.


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