A to Z April Challenge

During the month of April I will be doing a different spin on my memoir posts. It starts with a song. Each song will be followed by a brief essay that is evoked or inspired by that song. You might want to click on the YouTube link to hear the song as you read the piece I've written. Or you can listen to the song lyrics first and then read. Whichever way you choose, I mostly hope you'll read and leave a comment with your thoughts about my post. Thank you for visiting and please follow the blog if you are not doing so already.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Zebulon, North Carolina

The Juggling Jacksons
         My dad used to do a lot of things that embarrassed me.   This was rarely his intent, but there were things he sometimes did that made me uncomfortable.  It was like I would want to hide and act like I didn't know him.  One such instance takes my memory back to Zebulon, North Carolina.

          This was in the late 1960s.   I was still in high school at the time and working in my family's juggling act whenever we had bookings.  Since we had moved to East Tennessee and there weren't enough booking agents to keep us working regularly in the area, my father had started his own agency and began booking numerous dates at corporate banquets and parties.  One such occasion was a company function in Zebulon.

           We had an entire self contained show in which my father would do some stand-up comedy and solo juggling after which my sister would do a magic dance act.  For the grand finale we would perform our seven person juggling act which included an extended comedy segment at the end.  Our show was a crowd-pleaser that audiences seemed to enjoy a great deal.

            Something else that I should mention here is that my father was a very devout Christian.  He often studied the Bible and could cite Biblical facts and verses with ease.  I think that perhaps somewhere in his aspirations was a desire to be an evangelist or to at least write books based on his study of the Bible.

            My father also loved show business and especially juggling and comedy.  On stage his exuberance poured out to the delight of the audience.  Even I thought he was funny and I never tired of watching his comedy juggling act or listening to the same jokes.  But in Zebulon he did something unexpected that I had never seen him do in a show before.

             At the beginning of his act on that night he began to make a biblical reference to Zebulon and began talking about the Bible and Jesus.  I cringed and wanted to go where no one could see me.  I wished I wasn't there.  Now I don't recall exactly what he said, I only know he said something that wasn't a usual part of the act.

            As it turned out, nobody seemed upset and at the end of the show the audience seemed very satisfied.  In retrospect I wish I had listened closely to whatever it was he had said.  And now I smile thinking about this. I feel proud that my father was willing to get up there and speak his convictions without shame or any care about what anyone thought.

            My father was like that.  When I was younger I was often afraid of what people would think.  My father seemed fearless.  And he filled our lives with fun.  In Zebulon he made another memory among the many memories of people I have known, things I have done, and places I have been.


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15 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Another great insight to your life.
Loved the read.

Yvonne.

Pam said...

Isn't it interesting how our perspectives change with the seasons of our lives? What is important changes; what is embarrassing changes; what is memorable changes. I have so enjoyed traveling with you down memory lane during the A to Z Challenge, Arlee. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

Sylvie said...

Awesome story, Lee. It's great to be able to go down memory lane, recall, rehash, review and then relax. It's part of who we are now and we are smarter people for it! Lee, it's been a slice; looking forward to May 7. Cheers, Sylvie aka Little S :)

Lynn Proctor said...

your dad sounds like my husband-it sounds like a wonderful place and a great family memory--thanks again

Wendy said...

I don't think you can go wrong talking about Jesus in North Carolina, providing you're on His side, of course. I love juggling acts, so I'm sure I would have enjoyed seeing the show. AtoZ has been great fun!

Chris Fries said...

Wonderful story to wrap up the A-to-Z!

Thanks for all your hard work as co-host!

Dana said...

I wish I would have found your blog much earlier than the last day of the challenge. I'm also working on a memoir and am always excited to find people working in the same genre. I'm your newest follower!

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

BOIDMAN ~
First I want to say that I LOVE the photograph of your jugglin' family. I've seen it posted on your blog(s) before, but I STILL love seeing it.

Secondly, it's truly unfortunate that you do not recall any of the details of what your Dad said that night because... since it was such an unusual occurrence there MUST have been some good reason that he did it THEN and THERE.

I wonder if it had something to do with a personal matter that was developing in his own life at that time, or did it have something to do with the place - Zebulon or North Carolina - or was it related to something he had seen earlier that day in Zebulon? Or seen in building where you were performing?

Whatever the cause, there had to be some interesting REASON why he stepped out of the regular routine right then and there and gave a testimony to those particular people about our Lord Jesus.

If only you could recall some of what he said, it might provide a clue to the cause.

That's what intrigues me most about this little story; I want to know WHY then, WHY there?

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Arlee Bird said...

Yvonne -- Your visits are always appreciated.

Pam -- As I've grown older I understand a lot more about the things that my father did. We just don't see it the same way when we're young. And thank you for accompanying me on the journey.

Sylvie -- When I reflect on my memories I often wish that I remembered them better and more of them.

Lynn -- He was a cool dad and back then I didn't always realize some of the coolest things.

Wendy -- I doubt whether there were many in the audience that were upset with anything he said.

Chris -- Thanks for being a part of it all.

Dana -- Glad to have you join us. The past postings are there for your perusal. There is some great information in them. If you are interested in offering a guest post let me know.

StMc -- I think it was mostly just my Dad, what he believed, and the way he did things. He was always looking for Biblical connections to everything and the Bible name of Zebulon was too much for him to pass on. I think he probably had established a connection with the audience and the place to put him in a comfortable place for using this subject matter as a part of the performance. It was not unusual for him to bring something like this up, but he usually didn't incorporate it into the juggling act. But yes, I wish I'd listened more closely and paid more attention to things in general back then. I had my teenage priorities and attitude and they often didn't include the same things my father was interested in.

Lee

CMSmith said...

How cool is this?! I love this. What an incredibly interesting experience you had.

All teens are embarrassed by their parents at one time or the other. I sometimes wish I could go back and do something different, or pay more attention to something. Wouldn't that be nice?

Shannon Lawrence said...

Wonderful memories! Sounds like you had some neat experiences together. And, of course, I'm a fan of the town's name.

Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

theartistrycollective said...

Aww, this was a great story to end the challenge! I find I appreciate my parents more and more through the years. Your story makes me want to explore courage in the little things, in unlikely places.

I love this theme and will come back to read more!

Ana

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lee ... you sure know north America .. and then there's a Zebulon .. incredible.

I've loved reading your reminiscences and will probably be back for a re-read through ..

Congratulations on the whole A - Z thing .. though .. cheers Hilary

Dee said...

Dear Arlee, I'm so sorry to have missed your A to Z Challenge postings--yours as well as all the others who participated. I was away from blogging for the month of April and so I missed out on learning so many things.

Your posting on Z touched me. Your tenderness and love for your father are so evident.

Peace.

About JollyJilly said...

What a great story and a great picture. How interesting your family must be. Love to hear more stories please