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The Dashing Life and Exuberant Times of Brian Harrison....And Other Rare Anecdotes

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Sunday of the Dishes

In little ways he always finds you. You can barely dodge or avert his gaze. For in that gaze you know that you've been found and you're going to be a volunteer. At Downtown Church of Christ today this happened again as it did last time. Instead of listing in the bulletin whose to do the communion service, he nominates you, right there on the spot. It doesn't matter that he really doesn't know who you are, and what your name is, and even that you could be a professed Mormon. He looks at your face from across the room, and reads it's youthful college look, and surmises that you must be from Harding. This nominator is sly and sneaky and has the eyes of a true predator of able-handed prey. I do not know his name though, he always wears a name tag. I think that it is something old fashioned and friendly like, "Ernest" or "Henry" or maybe "Clyde". Therefore, I will refer to him as something much more suitable to his character. We will call him, "Hawkeye."
His style and strategy is to just pop up out of nowhere. One minute your placing your Bible on your seat and the next moment you look up he's right in front you....and then it isn't seconds later until you are designated as one of the tray passers. Trust me, I've tried to subvert his eyes. For he'll stand a whole 30 yards off, with everyone in the whole assembly talking and greeting, and then those piercing eyes will begin searching the room. And then as people will be mingling, he'll soar around these crowds as if they're circles in the sky, and with a sudden movement he'll swoop down straight from out of some unseen cloud and be asking you if you could please help him out with the communion. The most peculiar thing about him, is that he is black. And what I mean by that is that in most Churches of Christ or the ones that I've been to, it's awfully hard for anyone of any darker complexion to sneak up on anybody. Even if you were to walk in late and sit down in the back and the whole audutorium was filled up and the one black person was on the front row, you would immediately see him...for he would be the only head rocking back in forth actually feeling the music. But for some strange reason, this Hawkeye can just warp himself in the middle of whatever social group unawares, and take off all the strapping gentlemen to the kitchen, where he tells us which persons go on which rows and what song we will sing before all this takes place. The problem with this is that Hawkeye can barely speak above the voice of a whisper. And after Sunday class and before church everyone is talking and bellowing very loudly. You can barely hear the guy. Sometimes you have to go by the guy directly next to you and just copy whatever he does. -That was my first experience.
But today I was getting to be quite a veteran and I didn't have to know a single word that came from his mouth. Just my number and what aisle that number was located at. So Aaron, Sam, and I, went back to our seats remembering our assignments and the trigger song. When the trigger song had begun, the three of us got up in the back of the room to join the others, which were all strangers to me, but were similiarly, singled-out college church-goers with a nice collared shirt.
As soon as i got in my spot, I get kind of antsy and nervous holding my silvery dishes, always fearing that I may trip or screw something up. Right there in front of everybody. A thin layer of nervous sweat on my palms mingle with the cold steel filling of the plates. I look over across the aisles to see who my passing partner is. It's Aaron, and i was relieved that it was somebody that I knew. Then after the prayer, we began.
Most of my lifestyle is that of a relaxed slob, but whenever something like this comes up, I turn into a perfectionist. I always fear doing the wrong thing. So I make a strong mental note which plates go down which aisles. About halfway through, Aaron, who I had utmost confidence in, and who was raised in the southern C of C, like myself, begins passing his plates down the same aisles that I had just passed one down. I give him a sharp look and a tiny nod for you can't gesticulate with your arms very wildly calling attention to yourself, and you dare not yell! But, I kid you not, the boy looked directly back at me and smiled and then shrugged his shoulders. He did it intentionally! Then he contiunued to do so with the other aisles, not caring which aisles had the plate coming towards him or not, he would just nonchalantly hand them one of the plates he had and before long you had all these people smirking as two plates began to meet one single confused person in the middle of the aisle. Everyone knows that if there were 10 Commandments for how to pass communion out, "Thou shalt not pass out to the same aisle from different sides".....would be Commandment #1. But for some reason Aaron, didn't seem to think that it mattered. Maybe this was his way of not getting picked next time by Hawkeye. Just mess things up bad enough and he won't ever swoop down and make you volunteer ever again. I guess, we'll find that out next week.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Notes of Spring

