Boboli Jeeger- Clown Extraordinaire!


He sat on the corner everyday, reading his newspaper and smiling at the passersby. He’d been there for so many years that people no longer noticed his bright red rubber nose, oversized shoes, or even his painted face. He was just a ‘fixture’ they’d come to expect; like the fountain in the square, or the statue at the war memorial in the park.

Then, one day, he was no longer there.

The bench was empty.

Everyone noticed, then.

The local police department was inundated with calls and units were dispatched to investigate. No one knew who the clown was, or where he lived. The case was closed.

Miles away, in another city, a man dressed in baggy clothes with shoes that were several sized too large for him, stepped down from a plane with a newspaper tucked under his arm.

All around him, he saw people looking his way and smiling, even laughing. With ease, he crossed the concourse and took a seat on an empty bench to read his newspaper.

The moral of this story: Sometimes all it takes is a change of Locale…


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To Be So Loved ~ #29


There’s nothing like a night at sea to tell you just how insignificant you are in the universe. As I stood at the helm and looked out over the glass-like surface of the ocean, I felt so very small. Smaller than an atom, even.

In those hours alone at the helm, I had a lot of time to think about life, my place in the universe, and God’s place in my life.

‘It’s a good place for talking to your Maker.’ Captain Marlin said as he joined me at the wheel. ‘You can’t be out here long without realizing just how large the universe is, and how puny and small we are. And yet, our Maker cares for each of us. If His eye is on the sparrow, how much more is it on us.’

‘I suppose.’ I shrugged. I wasn’t in a place where I appreciated much preaching, especially not after what the Bishop and Priest had said to me before I left the church.

Captain Marlin put his hands over mine at the wheel. ‘It’s easy to get off-course here on the open ocean. Sometimes we need the Captain to come along and set us back on course.’

‘How did you know I was off-course?’

He pointed to the stars. ‘That – up there- is your roadmap. This-…’ He tapped the compass, ‘…Is your beacon of hope. Between them, you can always keep your ship on course. It just takes a little faith and trust in the tools you have.’

And that was how Captain Marlin shared his deeply rooted faith in God and his providence for us. He did it by being a living example and by sharing his plentiful analogies. He didn’t preach like an evangelist on the street corner waving a bible in the air and shouting ‘Repent, lest ye die’. No, Captain Marlin did his ‘preaching’ through simple words and deeds, like the simple reading of God’s word every morning before breakfast for anyone who cared to listen. It wasn’t a requirement, but nearly all the crew (Save those on post) joined those early morning readings just after dawn on top deck.

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To Be So Loved ~ #19


‘When all the world is lost – look up.’ I heard a man’s voice beside me.

‘Nuthin’ to look up to.’ I muttered, kicking at the tide’s wake as I sat on the beach.

It was Christmas day, and there were none of the accoutrements of the season. The only place decorated was the church, and I was forbidden to enter in. My mind still screamed with the accusations leveled against me. Especially the label that I was a Judas. No, there wasn’t anything to look up to at the moment, least of all God.

‘Mankind is stupid. Never let mankind keep you away from God.’ He spoke softly as he buried his feet in the sand beside me. He was Scottish. I’d know the rich tones of the thick brogue anywhere.

I looked over at him. Red hair; long, fuzzy red beard; a huge smile that carried all the way to his green eyes. Heaven help me, but I giggled. If his beard had been white, I might have mistaken him for Santa Claus. It was Christmas Day, after all.

‘I’m Stephen MacDonald, at your service, Mi’lady.’ He winked, wiggling his toes.

Oh, heaven bestill my soul. I felt my pulse race momentarily. Okay, so I wasn’t completely dead inside. But it was wrong, all wrong. I was a widow, and a mom-to-be. Where did I even dare to think such thoughts?

‘Well, it’s nice to meet you, Ian. I hope you enjoy your visit to the Island.’ I nodded, hoping I didn’t sound too interested.

‘If you don’t mind, would you like to get a drink at the bar?’ He shrugged his head towards the thatch-roofed haven.

I looked past his shoulder and saw Miss Katleen’s husband smiling, nodding, and gesturing to go ahead. ‘I don’t drink alcohol, but I could go for a glass of guava juice.’ I wiggled my toes, coming up with a sand dollar. ‘Here’s a dollar.’ I chuckled.

