You Have My Attention – #SoCS

Welcome to the bar, where Linda G. Hill has set the stage for Stream of Consciousness Saturday. She’s given us an interesting prompt today:

“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is ‘adverb.’ Start your post with any adverb and just run with it. Have fun!”

I guess my standard opening is out

Unfortunately, if we were having a beer, you’d be late.

“If you want to start without him, Dan, I have a cold Corona that’s been looking for a lime.”

“I’d hate for that to go to waste, Cheryl, set it down here.”

“It’s not like him to be late.”

“He might be afraid of finding Skippy behind the bar. Ah, here he comes.”

“Hi guys. Sorry I’m late. I had a thing.”

“A thing?”

“My wife’s family, if you must know, but trust me, you don’t want to.”

“All I want to know is, wine or bourbon?”

“Bourbon, Cheryl. Bourbon for sure.”

“I’ll be right back with the works.”

“And you, you couldn’t wait? I guess Brother Love wasn’t a temperance preacher.”

“Well, that and the fact that he’s fictional.”

“But not completely…or so I’ve read.”


“Twice now, Teagan has mentioned that this story she’s working on has a personal connection for you.”

“That was a long time ago.”

“Still, enquiring minds, as they say.”

“Here’s your bourbon, your ice and your snifter of seltzer.”

“Aww, and you remembered the cherries. Thanks Cheryl.”

“You’re welcome. I’m going to check the tables on the patio. I’ll be back.”


“Cheers, my young friend, and answers, if you please.”


“Did you meet Brother Love? Did you see Neil Diamond in concert? Did you shoot someone and serve time in prison? What’s the connection with you and this story?”

“Well, I have seen Neil Diamond in concert. That’s not the connection, but he’s somewhat involved.”

“Again, with clarity.”

“The ‘connection’ occurred about the time that Neil Diamond song was first released.”



“Did you have the album or the eight-track?”

“Eight-track. My dad liked his music, too. It gave us a break from Patsy Cline in the car.”

“I still don’t see the connection.”

“Every year, in June, our minister invited an evangelist to our church.”

“Brother Love?”

“It was a different guy every year.”

“Did he preach on Sunday, or hold a revival in the woods?”

“In the church on Sunday, and he met with the Criterion Circle, and…”

“The Criterion Circle?”

“Ladies club.”

“Oh, were you in that?”

“Don’t make fun. He also led the Youth Group service on Friday night.”

“Ah, that’s where you come in.”

“Yes. The ladies in the Criterion Circle were so impressed with Reverend John, that they made sure all of us went that Friday night.”

“Did he start out soft and slow?”

“I know you’re trying to be funny, but, in fact, he did. Just like a regular Friday service. We sang Amazing Grace.”

“I’m trying to picture a bunch of, what? Twelve-year-old kids, holding their little hymnals.”

“Thirteen and fourteen-year-old kids, and we all knew that hymn by heart.”

“That must have impressed him.”

“Not much. We didn’t have much spirit.”

“That’s a surprise, Dan. You’ve always described that church as a rockin’ little congregation.”

“Mainly when the women were present.”

“OK, then what happened?”

“He went through the service, and then he began to preach his sermon.”

“Let’s see, young teens, I’m think I know where this is headed.”

“Not the gutter, if that’s where you’re thinking.”

“Well, it would have been interesting.”

“We were hoping. No, he talked about judgement, specifically our poor judgement, and about how we needed Jesus to guide us.”

“Of course. For all the standard reasons, I suppose.”

“No, he told us a story that happened when he was eighteen.”

“Eighteen, remember how we couldn’t wait to be eighteen? Of course, for me, that meant a chance to travel to Vietnam or head out to sea.”

“But still, David, you couldn’t wait, could you?”

“No, eighteen seemed magical. I suppose you couldn’t wait, either.”

“We couldn’t, and his story, about being in a bar, drinking, shooting pool, listening to music, made it seem much more interesting.”

“How did Jesus figure into that story?”

“A fight broke out at the bar. Reverend John, joined in, and before it was over, he had killed a man.”

“Whoa! I bet that got your attention.”

“It did. Then he told us about the twenty years he spent in prison.”

“Is that where he became a minister?”


“Empty Corona, and John Howell would be proud of the dent you made in that bourbon, David.”

“That’s a nice thought, Cheryl. Let’s have another round and put an order of wings in for us.”

“I’ll get those right in.”