I woke up yesterday morning, disappointed in the fact that I had slept in for a day like it was. Spring has announced its dominion over the times. I stayed outside reading by a fountain, for as long as I could. Soaking in the rays of the sun, my skin baking, while my eyes soaked in pages. I finished reading Shakespeare's "Love's Labor's Lost," the epitome of the perfect spring book. Short, light, where wise men break study vows by falling in love.
Then, if I hadn't already had enough Shakespeare (which is hardly possible), there was a musical performance last night, that I just happened to hear about at the last moment, where several crafty musicians were going to perform musical renditions of dance songs during Shakespeare's time. It was going to be a whole Renaissance pageantry of sound. They called their list of songs as "The Food of Love". I grabbed my friend Sean and as we walked in I saw my roommate Steven. So the 3 of us sat down for the performance.
I sat there as they played my mind and heart trumpeting with a thousand images and feelings, and memories. When I noticed that the very thoughts that were tugging at my chest were right there before me in the personification of the 3 Renaissance musicians. Such a day as yesterday as well as today, when springtime rhythms sent all of the earth in rhapsodic concordance, these 3 musicians played each their separate instruments, parts, and tones, but with artistic accompaniment to the whole song, spilling out the entire essence and effect that the springtime douses, those who sit in its sunshine and feel it awaken from flower to flower.
The first musician was this tall, lanky fellow with a long, bush for hair. He strummed his lyre-like instrument, forming the background for the other two. I've heard and know his song well...for I spent all day long listening to it. He was Nature. And the lanky man took on the aspects of some towering tree. His hair, that windswept bush, was but the crowning foilage of inspired leaves on the upper reaches of his bark. I could hear the strings of his lyre being twanged and trilled giving appropriate rhythm for the others. His chords vibrated to the sounds of sunlight patching the earth, and the swaying of flowers in the wind. If it's possible at all, I believe that the ears and eyes are but cousins, for many sounds have their accompanying images as well. Each note that he played was the sight of a sunbeam streaming through a green leaf. This tree, the voice of nature, sparked the other two musicians to contend for the lead parts.
The next musician was the woman with a miniature cello, alternating with a violin. I've heard her song, a time or two, as well. She was Love. She wore this multi-colored jacket and had this dark curly hair. She resembled this gypsy. Her sound pierced the stage sounding deep and tragic and then light, seductive, and nasally as she waved that bow across the strings. The gypsy charmed one's ears into the heart's longing and cast amorous notes of anguish and playfulness, changing, finicky, as she fiddled and thus fell one's mind frame into her fantasy wiles of folly and melancholic frolic.
Battling with her for lead instrumentation was the third musician. And I hear his tones very often. He was Freedom piping very carelessly of the strive to not be held down by anything. He held his flute, turning it this way and that, his hands dashing across the holes. He had this short, spruce-like hair that seemed to stand on end matched with a beard. After seeing him play, I thought that he should have some little horn peeking out of the tops of his head, and a pair of hooves instead of feet. He looked like a mischevious satyr. And like Pan, he blew into his woodwind, being filled up with enough wind, freedom's respective element, and letting it flow out into the breezy voice of his flute.
-And so the music played on, as I sat there, my senses catching snippets of each voice, as their themes tried to lullaby my heart. The tall tree twirled his tiny twigs over the ringing strings. The tapestry of the times, Spring, teemed in my mind-tread dreams. Nature, that tunic of delight, tattled and rattled inside. I turned my thinking to the swinging of forest tops and the wild tyranny of the skies, winking its tingling totality in the twinkling of stars, and suns, with its tinged twilights entertwined with the winging and singing of birds, with their twitter and tweet and trils that they bring to the scenes of the warbling spring. Then tenderly, and then tempestuously the other parts sang and would fling their tangled-up themes.
Verily, verily, the foxy-eyed gypsy forced out the voluptuous vibrations of flame-voiced love on her violin. Waves of vertigo overcame one's fortification. The gypsy swerved and swindled the brave vantage-point of the striving single individual. For in the forages of spring, folks fall violently in love in front of fountains. The frothing and vigorous foaming of waters falling while the soft faces converse, no words, no verbalization, only violet-hued eyes verging into each's fiery vision. The villianess up on stage, vexes and raves, my own visions into heart-felt craves. And the vast volume of some fast female glance or vague Eve-like figure contrives and solidifies into the fanciful version of some fairy-land vixen full of love's fascination. As though, I was viewing inside the gyspy's crystal ball, the face and feature of my future wife. -And there fallen on the freshly shaved leaves of grass, my vision formed, my visage framed with that fever. My head couched and vulnerable on the heaving chest of my imagined fair nymph, her huffing breath reverberating, vibrating its woven vibe, from my pillowed head to the fancy-filled ventricles of my venting heart, while it, unfrozen and flitting, the vibrant fanning of love's foment vows its everlasting vigilance. And there fastened to each other amid flowers and fields in the fibres of love's saving ravishment, our volting love flourishes.
But then the piper pipes up, Pan the peppy satyr, proud in his hyper pronoucement, pours his gusty parts to the powerful potency of the piercing wind. While supplanting the prissy pictures of romance, replacing them with the resplendent places of this spinning globe. Plane propellers rolling to take me away. Plans of distant places crop up in my brain. Perhaps, after graduation I'll prance over into Bangkok again, and there probe the jungles getting teaching posts in paradise. Or maybe to Istanbul, and pouncing among darkened princesses and opulent palaces, perhaps, pave my pedaling way. And the satyr played on, my propensity to dwell on all the priceless possibilities for this summer. Maybe to Colorado to backpack and ontop of peaks and pinnacles give my personal praise to the omnipotent Presence and Person displayed in this panoply of creation. Please, please, I don't have any pressure from which I must appease this person or that person, or these people. I'm present in life, here, now, and independent. Pryed free from the prison doors of perplexity and dependence. Plucked is my permanence from the pavement. I can pass along, peering at life's precious prizes, like a petal pushed into the sky by the propeling breeze. My only performance, to ripen and sharpen my piercing awareness of the presence of life's passage. -And then only to, with pen and paper, give proper shape to this passionate epiphany.
Such were the sounds of the 3 musicians, and the emerging aura of their springtime themes, tickling the times, versifying fantasties, and pricking and prodding my plots

