Sunday, March 19, 2017


A few years ago, Jack, a brilliant high school student made A’s and B’s. He graduated with honors. Throughout high school, middle school, and elementary school, he completed the homework assignments meted out by his teachers. 
Whatever the teacher required, Jack did. He polished off his assignments faster than his classmates could. He was a little smarter and quite a bit more dedicated than most of his friends. If he was studying algebra, he contemplated equations. He memorized all the principles of geometry. An excellent speller, he won the district spelling bee. He played trombone in the band until he became starting quarterback of the football team.  When he was a senior, his friends voted him “Most Likely to Succeed.”

What did he like? It never mattered. He excelled in English class. He wrote themes and essays, even a few short stories. Book reports—they were a snap. It never occurred to him to have an opinion about the quality of the novels the teachers required him to read. He simply did as he was told.

College was easy because he had a good background and because he continued to apply his good study habits. Then he went to work in an office job that required less than he knew he could do. Years passed, and he was passed over for promotions.  He started having Sunday night jitters, the kind of anxiety that came earlier each weekend until it backed up to Friday.
Jack realized he had some problems.  He asked himself, “What’s going on?”

Instead of focusing entirely on the mundane issues of his daily grind, he started paying attention to the water-cooler and coffee break chats. Friends of his talked about concepts he’d never considered, and their vocabularies amazed him.  At home, he noticed his wife had peppy enthusiasm about everything. She seemed to enjoy talking to her friends over dinner parties about ideas he didn’t comprehend.  “But I’m a smart guy,” he told himself.

In Sunday School, he was always the one who collected the offering and planned the class parties.  One Sunday he realized he knew nothing of what the lesson was about. He’d been sitting and concentrating on the routine management details of the class, as well as what he needed to do at work the following week.
He exercised and ate well. In the den of his house, the television was always on, his eyes closed, his head kicked back, and his mouth opened slack-jawed.

“When’s the last time you read a good book?” Karen, his wife, asked him over dinner.
“I read.”

“I mean when is the last time you read a good novel?”
Jack laughed. “The last time I read a novel was when I was a sophomore.”

Karen said, “You’re missing out.”
Free as a Kindle e-book: March 19-23, 2017: Travelers in Painted Wagons on Cohay Creek

It’s a book that looks at some of the most mistreated people ever—the Gypsies. It also paints vivid pictures of caretaker’s syndrome, adultery, panthers roaming near houses in south Mississippi, parental abuse.... Sarah Walker Gorrell and Mary Lou Cheatham would like to share it with you...and with Jack.  (And we hope you’ll give it an honest review.)

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