“Thanks Cheryl. Dan, I have to ask, did Reverend John, ask you to reach your hand out to the man up there.”

“He did. He asked us to accept Jesus as our guide.”

“Did you raise your hand?”

“I did. We all did! And, when he asked the organist to play Amazing Grace again, we sang with spirit.”

“Just like ‘all the old ladies’ in the song?”

“Ha, yes, I suppose.”

“Your wings will be up soon. This Corona and this splash of bourbon are on me.”

“Thank you, Cheryl, you’re the best.”

“That’s what I’m here for.”

Today’s post was written in an SoC manner but required way more thought and planning than I normally, apply to an SoCS post. I hope Linda understands. This post is my “Brother Love” story, and I decided to publish it when Teagan invited me to join her in her latest serial story. Remember, our lovely and talented bartender can also be found on WordPress. Cheryl’s latest story is over here.


  1. Frankly, I didn’t get everything you mentioned in here but I enjoyed the pictures. Maddie pictures are always a good thing but IMG 4028 is my pick here.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks Sharukh. This post is a little personal, and some things might be too close to the religion in which I was raised to be universal. It also helps to know the song (which I went back and added).

      I love that reflection. I snag that image every time I see it, I just can’t resist.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Roberta. This is a story that I have been wanting to share for a long time. I don’t normally get too personal here, so I was having a hard time finding the right time to share it. When Teagan asked me about this collaboration, she asked if I knew the Neil Diamond song and this story immediately popped into my head.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The weather being warm enough for Maddie to stretch out on her cot and beautiful lilacs – life is good, Dan. :-)


  3. Thanks for sharing your teenage “come to Jesus” story with us, Dan, and being an impetus for Teagan’s stories. It’s been an interesting few weeks and I’m looking forward to how else you’ve inspired her.

    The Maddie nose photo made me LOL. So cute!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Teagan. I am finally happy with this story. I have so many drafts that were good, but not what I wanted to say. This was an important evening in my life. I am very happy that your serial nudged me to finding a way to post this.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hahahah!! First thing I have to say is I’m a HUGE Patsy Cline fan, but I’m embarrassed to say I never heard of PASTY Cline!! Lol!

    Thanks for sharing your memory with us. Great story Dan. I was brought up in an ultra-strict Protestant church where no fun was allowed. The hymns we sang were downright depressing. And sometimes my mother would make me go with my great aunt and uncle to the Christian Science Church. Yikes! That made my church look like American Bandstand! Lol. I think I would’ve liked your church! Doesn’t sound like it was filled with mostly pious, unfriendly people who were there for all the wrong reasons.

    Maddie looks like royalty on her cot surveying her kingdom. Maybe it’s a “dog thing”, but Murphy comes in during bad weather, immediately sits down and stares at her towel , waiting to be dried off…. HEAD first!! And poor MiMi…. disturbed once again by the in-house photographer!

    Your former church is beautiful. Simple yet elegant. Great tie-in with Teagan’s story, which is where I’m headed now.

    Have a great weekend.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh my goodness, Ginger, thank you! I totally missed that typo (because pasty is a word). I’ll give you credit here, but I am going to fix it. I do still like Patsy Cline, as listening to her reminds me of my dad.

      Our church was a very small group of families who were mostly there because the mother or grandmother made them go. It gave us a very good foundation for life, as well as religion. The people were friendly and it was more like a big family.

      I don’t know why Maddie doesn’t mind being out in the rain, but can’t stand to have a wet head. It makes no sense, but if we try to dry her feet before her head, she goes crazy.


  5. Ahh, Amazing Grace, one of my favorites. And The Old Rugged Cross. I remember when I was 13 and moved to the altar for salvation. I held out for the Old Rugged Cross. It was in our offshoot church from the big Baptist organization I belonged to for years. Eventually our minister went too far off the rails for my parents and we turned to Methodism. Not as lively in service time but at least we could drink and dance. 😉 Sounds like a life changing moment for a lot of testosterone driven boys, Dan. I had a similar experience at about fifteen, only the visitng preacher was young, dreamy and charismatic. He preched on the 3 F’s of being saved..Feeling, Fact and Faith. He managed to inspire a congregation of teenage girls to go to a retreat for three days. Mosquitoes, heat, cold hot dogs and Bible lessons. I practiced a lot of faith to get through that one. Sweet Maddie.
    PS I saw Neil Diamond in concert too, just after Jonathan Livingston Seagull was released. Just him, his guitar and a big screen. I still have the autograph. Love his voice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Cheryl. The Old Rugged Cross, oh my, that’s an old standard that I could still sing by heart. Life changing and probably in a good way for all of us. However they made a connection, it was a good thing. We never did overnight retreats – we did some overnight in the church, and two weeks of Bible School, every summer until I could tell my mom I had a part-time job.