Sunday, April 10, 2005

A Piece from the Pinnacle

It's been twice already....sitting awkwardly in those chairs, wondering why I don't feel a certain way, my feet pointing towards the door, and then before the last "amen" is pronounced, I make my escape towards those beams of sunlight glanced through the window doors, lighting up the outside. I walk off feeling like I just slipped some undefineable chain from my spirit. Behind me, I'm sure the announcements, and all the socialization is going just fine without me. But my feet, as my pace leads me away, are longing to be stretched and used, besides standing during the invitation song. -And my shoulders would rather bear the sun's wearing than the ponderous burden of wondering who to go up to and ask how they are doing with the return reply, "fine, thank you." It is highly probable that God's Spirit is floating among these assemblies....but I know full well that His spirit isn't confined just to a group of nicely dressed individuals with good voices, a bulletin loaded with amiable programs, nor sermon points one, two, and three.
So, twice its been already that I drove off toward some mountain. Alone. While families pour into the restaurants, I pour out across the horizon, hoping to bathe in the golden streams of the sun, and to drink in the wind like its a fountain echoing with the voice of God. -And there lulled quietly into the swaying of the trees, the tempo of the rock, and the roaring of the sky....to hear their songs and learn from its notes....of humility, and peace, of wisdom in the ironies of time, and of the transcendence of beauty as it erupts from every natural thing.
And all the while, the pressures that surround and lay siege to one's life, they disintegrate before the blazing voice that is heard ontop of mountaintops. These pressures, they soften to hushed whispers, "Become this...Accomplish that...Buy these....Find her....Satisfy them", And beyond and above it all a melody flies in the outlaying stretches, "Behold this...Sit here.....and Seek ye."
I go to the mountains, the woods, the jaggedness of the wilderness to catch sight and immerse myself....And everytime I descend to its depth or ascend to its summit, I'm baffled over how to communicate what things I feel and see. What words can form the vaguest shadow of a presence that is discovered there? What are these undeciphereable sounds spilling from my mouth? What is the base assembly of letters and these curvy characters compared to every bead of thought and emotion my soul picks up from the sun, trees, and clouds? One day, though it be years from now, I shall walk down from the mountain and give appropriate utterances to what is there. But for the meantime, I am back done from the heights, my feet are resting on campus, my ears filled with restless chatter....and my mind already forgetting the sublime.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

