The setting is a support group. This one for people who think their family underappreciates them. The group is seated, chatting about how far they’ve come or how far they’ve slipped. There’s an empty chair. There’s a coincidental light on it from the fluorescent above. Kinda like stage lighting. The therapist is trying to wrangle them in when a man walks in and takes the seat. He’s dressed in a brown suit, white shirt. His hair is graying, as is his beard. The main feature about him is his hands. They’re the hands of a workman. He has the body of a man who’s accustomed to labor and misses it.

The group makes a go-round telling each other about their problem. It’s rote. When they’re done they focus on the new member.

Hi, I’m Joe. It would be easy for me to tell you my story. I know you’ll have questions. My father’s father was a carpenter, so was my father, so was I and I taught my step son. The trade came into our family when the man who traveled town to town building sheds and other things needed for a comfortable home life died. My father’s father went out and buried him. He took the tools and taught himself to use them. He traveled from town to town, there was a stigma of sorts attached to him because of the way he acquired his tools. He finally settled in a small village. After a time he was accepted. He married a woman and had a family. He raised a large family. His eldest son went to Temple for his Bar Mitzvah and never left. My father, next in line was taught to use his father’s tools. My father married and had a family, small, me, a brother and sister. My siblings and I grew up in a respected household. My father and I did good work. My brother and sister left home. He became a trader in cloth, she the mother of six fine sons who loved her. I lived with my parents. It was my duty. They grew old and died. My mother before my father, she of fever he of the aches and pains of a strenuous job. I lived in their home. It became mine. It was a comfort. I loved them. I never married. My work was my life. There were times I saw women of the village who were attractive and dreamt about them. The dreams weren’t a substitute for a wife. When I worked in my shop, I could look out onto the village center. It there I saw this beautiful young girl. She was a virgin, protected by her parents. She was fifteen. My dreams about her were different. She was by my side and loved me. There were rumors. Stories about this young girl being with child. At first I didn’t believe them, but as her belly grew it became apparent even to a thirty-year-old bachelor. One night I dreamt. A beautiful man/boy came to me and told me to go to her parents and ask for her hand. When I woke the dream remained. It was foolish. If I went to them and asked to marry her, the blame of her condition would fall into my lap, at most. In the least it would confirm to the village that my years alone had made me a fool or insane. I went to her parents and pledged my troth. They accepted it as if I was piece in a foregone plan. At this time the Romans had spread their presence all over the known world. With my wife due, the Romans decided to find out how many people they ruled. My wife and I went to the home of my genealogical family. I worked as long as I could while she prepared. When we left everyone else had decided to leave. The roads were crowded with travelers whose ancestors hadn’t left their villages and they were provincial. We got close to the City of my Family when Mary went into labor. I tried to find a place to stay. After nearly spending all of the monies I’d held back in case of problems we found a small shelter where my wife could bear our first child.
Here Joe goes into narrative that is similar to the Gospels. He dismisses them as handed-down lore. He brings the group up to speed on the mechanics of the census and their return. We join him after the departure of the Magi and The Slaughter of the Innocents.
The gifts were put away and the boy grew up. He was precocious. Mary and her family doted on him. He was my companion in the carpentry shop when he was able to walk and hold tools. He learned. He would’ve been a good carpenter. We nearly lost him on a visit to the Temple. When we caught up with him he was sitting with the rabbis and discussing ethical problems. We asked him to come home with us. The head rabbi asked if we would allow him to stay and study. I remembered my father’s brother and nearly had to drag my son him out. He wanted to stay in “His Father’s House”. I told him his father’s house had a carpenter’s shop attached to it. Joshua never spent time trying to read or write. He built tables, cradles and beds. He spent time, when he had it, in the open air, watching Nature. I really didn’t see him grow up into Him. I was forty-five when while moving lumber into the shop I collapsed. I woke up somewhere else.