He chuckled too as he took the sand dollar inspected it, then returned it to the sea. ‘It needs water to live.’

Ah, so he cares about the environment, too. I smiled. He reached out a hand to pull me up to my feet, and with that simple gesture, I felt almost alive again. I had juice with Stephen that day, and for several more days. We quickly forged the beginnings of a friendship that would encompass a lifetime.

Oh, that I could go back to that moment on the beach.

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To Be So Loved ~#15


I began to take on the prayerful habits of Mother Superior, waking well before dawn for prayers. I found a solace and reprieve in kneeling before God while the world was still silent. It was something my big brother had shown me many years ago. It was in the time when my parents were still happily married. A time of complete innocence.

My youngest brother was twelve years my senior, and at the time he was still my hero. A time when I didn’t know his drug use was a bad thing, or that it would ultimately lead to his death under suspicious circumstances. No, on that weekend, I was just a little sister visiting my big brother and his new wife in town.

I woke up early, 2 a.m., as I’d always done with my Daddy. He drove a truck and we ate early before he left for work. This time, though, it was just me and my ‘Bubby’.

‘Come on, Sissy. I want to show you something.’ He lifted me up, braces and all, and perched me on his shoulders to take me outside. ‘Do you hear that, Sissy?’

‘It’s quiet and dark.’

‘Yes, it is, Sissy. This is what it is before the world wakes up.’ He set me down on the front stoop and went back inside to get his flute and sage. Then, he sat down beside me and lit the sage in its shell. I watched it’s smoke curl up into the sky as he lifted the flute to his lips. I listened completely enraptured with the music that echoed off the buildings around us. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever heard. Then, he stopped.

‘Papaw John taught me this song. He said that every morning, we should thank our Creator for being here. I was as old as you when he said that and gave me his flute. This flute.’ Bubby handed me his flute. ‘Now, it’s your turn.’

As I knelt that morning beside Mother Superior, tears came to my eyes. Oh, how I now missed my Bubby and those early morning prayer songs. I missed the fluted notes of music rising to greet the morning’s dawn. I no longer have that old flute. Mom long since stole it and sold it for her drugs. All I have now are the memories and the prayer songs that Bubby taught me. Those prayers now rolled off my tongue in song.

Today, I thought, I would write home to my Grandmother and ask her to send me a new flute.


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To Be So Loved ~ #12


The treasures of the sea are many and varied.

My favorite treasure is that of the sand dollar. So much symbolism can be attributed to such a beautiful sea creature. It is impossible, or it was decades ago, to swim or wade in the waters off of Grand Anse beach without stepping on them continually. You could put your hand down into the water and easily bring it back up with a handful of white disks of every size. And, so it was a wonderous joy I discovered early on, in the week before I began duties and prayers.

I brought home a handful that first trip to the beach. Miss Katleen dutifully identified them, telling me about how they lived, ate, and made the warm shallows their home. Then, she boiled and sterilized what I had brought her on the grounds that I would bring no more home. Of the handful I’d collected that day, I kept the smallest one. It was about the size of a quarter. Later, when I came back to the States, I had it gold-plated and made into a necklace.

Ever and always that small sand dollar has served as a reminder of God’s providence in that He cared for me, even when I could not care for myself. Most importantly, I remember the symbolic stories that Miss Katleen shared with me that day. How the sand dollar tells the story of redemption by showing us the wounds of Christ while he suffered on the cross for us. How the backside shows the shape Christmas flower, the poinsettia, reminding us of the blood that was shed for our eternal salvation. Also, showing that God’s love is eternal and steadfast even in hard times. How, when broken, little doves emerge to remind us of the peace that can reside within when we accept Christ as our savior. Amen! Good stories to remember, even better to share.

I kept that little sand dollar for well over three decades until our most recent move where it was somehow lost to the moving purge. Although the reminder is lost, the story is not and goes on to live through a sand dollar that one who read this story sent to me. It’s at the jewelers right now being plated and made into a new necklace.  A gift that I will deeply treasure for many years to come. THANK YOU!

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