A Blind Boy's Dictionary

Words…the breath of our relationships. Without them our ties wither and die. With them we give meaning to our lonely sighs, and thus our hearts with words unify. In romance this is doubly so. So now in the midst of two situations where words are non-existent, I have killed one prospect, purposively by silence. Ironically, I shhh-d conversation with the library girl. The other imaginary notion, I watch it never to be born, because all words disappear whenever she appears. I know this is confusing, but in honor of my lack of words….I have compiled a dictionary that will best define my current state of turbulent affairs. Note: These words are by no means in alphabetical order but rather in chronological order that they may help verbalize my muddled-up heart and head. My problem is the absence of words….with one, I don’t speak…..with the other, I can’t speak. Now let me give appropriate study of that which I lack and of their implications of which I wish I lacked. –And may we both gloat over this glossary.
Typical Dating Scenario- (n.) the curse of romanticism; the bane of the unpredictable; boredom at its finest; everything charmed and beautiful in people thinned-out and filtered into moderate little doses that prevents and wards off anything truly captivating from taking place.
New Crush-(n.) a jarring, grinding sensation taking place somewhere in the inner gears of one’s heart of hearts. It’s usually first noticeable when you say or do something clever or neat and you wonder what so-and-so would think if they saw you say or do that clever and neat thing. That person which you catch yourself thinking of in this way is usually your new crush.
Quick-(adj.) describes an extreme person driven from one person to another; whereas one month he’s thinking of one particular girl, the next he’s head-over-heels for another girl who not only has a boyfriend, but happens to be one of the best friends, of yet another girl he had it bad for last semester, who’s now in Africa.
Stupidity-(n.) the illogical and unclear act of being “quick” (see above definition), but followed also by the irrational tendency to do all this zigzag business when you don’t truly know any of these girls at all.
Insanity-(n.) to act when one is in the grip of “stupidity”(again, see above), which usually involves unconventional ways, sonnets, and the like to get their attention. Luckily, I have not descended down to this point in my current situation yet.
Cowardice-(n.) my present safe haven where I’m enclosed in a cove of turmoil and raging waters…but still silent.
Confusion-(n.) the state of things after everything’s said and done; my selfhood aura which I’m continually in and which I, no doubt, spread to all other parties involved.
Victim-(n.) an unfortunate position to be in; it’s not really clear on who wears this role more snugly. Sometimes it’s them. Many times it’s me. It seems like you can’t interact with anyone these days without there being one of these. No broken relationship is complete without one.
Good Stories-(n.)(pl.) the only attainable product from all these definitions which is of any use, and which after all the inner conflict and loneliness can still deliver a smile and a chuckle.
There you have it….my thesaurus of the thumping heart. A person experiences so much with his heart, that he can only turn around and become an etymologist of the pain and confusion, giving names and tenses to every shatter that his heart’s both experienced and caused. Those who adore passionately inscribe their own jaded terminology.