      Neil Diamond remains one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to.


  6. Really great post, Dan. Glad you found the right time to post what you have been wanting to share.

    I have fond memories of growing up in and around the church. We had tent revivals off and on all summer long. And Bible school in the summer.

    And of course, the song is an all time favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Maggie. The fellowship at that church was such an important part of my youth. Our relatives in Virginia went to the same (denomination) church, so when we visited, it was just like being home.

      I still know that song by heart :)


  7. I think the rocking aspects of these churches is lost to most of us on the West Coast. In my family religion, the mass was said and sang in Latin and Spanish… I loved church (or loved it as much as kids can do). They they stopped the Latino aspects and went English and I heard many of the sermons and personally found fault with some of the precepts… especially that babies were sent to hell that died before baptism… and was gone. They lost me to Buddhism. However, I do love a rousing Baptist service and have attended a few due to funerals. This was such a good piece, and now I have to head over to find out about this Teagan thing I’ve missed having not been around for a year! I get to meet a new (to me) blogger!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kate–the Catholic church lost me when they stopped Latin and when they turned the altar around. From there it just went downhill, as far as I was concerned. When I moved down South, I was amazed at how nothing was going on on Wednesday nights–except for the Baptist church services. I don’t know if we even had an Baptist churches growing in NJ!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I spent some time in the Catholic church, but it never held my attention the way this small Methodist church did. It’s a very different view of religion and the role of the members of the congregation. It’s not for everybody, but it works for some.

      I think you’ll enjoy Teagan’s writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I remember that song and have always liked Neil Diamond. We’re Lutheran, so we don’t really have a “Brother Love” type preacher, but I am part of a rockin’ praise team. :-) Looks like it’s as wet there as here. We just had a huge thunderstorm and now it’s more or less stopped. Just about when we think things might start drying out, they don’t.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Janet. “…a rockin’ praise team.” There are some people who won’t get that, but I do :)

      We have had an ongoing battle with rain. It keeps looking like it’s going to dry out, but we get wet again.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I waited to read this today until I had time to savor it. Great story! Every kid needs a Reverend John in their life. Also, I’d forgotten how much I enjoy Neil Diamond. Nice tune for this rainy Saturday. Now I’m off to the crossroads.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks. I have been waiting to catch up to a lot of reading. I don’t like to rush through. This guy came along at a very good point in our lives. It wasn’t entirely by chance, those ladies knew what their kids needed to hear.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This was awesome, Dan. The post, the photos….gotta love MiMi and Maddie. Religion down here in the South is quite a bit different than up North, which is fascinating to me. That’s what made this such an interesting read. So glad Skippy was not around to disturb the discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve been a big Neil Diamond fan for a long, long time and that one line ‘pack up the babies and grab the old ladies’ is one of my favourites. Oh yessss – this song brings me back …

    But the whole evangelist thing is an unknown to an RC like me. It’s the stuff only of movies and books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Joanne. That line always made me think of how we traveled. Just throw everyone in the car.

      I was an RC for a while. It’s quite different. My first time, I embarrassed my soon to be mother-in-law when I remained standing and started singing the second verse of the opening hymn. The evangelists were always great. Some fire and brimstone, some like this guy.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Good story, Dan. I could imagine the scene with the minister and teenagers. It was disturbing to hear about his life, how he spent 20 years in prison. The sentence seems excessive for a young man who got in a bar fight but I recently saw a great film about a man who was innocent who spent 20 years in prison, ‘Crown Heights.’ I can see how some people turn to religion to cope with prison but I think we need prison reform even more.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Forgot my original
    Comment because I was reading comments – but I also like your reflection pics – Maddie of course – and religion is touchy subject but you went there well and I cannot listen to the song now – but am so
    Curious so I will be back later to check it out

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You were like, “Welcome to the bar” or whatever and I was all, “Nuh uh, that there’s a church! I know a church when I see one!” ;)
    That was a very inspiring minister. Youth pastors can truly be awesome. We still hang out with ours now and again.

    Liked by 1 person

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