I was watching what was going on. I was dead. In some ways I’m sorry his mother didn’t die first. Joshua began to gain followers, they say He recruited them. The man had a personality. He walked into a room and people wanted to talk to Him. It was his eyes. He looked like He cared. He did. The problem was people believed He had all the answers. He told them what was right, what they should do. There were miracles. The first being changing water into wine. It explained Mary’s pregnancy and the dream. His brothers and sisters weren’t anything special. They were loved, but Joshua was the eldest. The sons became beloved figures in their communities and our daughters married virtuous men. Joshua’s life drove them away from their home village and caused them to live under names other than the one I and my forefathers had given them. But back to His followers. They didn’t help. They told others about this Man who was close to God. Joshua knew. I suspect that he saw everything that would happen and believed He could escape a bloody fate while saving mankind. One thing, God doesn’t leave loopholes in His arraignments. He leaves the illusion of them. Joshua didn’t understand that. His Heavenly Father set Him up. Peter, John and the rest followed Joshua all over the countryside. Mary saw Him occasionally. Joshua would have survived if he listened to the band of misfits that followed Him.
Joe explains The Passion and Death of his Son. He excoriates the apostles for deserting his son. He weeps for his wife and psychological torture that she endured. He is a father of a son who became famous. He was not there to offer advice. His being displaced by Christians begins to surface. He reveals that by this point Joshua has become his Stepson.
His followers, oh they hid and when His true nature was revealed to them. Joshua had to almost drag them out of the upper room. His Father used a visual aids to motivate them. They spread Joshua’s message all over the known world. A bit like the Romans. He came home. His real home. I don’t see Him often. People are always calling to Him and being the Nice Guy He listens. Me. I spend time looking out for carpenters, all of them. Mary got a lot of press and she’s busy. There’s a one woman show about her. It won’t cover everything. After Joshua she became a loving wife. The nice thing about being Joshua’s stepfather is I’m allowed to be close to Him. Where we stay might be called Heaven but that’s something the people who copied the Scriptures called it. We’re able to keep up with the advances here. I read four or five world newspapers every day. Language is no problem. We keep up with the human advances. We don’t need them but we know how to use them. I have a workshop. I’m able to watch television carpentry shows. I like Norm Abrams. And that young woman on Hometime. Joshua sometime winces when he hears the things you ask of Him. You fail to realize that He created nothing, it was His Father avatar. Let me get a cup of coffee and I’ll answer questions.
Joe gets up and walks to the coffee pot. He tosses a bill into the bowl to cover the cost. While he’s there the group is not chattering but doubting his sanity. The therapist is trying to remember the number for emergency admission to the hospital. Jose is aware of this. As he returns to his seat an aura surrounds him. Nothing that you’d notice unless you had seen him while he talked. He sits.
Any questions?

To be continued on Friday maybe.

Found my favorite CD last night. It was in a pile of CDs that I’d pulled out from under the pedestal of my waterbed. The CD is Rites of Passage by the Indigo Girls. Here’s two cuts, one a hope, the other a neat wedding song.

It helped me out and it was funny.

This as a wedding song would explain it all to attendees who ask “Why these two?” Plus it’s by Mark Knopler.

Sorry for the sound.

The landlord sprayed Saturday. Inside the couch under the baseboard. Sunday okay. Monday I had them crawling on me. Every one I crushed squirted my blood. I was going nuts. I’m usually pretty stable but I was as close to the edge as I’ve been in a real long time. Suicide was an option, if just to be rid of the insects. Yes, I backed off. Sleep was aided by above music. Tuesday recovery.

I’m saying goodbye to two couches. I can’t deal with the bugs and I don’t want to have the landlord over every other week. Bought a sofa/love seat combo from Bob’s. If you live in the Northeast you’re familiar with Bob and his cute sidekick Cathy. It comes 11/02. Tomorrow I call the landlord to see if I can have him and his crew remove them. Or, it’s back Dump It again.

An odd bit just discovered: The number of typos is directly proportional to the urgency to use the facilities.

See you Friday.